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Google provides HTC ammo in Apple patent fight
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Sept 8, 2011

Smartphone titan HTC Corp. on Thursday ramped up its patent war with Apple with the help of ammunition provided by Google, the force behind Android mobile software.

Google last week transferred to HTC a set of patents that the Taiwan-based company used to amend intellectual property infringement complaints against iPhone maker Apple in the United States.

The global Internet giant confirmed selling the patents to HTC but referred additional questions to the smartphone maker.

HTC in August accused Apple of patent infringement as part of an ongoing legal battle.

In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in the state of Delaware, the Taiwanese smartphone maker charged that Apple violated three HTC-held patents in its Macintosh computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads and other products.

HTC asked the court for damages and to bar Apple from importing into the United States any devices found to be infringing the patents.

It also filed a complaint with the Washington-based US International Trade Commission (ITC).

"We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones," HTC general counsel Grace Lei said.

"This is the third case before the ITC in which Apple is infringing our intellectual property," Lei said. "Apple needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its products."

Technology giants have taken to routinely pounding one another with patent lawsuits. Apple has accused HTC and other smartphone makers using Google's Android mobile operating system of infringing on Apple-held patents.

Some of the nine patents that HTC reportedly bought from Google had belonged to Motorola Mobility, which Google last month said that it is buying for $12.5 billion in cash.

Motorola Mobility's trove of patents was a key motivation for Google, which is keen to defend Android against its rivals.

"Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies," Google chief executive Larry Page said when the Motorola Mobility buy was announced.

Motorola Mobility chief executive Sanjay Jha told financial analysts the US maker of smartphones and touchscreen tablet computers has over 17,000 issued patents and another 7,500 pending.

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Gartner sharply lowers 2011 PC growth forecast
Washington (AFP) Sept 8, 2011 - Technology research firm Gartner has sharply lowered its forecast for personal computer sales growth for 2011, citing the weak economy and the impact of tablet computers.

Gartner said it expected worldwide PC shipments of 352 million units this year, an increase of 3.8 percent over 2010 but a reduction from the previous projection of 9.3 percent growth.

Gartner also lowered its growth forecast for next year.

It said it expected PC sales of 404 million units in 2012, a 10.9 percent increase from 2011 but lower than the previous forecast of 12.8 percent growth.

Gartner does not include tablet computers such as Apple's hot-selling iPad in its PC sales figures.

Gartner said the lower outlook for 2011 is largely due to downgraded forecasts for Western Europe and the United States in the second half of the year.

"Western Europe is not only struggling through excess PC inventory, but economic upheaval as well," said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal.

"US consumer PC shipments were much weaker than expected in the second quarter, and indications are that back-to-school PC sales are disappointing," Atwal said. "An increasing pessimistic economic outlook is causing both consumer and business sentiment to deteriorate in both regions.

"We're expecting consumer spending to tighten in response," Atwal said. "Business spending will also tighten, but less than the consumer space."

Gartner research director George Shiffler said tablet computers have "dramatically changed the dynamic of the PC market."

Hewlett-Packard's decision to "rethink its PC strategy simply highlights the pressure that PC vendors are under to adapt to the new dynamic or abandon the market," Shiffler said.

"Vendors' tried and true business models are failing as traditional PC functionality is extended to other devices, and users continue to lengthen PC lifetimes," he said.

HP, the world's top personal computer maker, said last month that it was exploring a spinoff of its PC unit in a historic shift away from the consumer market.

Announcing the move, HP chief executive Leo Apotheker said "consumers are changing their use of the PC."

"The tablet effect is real," he said.

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Report: Samsung, Microsoft tie up for new tablet
Seoul (AFP) Sept 8, 2011
South Korea's Samsung Electronics has teamed up with Microsoft to make a new tablet computer powered by the US software giant's latest operating system, a report said Thursday. The Korea Economic Daily, citing an industry source, said the new tab based on the Windows 8 system would be unveiled at Microsoft's BUILD developers' conference in California from September 13-16. "This new produ ... read more

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