The nation's big four carriers felt free to broker their customers' cellphone location data to third parties for years in order to make an easy secondhand buck off of the people who already pay them to deliver expensive wireless internet to their expensive devices. Turns out that the FCC isn't happy with their behavior and, according to Reuters's sources, may be prepared to levy an eight-digit fine against the networks. Read More
The US Justice Department has filed lawsuits against a handful of companies and individuals, accusing them of facilitating hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls. The suits accuse the companies of causing "elderly and vulnerable victims" serious financial harm. Read More
Photo filters aren't as big a business as they used to be — the early 2010s were dark times — but photo editor VSCO still takes them very seriously. The company has filed suit against the makers of fellow photo editor PicsArt, alleging that several of its filters were reverse engineered from VSCO's. Read More
As far as patent disputes go, BlackBerry vs. Nokia is a sad undercard between two fallen heavyweights whose combined market share remains part of the dismal "Other" category in most reports. Nevertheless, Round 1 of this match is going to Nokia, thanks to an arbitration court ruling that has awarded the Finnish company $137 million to resolve a contract dispute related to payments it said BlackBerry owed under a patent license contract signed in 2012. Read More
A couple of months ago we learned that BlackBerry CEO John Chen decided a good way to arrest his company's decline was to go into patent lawsuit mode. His first victim was rival manufacturer BLU, against which BlackBerry filed two separate infringement lawsuits covering 15 different patents. One of the suits was mainly based on software while the other looked at hardware, specifically relating to phone signal transmission. Read More
BlackBerry's phone sales have been on the decline for years, and its switch to Android may have been too little too late. The company's first Android phone, the PRIV, has not made a significant impact on the market. BlackBerry CEO John Chen made an unusual and potentially troubling statement on the company's May earnings call. He said he was in "patent licensing mode." That means lawsuits, and one of the first targets is budget phone maker BLU. Read More
Acting on a complaint by Russian search giant Yandex, Russia's antitrust authority has ruled that Google's policy forbidding the pre-installation of competing search providers on GMS-enabled devices is illegal in the country. Yandex, who dominates the huge Russian market on the desktop, has been hemorrhaging market share in mobile to Google. Their complaint is that Google cannot have a rule requiring Google be the default (and only) search engine on devices that ship with the Play Store.
Now, Google never prevents people from downloading a different search provider from the Play Store. From the perspective of Yandex, though, Google dominates the mobile market so much that this policy is an abuse of their power. Read More
We like to (deservedly) give AT&T a lot of grief around here, but it looks like they have a case in their latest lawsuit. According to the legal documentation, AT&T has evidence of several employees having engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain unlock codes for AT&T customers that were still under contract. Why would they do that? Well, the lawsuit alleges they were taking money from Swift Unlocks, a web-based company that charges a small fee to unlock people's carrier smartphones.
The nearly-defunct two-year contract model that all carriers once used was built on the premise of making top smartphones more affordable up front. Read More
The plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against Google have dropped their case after losing in an initial ruling. Just over a month ago, we reported on Google's win. The federal judge overseeing the case ruled in Google's favor, but the plaintiffs had one last chance to change their arguments before the case was closed. Instead, they have decided to withdraw.
A group of consumers accused Google of anticompetitive practices in the distribution of Android due to the stipulation that their search engine must be default in order for the OEM to load the Play Store on devices. The problem here, the plaintiffs allege, is that this precludes competing search providers from being default. Read More