The Tech Bet

  Tuesday, 3 Mar 2015 | 12:33 PM ET

Billions at stake on Apple-Google search deal: UBS

Posted By: Althea Chang

The deal that makes Google's search engine the default option on Apple's Safari browsers expires soon, and that could be bad news for Google if the companies don't reach a new agreement.

Google could potentially lose billions in gross revenue if Apple switches to a different default search engine, according to a UBS research note Monday. Neither Apple nor Google have detailed when the agreement expires, but reports put the time frame in 2015, the note said.

Read MoreGoogle expands low-cost Android One smartphones

Google this year stands to bring in about $7.8 billion in gross revenue—about 10 percent of total revenue—from its existing search engine deal with Apple, according to UBS.

If Apple switches to a competitor, that could represent a 5 percent headwind, or about $3.9 billion, to 2015 gross revenue, the note said. UBS made those projections under the assumption that 50 percent of Apple iOS users switch their default search engine back to Google.

»Read more
  Monday, 2 Mar 2015 | 11:33 AM ET

Can Samsung edge Apple with new smartphones?

Posted By: Althea Chang

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones at the Mobile World Congress this weekend, but they may not be enough to unseat the Apple iPhone 6 Plus in a mobile phone popularity contest.

The Galaxy S6 Edge features a curved screen, which Samsung said will create a more "immersive experience." Others are less taken by the screen.

"The curved edged screen is a gimmicky parlor trick," said Shelly Palmer, managing director of the digital media group at investment bank Landmark Ventures. "They got rid of the removable battery, which was the best feature of the phone," Palmer added.

Mark Spoonauer, editor in chief of Tom's Guide, also criticized the lack of a removable battery, but he lauded the Edge's screen.

"I love the way that they've put Gorilla Glass on the back and it reflects the light, so it seems like it's changing colors," Spoonauer told CNBC.

»Read more
  Friday, 27 Feb 2015 | 11:30 AM ET

Ericsson seeks to block iPhone sales in the US

Posted By: Althea Chang

Swedish cellphone maker Ericsson is suing Apple in hopes of blocking the sale of iPhones and iPads in the United States, the company said on Friday.

Ericsson claims Apple has infringed on 41 of the more than 35,000 patents it holds.

Read MoreApple faces lawsuit for alleged auto engineer poaching

The patents cover the design of user interfaces, semiconductor components, location services, operating systems and more, Ericsson said.

"Apple's products benefit from the technology invented and patented by Ericsson's engineers. Features that consumers now take for granted—like being able to live stream television shows or access their favorite apps from their phone—rely on the technology we have developed," said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, in a statement on the company's website.

"We are committed to sharing our innovations and have acted in good faith to find a fair solution. Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the [U.S. International Trade Commission]." Alfalahi said.

»Read more
  Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 1:11 PM ET

Who wins—and who loses—on net neutrality rules

Posted By: Althea Chang

The Federal Communications Commission passed new rules Thursday that reclassified the Internet as a public utility, and there's a clear list of winners and losers.

The new rules allow the FCC to regulate Internet service providers the same way they regulate telecom companies and prevent them from creating "slow and fast lanes" for web traffic.

Allowing internet providers to charge more for faster service would benefit the likes of Time Warner Cable and Comcast, but potentially hurt streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.com as well as social networks like Facebook and Tumblr.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 | 12:18 PM ET

Google beware, 2 million advertisers like Facebook

Posted By: Althea Chang

Watch out Google, advertisers are increasingly liking Facebook.

The social networking giant said the number of advertisers on its site has reached 2 million, making it a significant competitor to Google, which Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter said has about 4 million advertisers.

Facebook is building an advantage because of its scale and ad targeting data, Schachter said in a research note Tuesday.

"Facebook also has a substantial opportunity to deepen its relationship with individual advertisers as it demonstrates the platform's effectiveness to reach target demographics. As the company builds out its ad network and broadens its video offerings, we should see a ramp in per-advertiser spend as well," Schachter said.

Read MoreFacebook hits 2 million active advertisers

But Google still dominates the online search landscape, and that will remain the dominant form of digital advertising for years to come, Morningstar technology strategist Rick Summer told CNBC on Wednesday.

"I think the broader question is what's Google's reaction?" Summer said. "From our perspective, it really lets them flex their muscle. They can up the game, if you will, and start to be a little bit more both advertiser friendly and developer friendly."

»Read more
  Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 | 11:20 AM ET

Google Wallet and Apple Pay race for second place

Posted By: Althea Chang

While Apple has ventured into mobile payments with Apple Pay, Google's latest deal with wireless carriers could give Google Wallet more of an edge.

Google and mobile payments company Softcard announced a deal Monday that would mean Google Wallet would be preinstalled in Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA, making it easier for users to get started with Google Wallet.

Read MoreGoogle Strikes Mobile Payments Deal With Wireless Carriers

But despite Google and Apple getting much of the attention in the mobile payments realm, Paypal still dominates among mobile payment players.

»Read more
  Monday, 23 Feb 2015 | 11:31 AM ET

Google and Apple poised to clash over dashboards

Posted By: Althea Chang

Car dealerships are already set to sell vehicles with Google's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay within the next few months, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

Google welcomed car manufacturers to a recent event to show off Android Auto, its car dashboard system, the Times said. The forthcoming navigation, entertainment and communication system will compete with Apple's CarPlay system, which was introduced last year.

Read MoreThe real battle Apple is waging in autos

And Google hopes that app developers will be drawn to its in-dash systems, which link mobile devices running Android 5.0 or higher to its car tech.

»Read more
  Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 | 10:43 AM ET

Apple accused of plucking engineers from A123

Posted By: Althea Chang

With specifics about Apple's much-hyped automotive project under wraps for the time being, the tech giant now faces a lawsuit for poaching automotive engineers to beef up its battery division.

At least five former employees of electric car battery maker A123 Systems now work for Apple, according to a court filing. Those employees signed nondisclosure and noncompetition agreements, according to the filing. A123 is seeking "monetary damages," but it hasn't specified the amount it's seeking.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 | 10:48 AM ET

Facebook vs Apple: A virtual reality contest?

Posted By: Althea Chang

Facebook says it's developing virtual reality apps, pitting the social networking giant against Apple and other hardware-making competitors.

The Facebook apps are being built to work with its recently acquired Oculus headset technology and add to the site's video and photo-viewing experience, according to the company's chief product officer, Chris Cox, at Re/Code's Code/Media Conference late Tuesday. Facebook didn't disclose any specifics about the apps, however.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 | 10:18 AM ET

Touchless screens? Apple wins big new patent

Posted By: Althea Chang

Apple was granted a patent on Tuesday for technology that allows its devices to read physical gestures and respond based on hand movements. That could lead to a major shift in how its users interact with their computers.

Microsoft and Samsung already incorporate gesture controls into some of their products, perhaps the most widely known being the Microsoft's Xbox Kinect motion sensor. Apple, however, could bring about a new era in its own desktop and living room computer use.

Apple may be looking to develop a gaming console or revamped Apple TV, according to Trip Chowdhry, a managing director at Global Equities Research.

"This patent indicates that probably a completely new category of touchless devices may be in works at Apple," Chowdhry told CNBC.

Read More When Apple's iPhone launch hijacked CES

»Read more

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