Ouch! Google document proposes giving Motorola time-to-market advantage for Android devices

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Here’s the text of the highlighted passage:

  • Do not develop in the open. Instead, make source code available after innovation is complete

  • Lead device concept: Give early access to the software to partners who build and distribute devices to our specification (ie, Motorola and Verizon). They get a non-contractual time to market advantage and in return they align to our standard.

Court papers confirm what most people already knew, but what some OEMs (HTC, LG, etc.) were hoping wasn’t true. Google intends to give lead time advantage to some hardware makers over others. Yes, the Motorola purchase wasn’t just about patents. 

 

Sony Tablet S Review

Even so, the Tablet S feels more competent than outstanding. For every nice
extra feature, there’s seemingly another that doesn’t quite work the way it’s
promised, sometimes within the same app. The performance, the screen, the build
quality are all good, but not great. The camera is just a mess, too

Yet another vendor releases a tablet before it’s ready, and uses weaker components to make the “iPad price” of $499.

Apple Crushes Everyone In Cell Phone Customer Satisfaction Ratings

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Surveys of consumers’ future buying habits mean very little. If consumers did what they said in surveys, products made via those surveys would be raging successes, but they’re not. Apple, perhaps famously, eschews such surveys, contending a customer doesn’t know what they want until they see it. So even though the future looks great for Apple in the article’s surveys, it means little to me.

There is, however, one type of survey that’s very important. Customer Satisfaction is not about the future, it’s about real people who own the device now, and how happy they are with it. I would argue it’s the only survey that really matters. Look at that chart. Apple crushes everyone by such a wide margin the other guys should be revamping their support policies, procedures and staff, not their product lines.

TAB – Universal and Sony Strike Out Again. Totally.

Billboard recently reported that Total Music, a joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, has finally ceased operations. The two music giants have “agreed to stop funding the effort, citing both business and economic factors for doing so.”

As far as I’m concerned, this thing was doomed from the start. It was born, like many of the hare-brained music companies’ schemes, out of thinking they could out-do iTunes. It was just one of several ventures that some of the labels entered into in ridiculous attempts to damage iTunes so they could somehow get back to the wonderful world of selling albums, not singles, at $15 a pop, like the good ol’ days of CDs.

Read the rest of this article on theAppleBlog >>

Sony Is Stupid, but Also Predictable and Still Shining Bright.

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What a busy week for Sony!

First, I assumed that they were going to offer their wares DRM-free from Amazon but not iTunes, and I speculated on what the labels were up to.

Then, they threw me a curve by being incredibly stupid, which diverted my attention briefly.

Finally, today they’ve fallen right in line with my original prediction, and are offering their tunes on Amazon, but not iTunes. The article does not specify if Sony’s whole catalog is available or just a part of it.

Anyway, leave it to Sony to take time out from possibly colluding with three of the other big labels against iTunes to be really stupid for a couple of days.

In the Labels’ Darkest Hour, Sony Stupidity Shines Through.

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Just a few days ago BusinessWeek ran a story that Sony was looking to sell DRM-free music, thereby joining the other “big” labels (Universal, Warner, and EMI) in offering at least a part of their catalog DRM-free. There was no mention of iTunes; speculation was that, like Universal and Warner, iTunes would be avoided and Amazon would be the online store of choice.

I wrote about Sony’s potential choice and wondered what the labels were up to. Silly me. I made the assumption that Sony would be selling through an online music store. I mean, where else would they sell digital music? Obviously it would be online, right?

But I forgot one key fact: This is Sony.

For all the dumb things Universal has done in their desire to get back to the glory days of huge music profits, I think Sony has been even dumber. Remember, these are the guys that invented the “ringle” — a ringtone/single on a physical CD — for sale in brick and mortar stores at $6 or more; the whole thing was laughable.

Well, history repeats itself. Sony is not (at least initially) using an online store for their DRM-free tunes. Rather, they will sell cards at retail locations that you use to download the album from a web site. It’s bad enough I have to go to a retail location to buy it, but I still have to use my computer to actually get the thing anyway. It’s the worst of both worlds! I guess this is what to expect from the makers of the ringle, CD rootkit and ATRAC.

And as bad as this looks, it’s even worse. As the Macworld article points out:

The move is far from the all-digital service offered by its rivals, though. To obtain the Sony-BMG tracks, would-be listeners will first have to go to a retail store to buy a Platinum MusicPass, a card containing a secret code, for a suggested retail price of $12.99. Once they have scratched off the card’s covering to expose the code, they will be able to download one of just 37 albums available through the service, including Britney Spears’ “Blackout” and Barry Manilow’s “The Greatest Songs of the Seventies.”

Twelve. Ninety. Nine. Is Sony insane? Have they not noticed that the going price for a full digital album is $9.99 (and even that’s too high)? They want me to pay $3 more and go to Target for the privilege! Seriously, Sony, how dumb can you be?

Oh, and only 37 albums? With ringles they planned up to 50 titles, but now can’t do more than 37 lousy albums? These guys are dumber than Universal and, believe me, that’s really saying something.

Of all the ridiculous ideas that have come out of the labels the last couple of years, this is the ridiculoust! (Yes, I just invented “ridiculoust”. I think it applies.)

DRM-Free Music: What Are The Labels Really Up To?

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Much has been made lately of the recent news that Warner began selling DRM-free music via Amazon. There was even talk about how three of the big four labels are now offering DRM-free music, so all that was needed was for Sony to get into line.Well, now there’s a story from BusinessWeek that Sony is negotiating DRM-free music sales as well.There’s a certain amount of rejoicing over this, but I’m still unimpressed.

Why am I not thrilled? Well, can you reasonably expect to buy DRM-free music from these labels at most places digital downloads are sold? No. Can you even expect DRM-free music from these labels at the major stores where digital downloads are sold? No.Consider this:

  • The BW story says Sony will make “at least a part” of its catalog available. In other words, we’re throwing you some bones, but don’t think we’re against DRM to the point where we abandon it altogether.
  • Sony’s music will be available online only from (surprise!) Amazon.com. No iTunes. Is it a coincidence that Universal, Warner, and perhaps Sony won’t sell on iTunes (you know, the word’s most popular download music store)? How could anyone believe that? I wouldn’t believe it for a minute. It’d be borderline collusion from the three largest labels.
  • Universal, as far as I know, is also only allowing part of it catalog to be DRM-free. That was the case initially, and I’ve seen no announcement that they’ve opened up everything.
  • Of the big four labels, only the smallest (EMI) made their DRM-free music available through iTunes. The other labels music on iTunes is still with DRM, while they peddle their DRM-free wares elsewhere.

So why only part of the Universal and Sony catalogs? And why not iTunes? It’s clear DRM-free is little more right now than the carrot on the stick the labels are offering consumers. It’s the shiny object they distract you with. But they have something else up their sleeve they’re not divulging.I certainly don’t mind people snapping up the DRM-free music wherever its available if they want to, but I do mind that not enough people are questioning the true motives of the labels here. This is not “seeing the light” or “embracing” the new order of DRM-free tunes. This is a carefully crafted attack by the labels on iTunes, pricing and, yes, keeping DRM alive in some cases.When the Warner deal was announced I wrote the following, and now I can add Sony:

If the music is truly without restriction, why do Universal and Warner care where you get it? It’d by like taking their CDs (also DRM-free) and selling them at Best Buy and Target but not Wal-Mart! It would be insanity to not sell your DRM-free CDs through the largest retailer, and yet when it comes to digital music this is just what Universal and Warner are doing.

When the labels open up their entire catalogs DRM-free, and when they sell on iTunes (and other sites, for that matter), then I’ll believe they’ve finally gotten the hint and given up on all the stupid schemes and plans they’ve held for the last eight years. We’re not there yet, and until then I think they still need to be watched.[UPDATE:] Updated article based on confirmation that Amazon will be the only online store used for Sony DRM-free music.