#AceFinanceNews says Apple has shifted billions in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to Ireland over the past decade, a report said on Thursday.
The Australian Financial Review obtained 10 years’ worth of financial accounts for Apple Sales International – an arm of the organization it described as the “secretive” Irish company at the heart of the group’s global tax arrangements, AFP reported.
The newspaper said the US tech giant moved an estimated US$8.1 billion in untaxed profits from Australia to a tax haven structure in Ireland, paying just 0.7 percent of its turnover in tax.
Apple in Australia has previously said it has done everything required by the tax office.
#AceSecurityNews says `Apple Security flaw could be a back-door for the #NSA
Was the National Security Agency exploiting two just-discovered security flaws to hack into the iPhones and Apple computers of certain targets? Some skeptic’s are saying there is cause to be concerned about recent coincidences regarding the #NSA and Apple.
Within hours of one another over the weekend, Apple acknowledged that it had discovered critical vulnerabilities in both its iOS and OSX operating systems that, if exploited correctly, would put thought-to-be-secure communications into the hands of skilled hackers.
“An attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS,” the company announced.
Apple has since taken steps to supposedly patch up the flaw that affected mobile devices running its iOS operating system, such as iPhones, but has yet to unveil any fix for the OSX used by desktop and laptop computers.
As experts investigated the issue through the weekend, though, many couldn’t help but consider the likelihood — no matter how modicum — that the United States’ secretive spy agency exploited those security flaws to conduct surveillance on targets.
On Saturday, Apple enthusiast and blogger John Gruber noted on his personal website that information contained within internal NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden last year coincide closely with the release of the affected mobile operating system, iOS 6.
According to a NSA slideshow leaked by Mr. Snowden last June, the US government has since 2007 relied on a program named PRISM that enables the agency to collect data “directly from the servers” of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and others. The most recent addition to that list, however, was Apple, which the NSA said it was only able to exploit using PRISM since October 2012.
The affected operating system — iOS 6.0 — was released days earlier on September 24, 2012.
These facts, Gruber blogged, “prove nothing” and are “purely circumstantial.” Nevertheless, he wrote, “the shoe fits.”
With the iOS vulnerability being blamed on a single line of erroneous code, Gruber considered a number of possibilities to explain how that happened.
“Conspiratorially, one could suppose the #NSA planted the bug, through an employee mole, perhaps. Innocuously, the Occam’s Razor explanation would be that this was an inadvertent error on the part of an Apple engineer,” he wrote.
“Once the bug was in place, the #NSA wouldn’t even have needed to find it by manually reading the source code. All they would need are automated tests using spoofed certificates that they run against each new release of every OS. Apple releases iOS, the #NSA’s automated spoofed certificate testing finds the vulnerability, and boom, Apple gets ‘added’ to PRISM.”
#AceNewsServices says `Google Buys Nest — Maker Of The ‘Smart Thermostat’ — For $3.2 Billion to `Spy on your Live’s’
This post was provided by Yahoo Tech on the 15 January following a `Press Release’
On Monday afternoon, Google announced via press release that it had agreed to acquire Nest Labs, maker of a critically acclaimed “smart thermostat” and “smart smoke detector,” for $3.2 billion. The move gives Google ammo in a new battle over home electronics, being waged by several companies both large and small, to reinvent familiar gadgets within the home as smartphone-controlled, Internet-connected devices. (Read more about this fight here.)
The Nest Learning Thermostat — Nest Labs’ first and most well-known product, released in 2011 — was widely praised for its beautiful design, intuitive interface and so-called “smart” features: Programmable via your smart phone, the Nest Learning Thermostat could educate itself about the temperatures you prefer at certain times of day; sense when you weren’t at home and shut itself off; and perform other functions designed to save you money and keep you comfortable.
Nest followed up its 2011 “smart thermostat” with 2013’s Nest Protect, a “smart smoke detector” which can also be controlled via smart phone, which sends alerts to your phone, and which interacts with other Nest smoke detectors throughout the house.
The CEO and Co-Founder of Nest Labs is Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who is often referred to as the godfather of the iPod. Fadell is widely credited with bringing the simplicity of Apple design to an unloved appliance with both the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect.
The $3.2 billion deal for Nest Labs represents a little over 5 percent of Google’s available cash-on-hand, and is the second-largest in Google’s history; only its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola came in higher. Nest will continue to operate as its own distinct brand after the close of the deal, Google said, which should come in the next few months, pending regulatory approval.
#AceSecurityNews says according to the latest RT Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum dropped a bombshell of sorts earlier this week when he accused American tech companies of placing government-friendly back-doors in their devices. Now Texas based Dell Computers is offering an apology.
Or to put it more accurately, Dell told an irate customer on Monday that they “regret the inconvenience” caused by selling to the public for years a number of products that the intelligence community has been able to fully compromise in complete silence up until this week.
Dell, Apple, Western Digital and an array of other Silicon Valleyfirms were all name-checked during Appelbaum’s hour-long presentation Monday at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany. As RT reported then, the 30-year-old hacker-cum-activist unveiled before the audience at the annual expo a collection of never-before published National Security Agency documents detailing how the NSA goes to great lengths to compromise the computers and systems of groups on its long list of adversaries……………… More at RT
Courtesy of RT
- ‘You can’t hide from these things’ – Secret NSA spy programs exposed at conference in Germany (rinf.com)
- The NSA can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away (dailydot.com)
- NSA can turn the iPhone into a pocket-sized spy, hacker reveals (business.financialpost.com)
- Operation DROPOUTJEEP: The NSA Can Intercept iPhone Communication Through Spyware (appadvice.com)
- The NSA Has Nearly Complete Backdoor Access To Apple’s iPhone (dailydot.com)
- Privacy advocate exposes NSA spy gear at hacker conference (stripes.com)
- The NSA’s elite hackers can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away (soshitech.com)
- To Protect and Infect: The Militarization of the Internet – Claudio Guarnieri, Morgan Marquis-Boire, Jacob Appelbaum @ 30c3 (leaksource.wordpress.com)
- NSA reportedly planted spyware on electronics equipment (news.cnet.com)
- Privacy advocate exposes NSA spy gear at gathering (kfwbam.com)
by Jim Edwards on Dec 30, 2013, 2:34 PM
We first saw the story on The Daily Dot, and it is chilling:
… According to leaked documents, the #NSA claims a 100 percent success rate when it comes to implanting iOS devices with spyware. The documents suggest that the #NSA needs physical access to a device to install the spyware—something the agency has achieved by rerouting shipments of devices purchased on-line—but a remote version of the exploit is also in the works.
Here’s a copy of a #NSA document explaining how “DROPOUTJEEP,” its Apple spyware, works:
It’s not the first time we’ve seen documents alleging that the #NSA spies on Apple customers. #NSA leaker #Edward-Snowden produced an NSA document that calls Steve Jobs “Big Brother” and his customers “zombies.”
This video lecture was published today by the journalist who got the scoop:
- NSA reportedly planted spyware on electronics equipment (awaissoftnews.wordpress.com)
- NSA diverted computers and laptops from shipping facilities to install spyware (rawstory.com)
- NSA Can Bug Computers Before They’re Bought! (geeky-gadgets.com)
- The NSA Has Nearly Complete Backdoor Access To Apple’s iPhone (dailydot.com)
“I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand in hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain.” – Dr. Zaius, “Planet of the Apes,” 20th Century Fox, 1968
Have you noticed that Apple and Samsung have both lowered their sales projections?
O.K., they aren’t household names but they will be soon, at least household names in certain parts of the globe.
That’s because these firms (and probably hundreds of no-names you’ll never hear of) are doing something Apple and Samsung won’t or don’t want to do … make a cheap – really cheap – smartphone.
Sure, we know you don’t care. You love your iPhone or Galaxy because it lets you do just about everything and be in touch with just about everyone.
Got something to do?
There’s an app for that.
Want to avoid something you need to do?
There are hundreds of apps for that.
The problem is, worldwide, more folks who can’t afford to drop the equivalent of a year’s plus salary for one of those two phones than there are of people who can afford them!
Emerging Share – While the industrial countries account for more of the expendable income, people in emerging countries are making it known they are ready for technology. China and India both have populations of about a billion each. Add the people in Brazil, Russia and a few other countries and you’re talking serious markets who are smart phone ready!
The folks most interested in getting their hands on a smart phone to do everything are those individuals living in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries.
The Chinese like the sleek look of the iPhone and Galaxy and everything you can do with them; but cripes, the iPhone 5 costs about $780 in China and the Galaxy S4 costs about $850 … jeezz!
And they have to pay full price because Chinese carriers didn’t buy into the idea of a phone subsidy to get you into the habit of using their service.
So the ingenious Chinese figure they can knock there socks off and give their countrymen – and the world – what they really want…a cheap look-alike smart phone.
Analysts at Bernstein figure that could mean about 300M phones a year in China and an equal number in the rest of the BRIC.
Sure, they could use their old flip-phones to make calls but they want to do what you do …look cool… play games.
Look at U.S. mobile gamers as an example – 17.7 percent will use their feature phone for gaming by 2017, but 90 percent of smart phone users will do the same with their everything device.
Don’t you think the ROW (rest of the world) will want to do the same?
As George Taylor said, “Chalk up another victory to the human spirit.”
That’s probably why Zynga bribed Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox business, with a pay package that could be worth about $50M to give them a more global look at the market.
Despite all the business and store apps that are available to you and me, just remember the one thing we (O.K., you and my kids) want to do is play games.
Keeping Limber – Smartphones let people do a lot of things and stay in touch with a lot of people; but the thing most users add are a few dozen games to keep them from getting bored. Ironically, most of the game play on their go-anywhere mobile device is at home.
Gamers are gamers, no matter where they live; or, as Julius said, “You know the saying, “Human see, human do.”
No wonder DeNa and GREE are glad to see those cheap smartphones coming out and why Zynga went on a staff diet and wrote a big check for a new boss.
Global Potential – The game industry has always been strong with all age groups, even though Boomers and Gen Xers don’t admit it. In the emerging economies, the potential for mobile game play is very strong because the device is often their first and only computing/communications device and the potential for mobile games – especially with less expensive smartphones – will be tremendous for developers.
While console and PC games made healthy contributions to the 39 percent gaming growth that showed a respectable $960M in sales last year in the U.S., mobile will take the lead–especially in developing countries where the phone is their primary computing/communications device.
Researchers at Newzoo project that much of the growth will come from the Asia-Pacific and Latin American countries and that the new lower-cost smartphones could help game developers rake in about $12.3B by the end of the year
There’s no reason the model that has worked so well in the EU and Americas won’t work just as well (translation – profitably) in countries where kids play games even more than ours.
All Segments Strong – With the introduction of new game consoles and ultralight notebooks, the console/PC market segment should continue to be good. But new generations of mobile devices (especially low-cost smartphones) should kick mobile gaming into high gear.
In the U.S., game developers make their money from a combination of paid downloads, in-game purchases of virtual goods and in-game advertising.
And the market is rapidly evolving to free, platform-agnostic games supported by a combination of ads and virtual goods sales.
Multiply the U.S. figures by even 10 and suddenly you’re talking about a serious pocket of change!
Profit Play – Whether they are paid or free games, creative developers have also figured out how to turn a profit with the games people play. With the rapid ramp-up of cheap smartphones that have a good “look/feel,” the open platform games could become even more profitable.
Yep, the market is going to be big, huge even; and there’s nothing out there to make me believe that the new potential gamers will be any different from the people doing it right now … yes, right now!
According to eMarketer, more than half of the U.S. and EU mobile phone users will play games on their phones this year. (The other half will lie about it.)
Even though 44 percent primarily play games at home, 22 percent said they played “while waiting for something” and 21 percent played while traveling.
While females tended more toward puzzles, guys preferred action and sports games (about 3 to 1 in each category).
Game Categories – Game developers don’t really develop new games, new segments, new features for themselves, they design them for the guys/gals so they buy more and more and more. While males tend to prefer sweaty palms and brutal action, the ladies prefer finesse, talent and eye/hand/mind coordination to win.
At the same time, the tastes in game play changes with the various age groups.
Adrenalin- pumping action games tend to appeal more to the younger crowds while older players of both sexes tend to migrate to puzzle games.
Both GREE and DeNA have a very broad user base by offering games to fit every age group and play preferences.
With more smartphones being designed for consumers in emerging markets, the growth potential for the Chinese device manufacturers – and mobile game producers – should be very strong in the coming years.
According to Canalys, Samsung presently has 20 percent of the Chinese market, and several “hometown” companies have surpassed Apple’s 8 percent market share.
Local competitors are going to make it tough for Apple and Samsung because Chinese smart phone shoppers are concerned about brand image and the look/feel, but they are still concerned with price.
Both market leaders will have to deliver lower-cost units to retain and grow their market share without diluting the value (and profit) from their high-margin units.
The move is important for Apple and Samsung because Chinese switch phones far more often than folks in the West — generally after about six months, compared with every two years or so in developed economies.
And doing well at home will help the Chinese smartphone producers export their devices to the rest of the emerging countries around the globe.
As more of the economic smartphones are sold, more kids will download games and the mobile game market that can be monetized will continue to get bigger.
As George Taylor exclaimed, “It’s a mad house! A mad house!”
While the device manufacturers are happy to boost the mobile gamer market, they do draw the line as Dr. Zira did when she said, “All right, but you’re so damned ugly.”
- Cool 3D graphics comes to mobile as DeNA publishes Crytek’s The Collectables (venturebeat.com)
- The mobile gaming Chinese ecosystem is the most competitive in the world, and its winners are now targeting global opportunities (denisbarrier.wordpress.com)
- Gree and Yahoo Japan invest $2.2M in GxYz social gaming business (venturebeat.com)
- Mobile games firm DeNA launches manga app to boost its presence in entertainment (thenextweb.com)
- iPhone 5C vs. 5S Comparison: Best Buy Slashes Color to $0, Flagship to $125 on Contract (Video) (designntrend.com)
#AceBreakingNews says this is courtesy of Rob Cox – Author Reuters Breaking Views columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Can General Electric keep activist investors at bay? If the gates at Apple, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble can be rattled, complacency just is not an option for any company, even and maybe especially a $270 billion conglomerate. While GE’s broad strategy looks more coherent than ever, the Connecticut giant still has two potential vulnerabilities: its finance arm and its long-time leader Jeffrey Immelt.
Corporate America has learned of late that size offers no immunity from the braying of ornery shareholders. A $320 billion market value did not shield Microsoft from the pressures of Value Act Capital, which nabbed a board seat and accelerated the exit of Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Even bigger Apple, and boss Tim Cook, have been targeted by both David Einhorn and Carl Icahn to return more cash to shareholders. A long-standing reputation as a consumer-products stalwart did not protect $220 billion P&G from the advances of Bill Ackman.
GE has so far kept clear. Its executives, however, seem to be cognizant of how quickly that could change. The engines-to-dishwashers manufacturer has been proactively restructuring in ways that could wisely head off rabble-rousers. GE is reducing its exposure to finance, and in recent years exited businesses like NBC Universal, deemed ancillary to a strategy focused on global infrastructure.
As a result, the existing configuration of GE’s industrial portfolio looks better positioned to take advantage of a middle-class future. That world, to put it simply, involves more people around the globe seeking better healthcare, travelling on jet planes and gaining access to clean water and abundant energy – from which they can run GE appliances.
So what would an activist investor go after at GE? The most obvious weak spot is GE Capital. During the financial crisis, the division’s balance sheet of some $550 billion overshadowed the world-class industrial businesses. The need to finance a large financial institution without a stable base of deposits stoked fears GE might even need to jettison valuable assets. GE Capital has since pared its balance sheet by almost a third.
There’s also more to come. In November, GE said it would begin the process of spinning off its consumer finance business, which carries some $59 billion of assets. Once the divestiture is completed, GE Capital will have a loan book of about $350 billion. That’s far below its peak. Yet it still puts GE Capital on a par with U.S. Bancorp and renders it among the country’s biggest financial institutions.
Some of this is easy to justify. About a quarter of GE Capital’s assets will be devoted to what it calls “GE Verticals” where it uses its balance sheet to help finance customer purchases of GE products. But it still envisions tying up more than half its assets in lending and leasing initiatives and some $50 billion in commercial real estate. To investors wanting a more focused, industrial GE, this could provide a potential soft spot.
Courtesy of Rob Cox – Author Reuters Breaking Views columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
#AceNewsGroup says to all its readers add your news today in the box on our front page, add your #tags and add comments and publish!
- What to put in the Resource Box of your Article Marketing (socialnetboost.wordpress.com)
- Robinson: $500K proposal for August Wilson Center brought threats, vitriol (triblive.com)
- NFL notebook: League calls reversal judgment call (triblive.com)
- Penguins notebook: Dumoulin gets his chance (triblive.com)
#AceGuestNews says this was provided by a guest and colleague who sends items to us on a regular basis, and asks should we like to feature the post. So we are pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor.
“A Good Patent is Good, a Great Lawyer is Even Better”
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” New Line Cinema, 2001
A friend and his partners recently received the first of three patents after more than three years.
Maybe in the next 12 months they’ll get the other two.
It’s a great concept and I’d tell you more but then I’d have to ….
Patents are vital to keep innovation and competition moving forward.
If you didn’t have some protection – personal and/or company – why pour all the brainpower, time, effort, money into an idea just to have someone rip you off?
We get it!
When companies get strapped for money, they often sell their patents to other companies.
Kodak sold about thousand of their patents to a pool formed by Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple for $527M.
Oh, also in on the deal were Intellectual ventures and RPX (remember these names).
Patents have always been used and abused as protection and clubs.
But things went wild when folks started getting software patents in the early ‘60s.
In the late ‘90s things took off.
Folks were getting patents for any concept or “what if” idea they could articulate in the filing – usually so broad you could drive a semi through sideways.
As Elrond commented, “I was there the day the strength of Men failed.”
Obviously, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) didn’t have a clue about software (few normal people do!) so they signed off on almost anything.
While Al Gore said, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet,” he didn’t claim (as is widely asserted) he invented it and he didn’t try to patent it.
Tim Bernes-Lee is widely credited with inventing the Web, but a firm called Eolas owned a patent covering the “interactive Web.”
Eolas took millions from companies with the patent that was later invalidated.
Patents like that never should have been filed or granted because of prior art (evidence the key concepts were widely known before folks even filed).
The flow of vague patents created a new and very profitable ying/yang industry – patent licensing firms and patent assertion entities (PAEs).
The latter are more commonly known by their less attractive name, patent trolls.
As Gimli said, “Never trust an Elf!”
Trolling – People who manage patents or have purchased tons of software patents may not necessarily be Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) or more commonly known as patent trolls. However, if they spend most of their time sending out threat letters, being abusive on the phone (especially with a Texas drawl) then look out.
PAEs/trolls span the spectrum:
– Legal shell companies that shotgun letters to businesses claiming infringement, demanding payment
– Firms like Intellectual Ventures (remember the Kodak patent sale) which buy technology patents, assemble large portfolios and generate licensing payments that run into the millions of dollars
– Firms that license patents on behalf of others, hammering out reasonable agreements like talent agents
According to Eugene R. Quinn Jr., patent attorney with Zeis Widerman & Malek and founder of IP-Watchdog, the best business to be in is being a patent troll. The number of suits have doubled in recent years to 4,73l cases in 2012 from 2,304 in 2009 and the cost – to the firms and consumers who must ultimately pay the costs – has been tremendous.
Filing Growth – While even PAE lawsuits were down during the past recession, they recovered rapidly–faster than the national economy. But instead of quietly settling, a growing number of firms are joining forces to fight the frivolous suits.
The annual payouts for PAE lawsuits were estimated to be $29B in 2011. Only a fraction ($6B) went to the actual inventors.
Well yeah!! Lawyers and troll expenses including overhead, marketing, profits.
Most of the time, trolls go after small to medium-size businesses like in 2011, when a troll firm targeted coffee shops for setting up Wi-Fi networks for customers, “suggesting” they pay a licensing fee of $5-$20,000 (far less than going to court).
Hey, you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent!!
Big Targets – PAEs with questionable software patents are not afraid of taking on industry giants, especially when the patents are so ambiguous about possibly have a touch of validity. In addition, if their claims are “small” enough — $10,000 to $50,000, many organizations justify the payments as being less than the cost of a long trial with judges and juries ill-equipped to address the issues.
Of course, they are equal opportunity suers, litigators.
After all, trolls can’t be sued for patent infringement because they don’t make anything … just lawsuits.
The PAEs usually have a complex shell company structure that is almost impossible to penetrate so it’s hard to figure out who’s doing what and where the money goes.
Apple is not only more popular than Coke, they (and unfortunately, their partners) are also popular with the trolls.
IPNav, for example – an ultra active PAE, has sued more than 1,600 companies in the United States.
Bilbo saw what IPNav had done and said, “Gracious, you have been productive.”
“Aggressive” – Some of the most aggressive PAEs are firms that if you’re fortunate you’ve never heard of – and we hope you never do. The software patents issued in the early ‘90s were so vague that they could cover web sites, the Internet and almost anything. The key for successful litigation is to find a friendly or unscrupulous judge and sue away.
The overachiever has lawsuits pending with almost everyone in the industry including, Google, Hitachi and Adobe.
Or take lowly little Lodsys that bought a patent in 2011 and went after iPhone app developers. Lodsys has sued about 200 end-users as well as developers and claims 500 firms have paid for its vague patents.
And Lodsys has a sweet deal down there in Marshall, Tx.
They can’t get US District Judge Leonard Davis since his son “Bo” Davis is Lodsys’ lawyer so the cases get redirected to the other Judge in the East Texas town … Gilstrap.
Those Californicator lawyers are not going to ’ slip anything past this boy!!!
Today, the Patent Office does a much better job of insisting software-patent applicants be specific.
However, between 500,000 and a million software patents have been granted – some valid, some questionable.
The legal system provides incentives’ for firms to pay the trolls to go away rather than prove the patents invalid.
Increasingly though, firms like Rackspace, Martha Stewart, Apple, many more (large and small) are returning fire.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is taking a closer look at PAEs that spend most of their time in court, i.e., if they accounted for more than 60 percent of the 4,000 patent lawsuits filed in last year.
Bilbo explained the FTC’s objectives, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
Highly successful patent trolls, Intellectual Ventures, insists their business model actually helps inventors and many of their clients who have received payments agree.
Adam Mossoff, law professor at George Mason University, says the PAEs are licensing firms practicing their property rights and their purpose isn’t to file lawsuits but license patents.
But even if someone can straighten out the U.S. patent system, there are new issues on the horizon because The EU is working on a unified patent court system.
Firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft and hordes of others that have spent millions defending themselves, have nightmares that Europe could become a similar battleground.
Kevin Mooney, British patent lawyer and chairman of the EU court system drafting committee, doesn’t see a major problem, “It would be nonsense if we allowed one court, Romania perhaps, to become the Eastern District of Texas.”
Thanks to Gilstrap; Marshal, Tx is known worldwide!!!!
End ‘Em All
Of course, there’s the other extreme that want to put an end to software patents. That’s tough to do because software, good software, does so much for us that the innovation and developer have to be protected/compensated.
As Boromir said, “I ask only for the strength to defend my people!”
With software there’s black, white and a thousand shades of grey.
If you get slapped with a suit – any large/small firm can – experts say to fight back, get support from others that have been targeted.
Oh yeah…stay outta’ Marshall, Texas!
- Patent Trolling (nicoterablawg.wordpress.com)
- Here’s why the House patent bill won’t put a stop to patent trolling (washingtonpost.com)
- Google-Backed Anti-Patent Troll Bill Passes The House (techcrunch.com)
- Supreme Court could produce meaningful patent reform in abstract software case (engadget.com)
- Apple and Microsoft Claim Patent Tax on GNU/Linux, Red Hat’s Response Too Weak (techrights.org)
- It’s Game Time: Supreme Court to Address Abstract Software Patents (priceofliberty.tumblr.com)
- The Supreme Court Has Another Chance To Fix The Software Patent Problem (feld.com)
BANKING WITH APPLE COULD POSE SERIOUS CHALLENGE TO HIGH STREET ACCORDING TO A NEW RESEARCH REPORT
(LONDON, UK) 20 March 2012: Leading strategic marketing and research consultancy KAE, in conjunction with Toluna, a global pioneer in online polls, surveys and opinions, this week reveal the startling findings of a new research study into the opinions of consumers towards the potential of technology giant, Apple, breaking into the banking sector.
The survey, using Toluna’s global research panel community of 4 million consumers worldwide, collected data from over 5,000 respondents, across the US and UK, and revealed that one in ten people (10%) would consider banking with Apple. Of those who are already Apple customers, 43% would consider switching to Apple for their day to day banking needs.
The impressive levels of trust generated between Apple and their customers was the main reason given for a possible switch to an Apple Bank, with around two-thirds citing their trust in the brand (66%) as the primary reason, and just over half claiming they think Apple would make their account easy to access and manage, as well as providing a reliable service.
It comes as no surprise that the majority (81%) of people who would bank with Apple are technology savvy and currently do their banking online. In terms of overall attitudes towards banking, the study also found that these consumers display great interest in using their smartphone for personal banking (62%), and are even of the opinion that call centres may not exist in the future as everything will be done online (53%).
Of those surveyed in the UK, almost one in five currently bank with Lloyds Banking Group (18%) or Barclays (14%), while in the US almost a quarter (23%) are with Bank of America and around one in ten with JP Morgan Chase (11%).
MD of KAE, David Rankin, commented: “Apple would face no capital constraints in building a deposits base. With a proven ability to cross-sell additional products, along with the highest sales per square foot of any retailer and an affluent customer base, it wouldn’t take long for Apple to become one of the most profitable consumer banks in recent times. Once the power of the Apple brand and its options for growth are understood, it tends to prompt one of three responses from financial institutions: accelerated invention, defensive benchmarking or blissful issue avoidance. We know that not everyone would be impressed by the arrival of an ‘iBank’; we also know that the boldness of the next big Apple move will inspire and terrify in equal measure”.
“The strength of Apple’s relationship with consumers is a result of its ability to redefine the terms of competition in an industry and design emotionally rich ‘human’ experiences”, said Lee Powney, Chief Commercial Officer at KAE. “This research tells us Apple customers perceive a fit where at first glance we would assume the brand could not travel. To observe a ‘wrong’ and ‘make right’ is a core characteristic of this business. Apple’s ethos, its way of being and way of doing is instinctively understood by its customers. This makes it a truly dangerous animal to a startling array of sectors”
On the likelihood of Apple entering into this sector, Powney also added “When you look at the possible cross fertilisation effects on purchases of moving this amount of cash into the model, and the resulting increases in preference for its platform from developers and content owners, it would take a remarkable display of discipline to resist. However it would be very ‘un-Apple’ to simply enter into a market without changing the terms of competition”.
About the research
The nationally representative KAE Toluna survey was conducted across the US and the UK, with a total sample size of 5,092 (2,921 respondents from the US and 2,971 respondents from the UK). The profile of those consumers who would consider switching their banking services to Apple comprised men and women aged 25-44, living in city centres or city suburban areas, with an average monthly income of between £900-£2,099 in the UK and $1,000-$3,499 and $6,000+ in the US.
KAE has been providing clients with an innovative, empirically supported advantage for the last 40 years. We are focused on working with our clients to provide them with key market insights and strategic advice on the full gambit of marketing issues, from evaluating potential markets through a rigorous, hands-on process, to working with you to develop strategies to better maximise market opportunities
Leading online panel community pioneer Toluna combines its online market research panel with industry-leading technology, enabling organisations to generate valuable customer insight by surveying their target audience quickly and efficiently.