Архив метки: Germany

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold arrives in Korea September 6, US in ‘coming weeks’

Five months after its planned launch, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is finally here. Well, almost. After offering a broad September time frame a few months back, the electronics giant just announced that the foldable foldable phone will be arriving in its native South Korea on September 6. Customers in the U.S. will have to wait a bit longer, with device arriving in “coming weeks.” Ditto for France, Germany, Singapore and the U.K.
The handset will be available in both black and silver options, along with a 5G version of the handset in “select countries,” marking the third Samsung device to offer up the next gen wireless technology.
If you follow the mobile space at all, you’re no doubt familiar with the saga. The company was targeting a spring timeframe for the launch of what is ostensibly the first consumer folding phone. The future, however, didn’t arrive as quickly as Samsung was hoping. Multiple review devices returned to the company broken. After initially blaming reviewers for the problems, the company ultimately accepted responsibility and went back to the drawing board for the 7.3 inch device.

“During the past several months, Samsung has been refining the Galaxy Fold to ensure it delivers the best possible experience,” the company explains. “Not only we improved the Galaxy Fold’s design and construction, but also took the time to rethink the entire consumer journey.”
The company’s clearly spinning this as an “opportunity,” and certainly it dodged a bullet by addressing these problems before releasing the product to consumers. Samsung has already discussed the fixes in previous announcements. The screen protector has been extended to under the bezels, so consumers don’t break the display by mistaking it for a removable laminate. Also, the gaps in the folding mechanism have been tightened, so particles can’t fall behind the screen.
The foldable starts at $2,000 and can currently be preordered through Samsung’s site.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold arrives in Korea September 6, US in ‘coming weeks’

Qualcomm patent dispute forces Apple to pull iPhone 7 and 8 from its stores in Germany

In more bad news for Apple, the company’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models are not currently on sale in its own retail stores in Germany.
This follows an injunction issued by a Munich court last month related to patent litigation brought by chipmaker Qualcomm that’s being enforced from today. The patent dispute concerns smartphone power management technology that’s used to extend battery life.
In December, the Munich court sided with Qualcomm, finding that Apple is infringing its patented power savings technology in the two models — granting a permanent injunction.
The court ordered Apple to cease the sale, offer for sale and importation for sale in Germany of infringing iPhones.
Apple has said it will appeal.
The Apple Germany website currently offers the newest models of the iPhone (the XS, XS Max and XR); and older models from 2014 (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus); 2015 (iPhone 6S and 6S Plus); and 2016 (iPhone SE). But buyers looking for 2016’s iPhone 7 or 2017’s iPhone 8 will be disappointed.
Yesterday Qualcomm announced it had posted security bonds totalling €1.34BN required by the court, enabling the injunction issued by the District Court of Munich on December 20 to be enforced.
The bonds are required to cover potential damages incurred by Apple should the judgment be overturned or amended on appeal. Qualcomm had said on December 20 that it would post the bonds “within a few days.”
In a statement yesterday the chipmaker also claimed the court had ordered Apple to recall infringing iPhones from third-party resellers in the market.
But at the time of writing, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models are still being offered by Apple resellers in Germany.
Amazon.de currently offers both handsets, for instance. Gravis, Germany’s biggest reseller of Apple products, also told Reuters it was still selling all Apple products, including the two models.
Qualcomm has also been pursing patent litigation against Apple in China and the U.S., and last month Apple appealed against a preliminary injunction banning the import and sales of old iPhone models in China.
In that case, the patents relate to editing photos and managing apps on smartphone touchscreens.
In the U.S., Qualcomm has most recently accused Intel engineers working with Apple of stealing trade secrets.
The feud dates back further, though. Two years ago the FTC filed charges against Qualcomm accusing it of anticompetitive tactics in an attempt to maintain a monopoly in its chip business — with Apple officially cited in the complaint.
Cupertino also filed a billion-dollar royalty lawsuit against the chipmaker at the same time, accusing it of charging for patents “they have nothing to do with.”
The legal battle between the pair shows no signs of fizzling out, and has led Apple to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm chips — with Intel the short-term beneficiary.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the latest litigious development in Germany, but pointed to its statement from December 20 in which it takes a broad swipe at Qualcomm’s “tactics.”
In the statement, Apple also said resellers in the market would continue to stock all models.
It writes:

Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior.

We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple’s 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.

The sideswipe at Qualcomm’s “tactics” is perhaps also a reference to the use of a controversial PR firm, Definers, which — as we reported in November — sent pitches slinging mud at Apple seemingly on Qualcomm’s behalf.
Late last year Facebook confirmed it had severed its own business relationship with the PR firm after it was revealed to have used anti-Semitic smear tactics to try to discredit Facebook critics.
We’ve asked Qualcomm for comment on its use of the PR firm.

Qualcomm patent dispute forces Apple to pull iPhone 7 and 8 from its stores in Germany

German Supreme Court dismisses Axel Springer lawsuit, says ad blocking is legal

Germany’s Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit yesterday from Axel Springer against Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus.
The European publishing giant (which acquired Business Insider in 2015) argued that ad blocking, as well as the business model where advertisers pay to be added to circumvent the white list, violated Germany’s competition law. Axel Springer won a partial victory in 2016, when a lower court ruled that it shouldn’t have to pay for white listing.
However, the Supreme Court has now overturned that decision. In the process, it declared that ad-blocking and Eyeo’s white list are both legal. (German speakers can read the court’s press release.)
After the ruling, Eyeo sent me the following statement from Ben Williams, its head of operations and communications:
Today, we are extremely pleased with the ruling from Germany’s Supreme Court in favor of Adblock Plus/eyeo and against the German media publishing company Axel Springer. This ruling confirms — just as the regional courts in Munich and Hamburg stated previously — that people have the right in Germany to block ads. This case had already been tried in the Cologne Regional Court, then in the Regional Court of Appeals, also in Cologne — with similar results. It also confirms that Adblock Plus can use a whitelist to allow certain acceptable ads through. Today’s Supreme Court decision puts an end to Axel Springer’s claim that they be treated differently for the whitelisting portion of Adblock Plus’ business model.
Axel Springer, meanwhile, described ad blocking as “an attack on the heart of the free media” and said it would appeal to the country’s Constitutional Court.

— Adblock Plus (@AdblockPlus) April 19, 2018

German Supreme Court dismisses Axel Springer lawsuit, says ad blocking is legal

Make Way For Another European Square: SumUp Launches With $20M+ In Backing


Add one more to the list of companies going head-to-head in the area of card payments by way of smartphone attachments: today, Berlin-based SumUp is opening up for business in the UK, Germany, Ireland and Austria, backed by an eight-figure Series A round, understood by TechCrunch to be over $20 million.

SumUp’s $20 million Series A investment comes from b-to-v Partners, Shortcut Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures and Klaus Hommels, the early Skype, Facebook and Xing investor. Before the $20 million round, SumUp had been bootstrapped by its founders, which include Daniel Klein, SumUp’s CEO, who was also one of the founders of PayPal competitor MoneyBookers (later rebranded as Skrill).

Similar to services like like Square, PayPal’s Here, iZettle, mPowa, Payleven and Intuit’s GoPayment, SumUp works by way of a free dongle that attaches to a smartphone or tablet — in its case an Android or iOS device — which can then be used with an app to read cards and take payments. And like the others, SumUp is targeting the large swathe of merchants and small businesses who currently do not have the facilities to take card payments. But if this sounds a little me-too and crowded, it’s clearly a space where investors still see a lot of opportunity for a startup to make a killing.

SumUp estimates that there are some 20 million small businesses in Europe today, but a large part of them are still only able to take payments by cash and checks because of the costs and infrastructure associated with traditional card payment services. Like others in the mobile payment space SumUp is banking on the growing uptake of smartphones — currently 32% penetration in Europe overall — and the increasing reliance on card transactions — they’re growing by 18% annually — to change that.

What is perhaps noteworthy about SumUp is that it is kicking off with a full launch — not a limited beta — in these four countries, with two of them, Germany and the UK, being some of the largest retail markets in Europe. The biggest competitor in Europe, iZettle, has up to now carved out some market share in the Nordics but is still only in beta in the UK; and of course Square and PayPal, the two biggest players in the U.S., have yet to enter the market here — although that seems to be something coming very soon.

[The launch today comes after a four-month closed beta in Germany, the UK, Ireland and Austria, which had been spotted early on by the German blog Deutsche Startups. The company has some 100 employees working in Berlin, Dublin and London.]

SumUp takes a 2.75% cut of every transaction made using its reader. It currently works with MasterCard, Visa and Europay and Stefan Jeschonnek, the MD and another co-founder, says that it’s currently in discussions with other card companies to extend that list.

You may recall that iZettle has been in a pickle in Europe over Visa cutting off its service because of the method iZettle uses to authenticate card users — iZettle requires a signature, which Visa says doesn’t meet its requirements. SumUp also takes signatures for authentication, but only on MasterCard transactions. For Visa customers get sent an SMS with a secure link, which they have to access on their devices to manually enter their full card numbers.

That sounds cumbersome, but Jeschonnek says SumUp is working on another method to speed up that process in future. “We are looking at different technology that we can use, and we are considering the chip-and-PIN solution [used by merchants who have payment terminals],” he says.

Another notable aspect of SumUp’s service is that the company is already developing the idea as more than just a point-of-sale card payment provision. Merchants have the option of using the app to preload several items that they sell, and that effectively turns SumUp into a kind of cash register.

This is, for now, limited to being used within SumUp’s own service, although Jeschonnek says it is also looking at how it might leverage APIs to offer this kind of functionality within merchant’s own apps.

“But right now we’re mainly focused on the problem of getting merchants to take cards,” he says. “We’re trying to solve a problem that still hasn’t been solved.”

Make Way For Another European Square: SumUp Launches With $20M+ In Backing

Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results


Apple is making potentially significant changes to the search algorithm in the App Store, at least according to some app developers. If you’re a developer or publisher counting on a well-chosen name to help with visibility, things could get tougher from here on out. But if you’re a popular and well-reviewed app, things might be looking up.

This could be an early step in the general revamp of App Store search and discovery that MG Siegler heard about when he broke the news in February that Apple had acquired app discovery startup Chomp.

Basically, it looks like App Store search is now weighting app names and keywords less heavily in its search results. Previously, if you were searching for something like “san francisco parking”, apps whose names included those search terms would rank more highly. Or if you searched for something like “traffic”, you’d get a bunch of games with names like Traffic Rush. Now, you’re more likely to see apps that aren’t just a simple keyword match. In traffic, for example, you see more actual traffic/navigation apps — and yes, a few games thrown into the mix.

We’ve heard a couple of possible explanations about why this is the case. Ben Sann, founder of BestParking.com, first tipped us off to the change, because he noticed that the Best Parking app had suddenly jumped to the top of a number of searches, including “chicago parking,” “dc parking,” and “sf parking”, in each case ranking ahead of apps that were a closer match for the search term. Sann’s theory: Apple is now putting a heavier emphasis on app downloads, so that BestParking has pulled ahead of apps with better names (at least, for a given search) but fewer downloads. If Sann is right, that could mean developers who built localized versions of their apps to target different search terms are going to get screwed, while more generalized apps that serve multiple geographies (like BestParking) will benefit.

Matthäus Krzykowski, cofounder of app search and data company Xyologic, has another explanation. He says that Apple has been incorporating download numbers into its rankings for a while now, and he suggests that what really changed is that Apple has gotten better at “topic detection”. In other words, it’s now better able to infer what you’re looking for when you type in a search term, so if you type in the word “gas”, you probably want apps that help you find gas stations or low gas prices, rather than driving games or apps that happen to have the word gas in their title (like fart apps). His team also says that the search rankings seem to be looking at other indicators of popularity, like ratings and comments.

That theory seems to be backed up by Chomp’s description of its technology: “Chomp’s proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do, not just what they’re called.” In other words, if Apple is getting better at topic detection, it’s plausible that Chomp’s technology played a role.

And the change doesn’t seem to be rolling out in every country. It’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison for different geographies, because they have different apps and different languages, but our own Ingrid Lunden says she’s seeing similar changes in the UK’s App Store search results. And Krzykowski sent along screenshots of a search for “gas” or “benzin” (German for gas) in Germany and Poland. He notes that in Germany, the results include a lot more navigation apps, while Poland’s results include more random games, suggesting that the change has happened in Germany but not Poland.

In other categories, the change seems to be more subtle. I spoke to one mobile app developer who said that his apps seemed to be ranking higher in multiple categories, with some low-quality apps removed from the rankings, and the search results now matching up more closely with the App Store rankings. However, the change wasn’t dramatic enough that he could say for certain.

We’ve contacted Apple and will update if we hear back.

Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results