Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Microsoft To Rival Apple TV With Xbox Offering?

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Microsoft is preparing to rival the Apple TV and cable companies with a new subscription based TV service on its Xbox console, according to Reuters.

One scenario under consideration by Microsoft is to create a new TV service on its Xbox gaming console that would establish a "virtual cable operator." The service would charge a monthly fee for access through the Xbox to networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN or CNN, according to two sources familiar with the plans.

Other options include allowing cable subscribers to use the Xbox to watch shows with more interactive functions. Viewers could, for instance, message with friends over the console while viewing their favorite shows.

Reuters sources said the service might not arrive for another 12 months but early discussions have been productive.




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Web Browser for Apple TV is Almost Complete [Video]

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Firecore has announced that the upcoming Couch Surfer browser for the Apple TV is 80% complete.

There's been lots of exciting progress with Couch Surfer over the past week, most notably being fluid playback of HTML5 video. Couch Surfer is still a bit rough around the edges, but as you can see in the video below we're getting close. (Note: the pause in the video is just to showcase the control bar that is available during playback).

Take a look at the demo video below. We will let you know when the browser does become available.

HTML5 Video on AppleTV 2G from Fire Core, LLC on Vimeo.




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Apple Stores Sold 8.8 iPads/hour on Black Friday

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Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster reports that iPads were being sold at a rate of 8.8 units per hour per store on Black Friday, according to FORTUNE.

Munster believes this is in line with his prediction that Apple will sell 5.5 million iPads this quarter.

Munster also estimated that Macs were leaving the stores at 8.2 units per hour per store, down from 8.3 last year and 13 two years ago. "While Mac sales were flat y/y," he writes, "we believe it is too early to make a call on Macs in the Dec. quarter. Note that Mac NPD data in the first month of the quarter (Oct.) was up 20% y/y."

"Most notable in our observations we noticed that the iPad is gaining traction (driven by lower price vs. the Mac) among demographics in which the Mac has historically not been successful. The bottom line is that Apple's addressable market is expanding with the iPad."




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Apple Lawyers Up for Upcoming Patent Battles

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Apple is lawyering up in its many patent battles with manufacturers that include Nokia, Motorola, Elan, and Kodak, according to a BusinessWeek report.

"These are very well-known, deep-pocketed, high-end manufacturers," said Lyle Vander Schaaf, an attorney at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione in Washington. "Usually you have one 800-pound gorilla going after a new entrant. Here you’ve got 800-pound gorillas fighting each other."

Apple has been the most sued technology company since 2008 and Steve Jobs has been hiring some of the best lawyers around.

Apple has hired some of the nation’s top patent lawyers as outside counsel. They include Robert Krupka of Kirkland & Ellis, who negotiated a 2005 settlement in which Apple agreed to pay $100 million to Creative Technology Ltd., maker of the Zen music player; William Lee of WilmerHale in Boston, who successfully represented Broadcom Corp. in its fight against Qualcomm; and Matt Powers of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, who successfully defended the patent on Merck & Co.’s biggest product, the $4.7 billion-a-year asthma drug Singulair.




*Chart is missing Apple suit against Motorola


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