Major new app store to take on Apple, others

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and others to create app store to rival Apple’s
Store was announced Monday at the GSM World conference in Barcelona, Spain
Store would sell apps for iPhones and for smartphones like BlackBerry, Google Android
Until now, Apple has had control of all apps that go on the iPhone
(CNN) — Some of the world’s largest telecommunications companies have teamed up to create an apps store of sorts that they say will rival Apple’s and those of other smartphone makers.

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and 24 other companies have formed what they’re calling the Wholesale Applications Community, they announced Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The store will be designed to encourage developers to create mobile and online applications for all smartphones and operating systems, according to a written release from the GSM (Global System for Mobile) Association, which hosts the conference.

The group aims to create an open platform.

“For customers this means a broader choice of innovative applications and services available on a wider choice of devices than ever before,” the group said on its Web site, which was online Monday morning.

Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics also are part of the group.

The groups said their site will give app developers a simple route to publishing and marketing, and will offer smartphone customers new apps quicker and a wider selection than anyone else.

“This is tremendously exciting news for our industry and will serve to catalyse the development of a range of innovative, cross-device, cross-operator applications,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association.

As of now, Apple has had control over all apps that officially run on its iPhones, offering them through the company’s official online store. Users with the ability are able to “jailbreak” the phones to run other apps, but the overwhelming majority of them come through Apple’s store.

By creating a new platform, the Wholesale Applications Community would theoretically let developers write programs that would be usable on multiple smartphones instead of just one.

Currently, Apple apps must be written specically for the iPhone, making them unusable by other phones.

Many application developers have complained that Apple is sometimes slow to approve their work and has rejected apps for what they call arbitrary and confusing reasons.

Systems like Google’s Android have been more open, but the project by the mobile companies will be the biggest push yet to lure developers away from official outlets to a third-party distributor of apps.

Other global companies in the group include China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone and Wind.

The group says that combined, the companies have access to more than 3 billion customers worldwide.

There was no word Monday on how long it will be before applications become available from the consortium. But it’s expected to take a while.

Source: CNN

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz Tweets Resignation In Haiku

Jonathan Schwartz Twitter

I mean im sure that how he broke the news to everyone else but im sure the board of trustees had prior notice about his resignation.  I will admitt that this move was pretty gangsta!
CEOs may come and go, but not every one chooses to tweet their departureSun CEO Jonathan Schwartz announced his resignation via Twitter, becoming the first Fortune 200 head to do so, according to the New York Times.

Schwartz Tweeted from his account, OpenJonathan,

Today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a #haiku. Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more

(see screenshot below)The New York Times also notes that during his tenure at Sun, Schwartz as an avid user of social media tools:

Mr. Schwartz has been fond of using the Internet as a soapbox. At Sun, he became the first chief executive of a major company to put up his own blog. Mr. Schwartz also pushed the Securities and Exchange Commission to put blogs on equal footing with press releases and filings when it comes to disclosing critical business matters to investors.

On January 28, Schwartz tweeted out a link to what he said was ‘likely my last blog at Sun…’ (Read Schwartz’s blog entry, ‘Where Life Takes Me Next…’ here.)

In it, he writes,

Greg Papadopoulos, one of the brightest people I’ve ever known, once made a very interesting statement – all technology ultimately becomes a fashion item. It was true for timekeeping, and it’s definitely true of computing and telecommunications. To that law, I’d like to add a simple corollary: the technology industry only gets more interesting. It’s been true my entire life.

 

Facebook turns 6

Facebook Birthday

Personally, I no longer use Facebook because of its move to being the new MySpace but for those that are hardcore Facebook users, wish your beloved site a “Happy 6th Birthday!”

February 4 marks Facebook’s birthday!

Facebook was launched six years ago, on February 4, 2004 by a group of students at Harvard University.

Before Facebook came ‘Facemash,’ a Harvard version of ‘HotOrNot.com’ that Mark Zuckerberg, currently Facebook’s CEO, created while blogging one night. He wrote leading up to the creation of Facemash,

I’m a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10 p.m. and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland [dorm] facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.
–9:48 pm–Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals…), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.
–11:09 pm

Let the hacking begin.
–12:58 am

 ‘TheFacebook.com‘ came next, opening to a limited pool of college students. The site eventually evolved into ‘Facebook.com,’ and was opened up to anyone, anywhere.

Read what Facebook has to say–in its own words–on the official Facebook blog. See more about Facebook, including how it has been used, why it has been in the news, and how it has grown, on our Facebook Big News page.

Toyota admitted design problems

Toyota Prius Brakes
Toyota has admitted brake problems on the Prius.

TOKYO (Associated Press) – Toyota admitted design problems with the brakes in its prized Prius, adding to the catalog of woes for the world’s No. 1 automaker still reeling from a massive U.S. recall involving faulty gas pedals.

Toyota Motor Corp. spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said Thursday that Toyota discovered there were design problems with the antilock brake system and corrected them for Prius models sold since late January, including those being shipped overseas.

But the company said it was still investigating how to inform people who had bought the gas-electric hybrid cars. Nothing was decided on that front for Prius cars sold overseas, according to Toyota.

Complaints about braking problems in the third-generation Prius have been reported in both the U.S. and Japan, combining to some 180, and come amid a global recall of nearly 4.5 million other top-selling vehicles for faulty gas pedals.

“We are investigating whether there are defects in the Prius,” Toyota executive Hiroyuki Yokoyama told reporters at Toyota’s Tokyo.

The company gave few details of the brake flaw. A major Toyota dealership in Tokyo said the automaker had informed dealers that Prius brakes can sometimes fail to work for less than a second but it had not told owners.

“It is disappointing because the Prius was receiving such rave reviews,” said Hiroyuki Naito, a manager at the dealership. The latest model Prius hit showrooms last May.

The problem with the Prius — the best-selling hybrid in the world and Toyota’s flagship model — is a big embarrassment for the automaker in its home turf Japan and another blow in the U.S., its biggest market.

In recent weeks, the automaker had answered questions about its overseas recalls for gas pedals with assurances that problems didn’t extend to Japanese vehicles, implying that it was doing a better job with quality control in Japan.

The transport minister is ordering an investigation and said a recall for the Prius should be considered. U.S. authorities are also investigating.

Earlier in Washington, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood startled the public with a comment, which he later retracted, that Americans should park their recalled Toyotas unless driving to dealers for accelerator repairs.

The popular gas-electric Prius was not part of the most recent recall over sticking gas pedals in eight top-selling models including the Camry that spanned the U.S., Europe and China.

Toyota senior managing director Takahiro Ijichi defended the automaker’s quality standards.

“We have not sacrificed the quality for the sake of saving costs,” he said. “Quality is our lifeline. We want our customers to feel safe and regain their trust as soon as possible.”

Toyota for the first time gave an estimate of the costs of the U.S. recall at up to $2 billion with $1.1 billion for the costs for the repairs and $770 million to $880 million in lost sales.

The Prius, the world’s best-selling hybrid, has been extremely popular in Japan because of government incentives that made hybrids tax-free. More than 170,000 the new remodeled Prius cars were sold in Japan and about 103,000 have been sold in the U.S. since May.

Despite snowballing problems with quality, Toyota said Thursday it returned to profit in the October-December quarter because of healthy sales of its green models including the Prius, and raised its forecast for the fiscal year through March.

Net profit for October-December was about $1.7 billion. It forecast a $880 million annual profit compared with its previous forecast for a $2.2 billion loss.

Toyota also raised its full year sales outlook to 7.18 million units from 7.03 million. The revised forecast remains lower than the 7.57 million vehicles it sold last fiscal year. And it is unclear how well Toyota sales and profits will hold up in coming months.