Patent protection: Google to acquire Motorola Mobility

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Google will reportedly control more than 17,000 patents once it acquires Motorola Mobility — the half of the communications pioneer with the mobile phone IP.

Motorola Mobility spun off as an independent company in January this year. Google says it will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business; Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android; and Android will remain open.

In recent weeks, Google complained Apple, Microsoft, and others were unfairly attempting to wield their mobile patents against its Android operating system, which Google provides free to hardware makers such as HTC and Samsung. Pundits noted that Google’s lack of patents in the area made it vulnerable, even before a consortium that included Apple and Microsoft purchased the mobile IP developed by Nortel.

This week Google announced it’s offering $40 per share in cash, about $12.5 billion, for Motorola Mobility. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

“We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android,” says CEO Larry Page. “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.”

If Google maintains Motorola’s smart phone hardware business, the search and software giant is entering an entirely new arena — one in which it is squarely competing with its Android partners such as HTC and Samsung.

We would hope that rather than only compete with more me-too phones, Google also innovates in outlying areas than its more broadly aimed competitors can — such as camera phones that emphasize the camera. After all, most cameras sold today are phones, and most smart phones now sold are Android devices. Photography is one area in which Google could distinguish its Android models from those of its licensees.

Android launched in November 2007, and more than 150 million Android devices from 39 manufacturers have been activated worldwide, Google says.
Motorola introduced the world’s first portable cell phone nearly 30 years ago, and in 2008, chose Android as the sole operating system for its smartphones. “Their mobile business is poised for explosive growth,” Page concludes.

Google’s announcement is here.

 

Macy’s Inc. announces best second quarter sales in a decade

Macy’s Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, says sales for the second quarter of 2011, ended July 30, 2011, were  $5.939 billion, up 7.3 percent from total sales of $5.537 billion in the second quarter of 2010. On a same-store basis, Macy’s second quarter sales were up 6.4 percent.

“This was our most successful second quarter and spring season in more than a decade. Importantly, it came on top of an impressive first half performance last year. To date this year, we have driven significant additional sales growth, gained market share, maintained strong margins, managed expenses and generated a very healthy level of cash,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We have moved quickly to establish a culture of growth at Macy’s, Inc. since reorganizing the company in 2008 and 2009, and yet we feel we are just beginning to take advantage of the benefits we envision.

For the year to date, Macy’s, Inc. sales totaled $11.828 billion, up 6.5 percent from total sales of $11.111 billion in the first 26 weeks of 2010. On a same-store basis, Macy’s, Inc.’s year-to-date sales were up 5.9 percent.

Online sales (macys.com and bloomingdales.com combined) were up 40.2 percent in the second quarter and 39.2 percent in the first half of 2011. Online sales positively affected the company’s same-store sales by 1.2 percentage points in the second quarter and 1.3 percentage points in the year to date. Online sales are included in the same-store sales calculation for Macy’s, Inc.

Benro announces video tripod kit

New from Benro

New from Benro is the AD71FK tripod kit

Benro, Elmsford, N.Y.,  manufacturer of tripods, monopods and heads, announces the new Benro AD71FK5 Video Tripod Kit, including the Benro Dual Stage AD71F tripod, Fluid Motion K5 head and Heavy Duty tripod bag with strap. Quick flip leg locks provide fast setup, and the floating leg system with integral mid-level spreader provides unprecedented support for a tripod/head system in this price category, the company says. The 60mm bowl and head-mounted bubble level assure alignment for accurate camera placement and movements.

Rubber feet retract to expose steel spikes to insure solid tripod grip on both smooth surfaces and difficult terrain. Pan arms can be attached to either side of the K5 head and the included 4-inch long QR Quick Release plate can be replaced with plates from most other brands conforming to the RC5 QR system.

Suggested retail price for the new Benro AD71FK5 Video Tripod Kit is US$195.

Induro introduces lightweight BHS Ballheads

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New BHS Ballheads from Induro

Induro, Elmsford, N.Y., makers of tripods, heads and accessories designed for demanding professional photographers, announces new lightweight BHS Ballheads, offering well-balanced adjustable support for a wide range of cameras and lenses and compatibility with most compact and professional tripods. A secure dual quick release locking system and built-in bubble ensures fast camera mounting, dismounting and leveling. A single lever locks camera position and head rotation simultaneously, Induro says. Each Ballhead includes a matching Snap-in Style Quick Release Plate.

The Induro BHS Ballheads are available in three sizes from retailers throughout the United States at prices ranging from US$52 to $76 ,depending on the model.

 

 

On the DIMAcast: “Brain Buzzes” from the PRO convention

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“Brain Buzzes” can get your creative juices flowing, and this week’s DIMAcast will have you buzzing with exciting ideas you can use in your business. Live from the Photographic Research Organization’s 53rd Annual Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., the top U.S. camera stores gather to buy and share ideas that boost sales, profits and efficiencies.

On this episode of the DIMAcast, you’ll hear candid discussions of things that worked and some that didn’t. Tony Fortina of Rockbrook Camera, Omaha, Neb., shares in-store uses for iPads. Eric Vitwar, Tuttle Cameras, Long Beach, Calif., tells how he aggressively uses Yelp to build customer relationship. Tony Miresse or Art’s Camera Plus, Greenfield, Wis., builds sales by taking his employees on field trips, in their own store. Brian Noble, Noble’s Camera, Hingham, Mass., candidly admits his marketing mistakes and what he (and you) can learn from them. Pauline McKean of Calagaz Photo and Digital Imaging, Mobile, Ala., tells how she has overflow crowds at her store because she partners with local businesses and charities.

Listen in to these leading retailers reveal what’s working and what’s not for 2011. You can hear them and download the transcript with images at www.DIMAcast.com.

 

Bonusprint launches first TV campaign in 25 years

U.K.-based online photo company Bonusprint is launching a new TV ad campaign for the first time in a quarter century, marking the start of  online photo printing specialist, is to advertise on TV for the first time in 25 years. This marks the start of an intensive marketing program intended to position the brand as a household name once more. The TV spots coincide with the launch of Bonusprint’s “Printing Smiles” campaign.

Keith Hanson, general manager of Bonusprint UK, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be launching Bonusprint on a national scale once more. As one of the original photo printing brands, this campaign marks a new era for Bonusprint.  By embarking on this TV campaign, which is backed up by an extensive multi-channel programme including PR, CRM, online and offline activity, we aim to dominate the photo book and photo printing market once more. We’re using this campaign as a springboard to launch our new strapline, ‘Printing your smiles since 1979′ and drive traffic to Bonusprint.co.uk.”