July 1 2011 News Wrap-Up

In US, Smartphones Now Majority of New Cellphone Purchases – Since smartphones use several times more data than feature phones (because of better usability), this trend seems to support the Nielsen data showing a data tsunami.  Some people are saying that once the transition to smartphones is complete, it will slow down the data tsunami and the wireless spectrum crunch, but that assumes that “smartphone” is a single type of device.  The truth is, there are multiple generations of smartphones and each generation is more robust than before and capable of handling higher quality video.  For example, the iPhone 4 has four times the resolution of the first generation of iPhones, and more video streaming applications (or “apps”) and full-fledged flash video support is becoming more prevalent.

Consortium including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony snags Nortel patents for $4.5 billion – It appears that Nortel’s carcass was worth quite a bit of money in the high stakes mobile game.  This sale appears to be some sort of patent litigation peace treaty between the large players but excludes Google (which still doesn’t have a meaningful patent portfolio to play the game of mutually assured destruction in the courts).  The sale price of Nortel’s patents is in contrast to the perishable dotcom fads like MySpace that just sold for $35 million even though News Corp paid $580 Million.  This is especially noteworthy, given the fact that Microsoft earns more from Google Android royalty payments than its own Windows Phone 7 software.  By the time Oracle gets through suing Google and all the companies that have used Android OS in their products, the “free” Android OS may indeed cost more than Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.

Security researchers discover ‘indestructible’ botnet – A botnet army of 4.5 million hijacked personal computers is so strong because it aggressively evades detection using encrypted communications and because it fights off other malicious software.

Senate Dems want net-neutrality rules enforced – 10 Democratic senators want the FCC to enforce Net Neutrality rules, but that would put them at odds with a clear majority of congress that wants the FCC to back down on Internet regulation.  The courts have generally ruled against the FCC whenever it tries to shatter the congressional tether.