Friday, 9 March 2012

Apples and Barnes & Noble collude to keep high prices on Ebooks

I am probably not the only one in Africa that resorts to Ebooks when I want the latest book or a book that is not widely available (read not on the top 100 bestseller list)

Knowing that there is no printing cost or distribution cost for Ebooks I have always wondered why they are still so expensive. Now here is why:

According to WSJ

"The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.

Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers."
Ebooks are the fastest growing business for publishers at a time when the sale of physical books is in decline. E-book sales more than doubled to $970 million in 2011, according to a survey of 77 publishers conducted by the Association of American Publishers. As more consumers migrate to dedicated e-readers and tablet reading devices, the number of consumers reading digitally will likely increase.

Apparantly these guys have not learned the lesson from the music industry. I am not a big fan of piracy but if the big players are committing crimes to have excessive profits then it might be tme that we start sharing books for free.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Alliance forms web-based rival to Android, Apple

Android has brought advanced Smartphones to the masses due to the free OS. But even Android are quite demanding when it comes to the System Specifications. You still need a powerful processor and plenty of RAM.

Now it seems like Android might get competition. According to Reuters: " An industry alliance including the top wireless chipset provider Qualcomm will step up competition in the smartphone software market on Monday, with a new Internet-based free technology for cheaper smartphones."

Telecom operator Telefonica, Qualcomm and Mozilla Foundation, creator of Firefox Internet browser, who have worked on creating the platform since last year, will show devices running it at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

The new platform combines HTML5, the preferred standard for creating mobile browser content, with some of the core elements of Linux technology, cutting the need for a separate operating system and enabling fast roll-out of smartphones.
"If you are doing Android phones now, you can bring up a machine in days," Jay Sullivan, vice president of products at Mozilla, told Reuters.
Cutting some layers of traditional operating systems allows the new platform to be used on smartphones with lower processing power and a smaller cost of materials.
Carlos Domingo, director of Product Development & Innovation at Telefonica's Digital unit, said this enables significantly cheaper prices than the low-end Android models when they come to market later this year.
"This is the way to bring smartphones to masses on emerging markets," Domingo said.
The cheapest Android Smartphones sell for around $80 in East Africa. Are we going to see smartphones selling for $40.

The secret is if there will be Apps available for the new platform. To start a new Eco system competing against Apple and Google is a challenge but by basing the new OS on HTML5 they might have a head-start.