Managing beta testers for iOS apps that aren’t approved for or listed in the official app store can be challenging. So much so this app consultant and freelance developer has launched Installr, a software platform designed to make this critical step for start-ups easier. Serial entrepreneur Jeff Bonnes is the founder of Melbourne-based consulting and development group Geeks Inc. He previously built and sold Find a Babysitter to Fairfax. He told StartupSmart the pain of coordinating the beta testing phase for many of his clients drove him to develop a way to automate the service. Many of the current offerings require the developers to log in and approve each beta tester once the software is downloaded. “It takes about 20 steps to run a beta test for a mac app without software like this. I was running two beta tests, one with farmers and one with financial planners, and getting emails at all hours. I realised there had to be a better way to do this,” Bonnes says. The software was built over the summer holiday and launched in late January. Over 100 clients are using it on subscription model where the price is set by the amount of beta testers. “We’re still finding bugs in it. It’s amazing when you get people from all over the world. You think we’d all develop apps the same way but we don’t. There are small technical differences between the ways apps are formatted,” he says. Installr is solving a similar problem to Testflight, which was acquired by Apple this week. But an acquisition exit is not part of Bonnes’s hopes for this product. “I don’t think I want Apple to buy it because I’m passionate about cross-platform apps,” Bonnes says. “Also, real innovation doesn’t come from people who get bought, it occurs around the edges. The reason guys like us and Testflight exist at all is because we feel and use the pain developers feel to create new products.” Bonnes says as Apple doesn’t tend to play nicely with other tech companies in their ecosystem, he was particularly careful to ensure Installr was within the terms of service. He adds the biggest risk for this start-up is Apple developing its own beta app store and system. “But even if they do, there is probably still space in the market for another, more nimble player,” he says. The plan for Installr in coming months is customer acquisition and a focus on Android expansion, with a batch of new Android features out soon.
Co-working space Hub Adelaide has decided to renew its Young Entrepreneur Fellowship programs, four months into its six-month pilot. Five start-ups, three sole founders and two co-founder pairs all under 25 years of age, began the program in September. Two had prototypes while three were still in the ideas phase. Program director Jemma Schilling told StartupSmart they launched the program to keep smart start-up talent in South Australia. “We wanted to retain the start-up talent and stop the brain drain to Sydney and Melbourne so offered a program to connect really smart and focused founders to the community,” Schilling says. The start-up founders selected got six months of free access to the office, tickets to all training events and a mentor. “It’s a very unstructured program on purpose, because they’re all very capable and we’re just enabling them to be part of the community, which otherwise they may not have been able to afford,” Schilling says. Joseph Costa and his co-founder joined the program with a developed product but were struggling to access the right beta testers. “Before the Hub, we had a product but now we have a product real people actually love,” Costa says. The app delivers updates to shoppers when they move into the GPS range of shops. The iPhone app has been approved by Apple, and will launch alongside the Android app still under development in a month. “We were struggling to talk to people in the right places, and not getting a lot of traction,” Costa says. “We had a great product but not the right networking going on. But at the Hub, the people we meet all the time are wiling to help out, and we’ve really taken off.” The start-ups will pitch to the wider hub community at the end of February. They will start recruiting for another batch of founders in March for a winter program.
Next Apple iPhones won’t feature curved screens, but 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display speculation mounts1:33AM | Friday, 24 January
Apple appears to have dumped plans to add curved displays to its next iPhones. However, speculation is growing the tech giant is looking at a 4.7-inch display and a 5.5-inch display for the next model. Citing “people familiar with the situation”, the Wall Street Journal reports the tech giant is set to dump its low-cost iPhone 5C-style plastic exteriors. Instead, the tech giant is set to opt for two different models, including one “with a screen larger than 4½ inches measured diagonally, and a second version with a display bigger than 5 inches”. Both devices would feature screen sizes significantly larger than the small 4-inch display currently used on the iPhone 5S. However, according to the latest report, the new iPhones are not expected to include a curved display. The latest reports seemingly confirm earlier reports, as covered by SmartCompany in November of last year, the company is working on a smartphone featuring a 4.7-inch display and a phablet that uses a 5.5-inch display. At the time, there were reports the new devices would feature glass that curves downwards at the edges, although that aspect of the design appears to have been abandoned. The devices would be much closer in size to the 5-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the 5.7-inch displays used on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and are set (at this point) to be released during the second half of 2014. Apple is reportedly also working on pressure-sensitive display technologies, although these are unlikely to be ready in time for the launch of the next iPhone. This article first appeared on SmartCompany.
Recently, your humble correspondent looked at vertically integrated companies. But if you’re just starting a business, the chances are you will – at least initially – be focused on a single stage of production, dealing with companies that are far more vertically integrated than you are. Well, as Old Taskmaster says, business is war. The dark side of vertical integration comes when someone else tries to take your businesses out of the supply chain. It happens. Just think about all the small businesses that supplied specialty foods to Coles and Woolies, only to find their lines deleted and a generic product taking their shelf space at $1 per litre. Or, for that matter, the local servo owners who used their local supermarket as a supplier of their convenience store, only to find a shiny new Coles Express or Woolworths Plus Petrol opening down the road. In theory, the ACCC should do something about it when it happens. In practice, Australia’s competition watchdog is more of a chihuahua. On the other hand, Apple seems to be doing just fine, despite the fact its vertically integrated arch-rival (Samsung) also supplies a number of key iPhone components, including the processor and display. And it’s not the first time Apple has found itself in such a predicament. Way back when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were in their parent’s garage, guess who the supplier was for the main processor in the original Apple I and Apple II computers? It wasn’t Intel. Nor was it Motorola. And ARM didn’t exist yet. No, Apple’s first computers from the late 1970s were built around an MOS 6502 chip. From Commodore. As in, Jack Tramiel’s Commodore. A number of their competitors did likewise, including Atari (including the 2600), the original Nintendo NES and Acorn (who built the BBC Micro B). All used a variation of the processor in the Commodore 64. When Tramiel started a price war by dropping the retail price of the Commodore 64, all of those companies were left buying processors at retail price while Commodore was effectively buying them at cost price. Jobs actually referenced the industry shakeout that resulted while unveiling the Macintosh: “Nineteen eighty three… The shakeout is in full swing. The first major firm goes bankrupt, with others teetering on the brink. Total industry losses for ’83 outshadow the combined profits for Apple and IBM, for personal computers.” So what can you do when a key supplier or customer decides to compete against you? Apple survived by marketing premium, value-added products. Premium products command premium prices, and are less susceptible to a price war. After all, you might build your own computer, but it won’t be an Apple. In the long run, Jobs also built his own vertical integration. That’s why you can buy Apple’s Final Cut Pro for your Apple Mac from an Apple store. Perhaps the best response is to avoid getting locked into a single supplier in the first place. Look for products where you can get a second source – that is, a second company that can competitively supply you a similar product. Likewise, avoid getting yourself in a position where your entire business is locked into supplying a single customer or outlet. After all, there’s no use crying over spilled, non-generic milk. Finally, the next time you revise your long-term strategy, evaluate what would happen if your largest supplier, business partner or customer decided to compete with you. Is there a risk? If so, what would you do? Old Taskmaster says it’s time to evaluate the risks facing your business from potential rivals – and reduce them! Get it done – today!
It’s seven years today since the launch of Apple’s first iPhone and since then it’s brought about new sectors of business, increased connectivity around the globe and forced its competitors to innovate. On this day seven years ago (January 9 in the United States), Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in a keynote address at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. It wasn’t the first smartphone, it didn’t have the best hardware, but its software and usability quickly made it the dominant phone on the market and Apple challenged the positions of other phone manufacturers and telecommunications companies. With the introduction of the iPhone, opportunities for businesses emerged which had never before been realised. Social media became pervasive, app businesses emerged and new payment technologies were developed. When the iPhone launched on the market in November 2007, thousands of people queued around the world to secure their first iPhone. Many of these people are still devout Apple users today. Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi told SmartCompany in the past seven years consumers have adopted smartphone technology at a rapid rate. “This has created both opportunities and challenges for businesses. On the app side of smartphones, it’s provided a new platform for businesses to sell and interact with customers which is more engaged and it’s also facilitated micro-transactions,” he says. “But it’s also created additional requirements for businesses to have mobile websites and to actually develop these apps.” Technology expert Paul Wallbank told SmartCompany the iPhone also challenged the business models of telecommunications companies. “The iPhone broke down the telco model of trying to lock us into their proprietary applications… Apple went behind the backs of the telcos and they’ve never really forgiven it for it,” he says. “The iPhone has been a huge thing for business. Apple created an app store and showed businesses they can help drive sales and productivity. It’s helped businesses both as technology consumers and by allowing them to create their own apps to capture further business opportunities.” Thanks to the rise of the smartphone, driven largely by the success of the iPhone, businesses such as Appster, Smart50 winner Outware Mobile and AppsPro have come to exist. Businesses have also been forced to up their customer engagement via social media, new banking methods have been developed to allow people to transfer money and monitor their accounts on the go, and increasingly businesses are developing payment technologies which allow people to pay for things like their morning coffee while in transit. But Wallbank says the best innovation has been the most simple – making business mobile. “It’s liberated people from the office and automated a lot of field workers systems. At the time the iPhone was released I was running an IT support business and I was struggling to find something which would let my field technicians do their paperwork on the road,” he says. “Smartphones have changed the way many industries can work with their mobile workers. Before the iPhone, the mobile revolution was stunted by the telcos and companies like Blackberry and Nokia, but Apple opened up the platform.” Both Fadaghi and Wallbank agree in the next five years smartphones will become integrated with other smart devices. “What we’ll see is an extension of the smartphone to a number of connected devices and smart accessories. Their functionality will be extended through wearable devices, docking solutions and software which lets it integrate with other devices,” Fadaghi says. “When it reaches maximum penetration innovation will be around its integration with other devices… There is a pent up demand for Google Glass and these kinds of products at certain price points.” Fadaghi says the success of wearable devices will depend on their price. “Longer term, one thing which will occur is the computing part of the technology will get smaller and smaller. You’ll have the full functionality of a smartphone in wearable devices, SD card-sized computers and smart computing units will be applied in different ways like wearables and sensor type devices.” Wallbank says the current International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has shown there will be more integration between smartphones and in-car navigation and entertainment systems, fitness equipment and medical devices. “Smartphones and tablets are becoming the centre of our digital lives. They’ll be the remote control for everything from home security systems to fitness watches,” he says. “The trend prior to smartphones was phones getting smaller. I think the form factor of the phones will evolve as we use them. It could go back to tiny phones if we use them to engage with things like Google Glass and smart TVs predominantly.” Wallbank says just as the motorcar changed the twentieth century, “the smartphone will change the twenty-first”.
There was plenty of news and activity affecting Australia’s start-ups over the past 12 months, as the sector absorbed political strife in the Labor Party, an election that saw the return of the Coalition and attempts by Apple to trademark “startup”. It was also an interesting year for work trends, with the rise of online outsourcing and the expansion of co-working spaces around the country. As dull as it might sound, tax policy was also on the radar of readers, especially consultation around potential changes to employee share schemes, which could have a significant impact on the way start-ups can remunerate early staff and attract the best talent. All of which points to a busy 2014. Politics The election voters had long been waiting for to toss the Labor Party out of office finally arrived on September 7. There was plenty of interest in what the major parties would offer the start-up sector and small business. But ultimately, it was what the Coalition was offering that won over voters, although for start-ups, the impact was initially unclear. But before the election, readers were also entranced by the internal warring in the Labor Party, with the attempt to topple Julia Gillard that never was in March before Kevin Rudd finally secured the numbers to return as prime minister – albeit for a short time to “save the furniture” and soften the electoral drubbing the party suffered. Policy Employee share schemes and how the rules around them might be changed to support start-ups was a major issue that generated plenty of discussion during the year. That discussion is likely to continue into 2014 as the Coalition government, which in opposition had said it would consider making changes, awaits the results of a consultation process. Debate over the $1000 threshold on when the GST should apply on goods bought online from overseas retailers also arose, as Australians continued to embrace internet shopping. Questions have been raised whether lowering the threshold would do anything to influence the behaviour of shoppers. Australia’s fiscal position changed throughout the year, with promises that the budget would return to surplus giving way to huge deficits. What this year’s budget meant for new and small businesses drew readers’ attention, but with the change in government and the warnings of budget cuts to come, it’s unclear how the small business sector will fare in the coming years. How we work Freelancing, outsourcing, job matching and share work spaces all featured prominently throughout the year, reflecting the changing nature of work. Websites connecting freelancers to jobs around the world became more prominent, especially with the successful sharemarket listing of Australian-based Freelancer.com. As their popularity rises, the need to stand out from the crowd also becomes more important, making ‘tips’ stories on how to do just that popular. Sharing workspaces with others away from home or out of a corporate office environment also became popular, with like-minded people coming together to work and share ideas. Other top stories: Apple – Apple’s application to IP Australia to trademark “startup” sparked a storm of angry comments on StartupSmart. The application has had an adverse finding against it but the case could return after Apple was allowed to defer acceptance of the report. Investment funding – Artesian Ventures announced a $100 million fund to invest in other investment funds with the aim of investing in 1000 start-ups. MailChimp blocked – Numerous businesses use MailChimp to deliver material to the email inboxes of their subscribers. So there was plenty of concern when it emerged the service was having problems delivering to certain domain names. The issue has since been rectified. Sumo loss – Australian entrepreneur James Miller, who co-founded food franchise Sumo Salad before turning his attention to the re-launch of old Sydney pubs, died of a suspected accidental drug overdose.
Steve Dunn and his team from LEAPIN Digital Keys have returned from 10X, an Ohio-based accelerator program, with smarter plans, greater networks and a tech veteran as a board member. Launched in 2008, the company is a smartphone enabled control system for doors. Designed as a cheaper and more reliable alternative to swipe cards, the LEAPIN Digital Keys team plan to license their technology to a range of lock providers around the world. They’ve appointed technology business veteran and former head of IT at Abode, Al Pappas, to their board after meeting him during the accelerator program. Dunn, LEAPIN’s co-founder and chief executive, told StartupSmart Pappas joining their board was a breakthrough for their team, who launched a seed funding round recently. Dunn says his team is particularly excited about Pappas’s experience with start-ups in extreme growth periods, having worked as a test engineering manager at Apple from 1987 to 1991. Pappas organised meetings with CIOs throughout Silicon Valley. Dunn adds he was overwhelmed by the support their team received despite being one of two foreign start-ups in the program (the second was from Israel). “There were people bending over backwards to help us make connections in a country we weren’t even from, and they connected us to global networks,” Dunn says. “We’ve got potential deals going on all over the world, and while we’d like to stay on the Gold Coast, we’ll go wherever our clients are.” Dunn says the support was inspiring, as was the realisation there were significant amounts of capital available for tech start-ups. “There is a lot of money around the barricade. We were in the mid-west, which was a bit more conservative, but we seemed to be very popular with these Aussie accents. We were a bit of a novelty so everyone wanted to talk to us and hear us talk,” Dunn says. The American way of talking was a learning curve for Dunn, but he says once you get used to the directness, it works really well. “There’s no beating around the bush, it’s always straight to the point. Sometimes there was no small talk at all,” Dunn says. “It’s a great way to communicate. Some people we were talking to were worth $5 million independently or running $30 million funds, but everyone just went right in and told it how it is.” During the program, major telco network AT&T rolled out a similar product through a partnership. While they’re a hefty competitor, Dunn says it’s good news for his start-up. “It actually gives us more confidence going forward, because they’re educating the market for us and opening it up. During the football, they were running expensive ads explaining the benefits, which is good for us too.”
The tech sector has always been hyper-competitive, and never has this been truer than in 2013. For the likes of Twitter, Samsung and Google, the harvest of 2013 was bountiful. However, from the perspective of Nokia, Microsoft, BlackBerry or the PC industry, it was a year to forget. Here’s a look back at 10 of the big events and trends that shaped the tech sector in 2013. 1. One billion smartphones sold this year – and counting The most important tech story of 2013 didn’t take place with a major product announcement or a Steve Jobs-style keynote speech. Instead, it took place without fanfare at an ordinary mobile phone retailer somewhere deep in suburbia. It was there that a consumer decided to purchase the one billionth smartphone to be sold during 2013. To put that number in perspective, it is projected that 227.3 million tablets shipped worldwide during 2013, 158 million television sets, 180.9 million portable PCs and 134.4 million desktop PCs. Meanwhile, figures from market analysts IDC show smartphones also outsold featurephones worldwide for the first time in history during the first quarter of 2013. What this means is that while smartphones now account for more than half of the 418.6 million mobile phones shipped worldwide each quarter, there are still millions of old-fashioned featurephones being sold each year. Especially in the low-end of the market and in emerging economies, that means there’s plenty of extra room for growth in the future – especially at the low-end of the market. Make no mistake about it. The smartphone industry is big – far bigger than the PC or TV business. And it’s only going to get bigger in 2014. 2. Google Android and Samsung: The juggernaut rolls on The biggest winners from the spectacular, ongoing growth of the smartphone market have been Samsung and Google. Last year, smartphones running Google Android outsold Apple. In 2013, that trend morphed into total industry domination. For example, of the 261.1 million smartphones shipped worldwide during the third quarter of 2013, 211.6 million or over 80% ran Google’s Android operating system. That compares to just 33.8 million iPhones, representing around 12.9% of the market, and a measly 3.6% for Windows Phone. Samsung managed to ship 72.4 million smartphones during the second quarter of 2013 alone, representing around 30.4% of the market – more than double Apple’s sales during the same period. Those device sales also mean increased component orders flowing through the various divisions of the South Korean tech conglomerate, which manufactures everything from semiconductors to batteries and smartphone displays. The growing strength of the South Korean electronics behemoth is demonstrated by its advertising and marketing budget, which has been estimated at around $US14 billion worldwide. To put that figure into perspective, as of 2011, North Korea’s entire national economy was estimated to stand at $US12.385 billion. 3. The PC industry bloodbath While Google and Samsung have had a stellar year in 2013, the same certainly can’t be said for the PC industry. The September quarter was the sixth consecutive quarter of falls, according to Gartner, with shipments falling to 80.2 million units for the quarter from 87.8 million a year earlier. Figures released by IDC forecast PC shipments for the full year to fall 9.7% in 2013. More alarmingly, it appears the emerging middle class in China, India and Brazil aren’t keen on buying computers, with total PC shipments in emerging markets expected to drop from 205.2 million to 185 million this year. Australia and New Zealand led the trend, with a massive 21% year-on-year fall in shipments for first quarter in Australia, along with a more astounding 27% fall in New Zealand. The implosion of the PC market was disastrous for a number of PC makers, including Dell, HP and Acer. In August, HP announced a major shake-up of its senior management team after announcing a large 15% year-on-year drop in net earnings and a 22% drop in revenue from consumer devices during its quarterly results. That same month, Dell reported a massive 72% year-on-year collapse in quarterly earnings, while a consortium including founder Michael Dell, Silver Lake Capital and Microsoft successfully fought off high-profile investor Carl Icahn’s bid for control of the company. And at Acer, founder Stan Shih made a surprise return as interim chairman and president, following the resignation of former chief executive JT Wang and president Jim Wong after the company recorded a record third-quarter loss. The resignations came after Acer announced its consolidated revenues for the third-quarter of 2013 fell 11.8% year-on-year to $US3.11 billion, resulting in an operating loss of $US86.6 million. 4. Surface falls flat On top of falling PC sales and 3.6% Windows Phone market share, the news was dire for Microsoft on another front in 2013. Late last year, Microsoft launched its Surface series of tablets as a first step towards making devices, with the company believed to have manufactured around six million units. The release of the Surface instantly made Microsoft a direct competitor to many of its already struggling PC partners, straining relations in the process. Fast forward to July of this year when Microsoft announced a massive $US900 million writedown on its inventory of unsold tablets. The writedown came less than a week after Microsoft announced a large price cut of $US150 for the struggling product line. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft also revealed it has spent $US898 million advertising the tablets, while only generating $US853 million in sales. According to many leading analysts, the company was believed to have sold just 1.7 million of the six million tablets it had built. To put those numbers in perspective, Apple sells around 14.6 million iPads each quarter, while Samsung sells around 8.8 million. 5. Steve Ballmer resigns During the 1990s, Microsoft was undeniably the 800-pound gorilla of the tech industry. Then, in January 2000, founder Bill Gates stood aside as chief executive, in favour of Steve Ballmer, in order to focus on his philanthropic efforts. Since then, the company has lost much of its former dynamism, and has failed to become the dominant player in a range of new technologies that have emerged since then, including search, tablets, smartphones or social media. In August last year, Vanity Fair magazine journalist Kurt Eichenwald ran a feature exploring why Microsoft fell behind its rivals. A management technique called stack ranking was almost universally blamed. “If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, two people were going to get a great review, seven were going to get mediocre reviews, and one was going to get a terrible review,” a former software developer told Eichenwald. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.” Add the low market share for Windows Phone, poor sales of the Surface and the PC industry bloodbath, and it became clear something had to give at Microsoft. In July, the company announced a major management restructure, with the company’s strategy shifting to focus on “devices and services”. Then, just one month later, Ballmer resigned as chief executive, with stack ranking dumped as a management technique soon after. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant is currently searching for his replacement. Story continues on page 2. Please click below. 6. Nokia sold for a song Soon after Ballmer’s resignation, the news was overshadowed by an even bigger story. In September, Microsoft announced it was buying Nokia’s smartphone and devices businesses for $US7.2 billion, with the Finnish telecommunications company retaining its Nokia-Siemens services network equipment business and the Nokia brand name. The deal came after Nokia announced its smartphone sales had slumped 27% year-on-year during the second quarter of 2013, with an overall loss of €115 million ($A190 million) for the quarter. The sales plunge was led by the company’s Windows Phone-based Lumia smartphone unit, where shipments fell 27% from 10.2 million units during the second quarter of 2012 to just 7.4 million for the same quarter in 2013. To put that number into perspective, it was a little over one-tenth the number of smartphones sold by Samsung during the same quarter. It was an inglorious end to a company that absolutely dominated the mobile industry through the 1990s and 2000s. As recently as 2010, when Apple sold 47 million smartphones, Nokia managed to sell 104 million. According to prominent industry analysts, such as former Nokia executive Tomi Ahonen, the fateful moment came in February 2011, when then chief executive Stephen Elop made the decision to switch its smartphones to the Windows Phone operating system. Soon after, a leaked internal letter from Elop known as the “burning platform” memo likened the company’s situation in the mobile phone market to a person standing on a burning oil platform. After the takeover was announced, Elop was named as one of the top contenders for the position of Microsoft chief executive. 7. BlackBerry’s failed comeback and takeover attempt It wasn’t just Nokia that had a tough time in the smartphone market at the hands of Samsung and Google. In January, BlackBerry launched its new, all-touch BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system. The platform, originally scheduled for late 2011, had been delayed by a year, preventing the company launching a flagship phone in 2012. The Australian launch for the first smartphone to run the new platform, the Z10, came in March at a gala event in Sydney hosted by Adam Spencer. A second device using a traditional BlackBerry keyboard, called the Q10, came soon after. While the reviews were generally positive, the new devices failed to be the big comeback success the company’s then-chief executive, Thorsten Heins, had hoped for. By August, the company formed a special five-member panel to examine takeover options after director and Canadian investment guru Prem Watsa quit the board. In its September quarter results, the full carnage was laid bare. The Canadian smartphone maker reported just $US1.6 billion in revenues for the quarter, down 45% year-on-year and 49% quarter-on-quarter. The company also revealed it sold just 3.7 million smartphones for the quarter – and less than half of those ran BlackBerry 10. Total losses came in at $US965 million, including a massive $US934 million inventory writedown against unsold stock of the company’s Z10 smartphone. The company announced more than 4500 staff layoffs, representing nearly 40% of its global workforce, while Heins bought a new private jet. Meanwhile, the company’s rollout of its Messenger app for Android and iOS was frozen due to technical issues with its release. In early November, with banks uncertain of the company’s long-term future, Watsa failed to raise the requisite $4.7 billion for a buyout, instead lending the company $US1 billion. As part of the deal, Heins stood aside as chief executive, replaced by former Sybase chief executive John Chen, with Watsa rejoining the board. Heins received a $US22 million golden parachute for his efforts, significantly less than the $US55.6 million he would have received had the sale gone through. 8. The Twitter IPO Last year, Facebook’s disastrous IPO ended in tears – followed by lawsuits. Thankfully, the outcome was not repeated when its social media rival, Twitter, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in November. After opening at $US26 per share, the company’s share price surged 72.69% in its first trading session. It closed at $US44.90 per share, before dropping slightly to $US44.44 in after-hours trading. Making the result even more amazing was the state of its balance sheet. While the tech giant has revenues of $US534.46 million and around 230 million users worldwide, it has never posted a profit. Despite this, the company now has a market capitalisation north of $US20 billion, with chief executive Dick Costolo claiming the company’s long-term investment strategy has prevented it from chasing profits in the short term. 9. iOS7, iPhones and iPads For Apple, 2013 was a solid if somewhat unspectacular year. In June, the company released a redesigned version of its smartphone and mobile operating system, iOS7, alongside a new version of its Mac OS X desktop operating system, known as Mavericks. It was the year that Apple finally unveiled a low-cost version of its iPhone, known as the iPhone 5c, alongside a new 64-bit flagship smartphone called the iPhone 5s, complete with a 64-bit processor and a fingerprint sensor. Then, in October, the company unveiled a lighter version of its iPad, known as the iPad Air. None of the products had the industry-shaking impact of the unveiling of the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone or iPad. That said, with billions in profits each quarter, a solid second place in the smartphone market and the world’s biggest selling tablet, solid and unspectacular for Apple is better than most companies could dream of. 10. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launch Last, but certainly not least for gamers, 2013 marked the introduction of next generation games consoles from both Sony and Microsoft. Coming a year after Nintendo launched its Wii U system, Sony announced one million first-day sales of its PlayStation 4 system, but the launch was marred by a number of angry consumers taking to social media to complain about non-functional systems. Sony’s first-day sales were soon matched by the first-day sales of Microsoft’s new Xbox One system. So how will the two new devices perform over the long term? We’ll have to wait until next year to find out! This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Earlier today, old Taskmaster read about an ad by Microsoft that has been criticised for attacking Apple. Apparently the folks up in Seattle think putting the latest iPhone in a range of different coloured plastics isn’t particularly innovative. And they’d be right – Apple first offered a selection of different coloured plastics for the original iMac, back in 1998. However, what some of you young’uns might not realise is that there’s nothing new about one tech company directly naming, attacking and mocking its rivals. In fact, attack ads have been a feature of the tech sector for almost as long as they have been used in politics. Back in the 1980s, Commodore founder Jack Tramiel made it a regular feature of his advertising. From William Shatner having a dig at Atari while selling the VIC-20 to a Commodore 64 advert literally chewing out Apple, competitors were regularly named and shamed: During the late 1980s, then videogame giant Sega took Commodore’s attack ads and added ‘blast processing’. Now, whether or not blast processing exists outside a counter-terror squad investigation remains dubious. Nonetheless, Sega claimed to have it and Nintendo didn’t (or should that be Nintendon’t?). Apple is certainly no stranger to this form of advertising either. The first and best known example was the company’s now infamous 1984 ad. That said, even during their weak late 80s and early 90s period, the attacks continued: And then there’s the company’s Mac and PC ads: Like most things, Samsung has taken this concept off Apple and then begun churning out variations like sausages. Here’s one recent example: So, like many things in the computer industry, the attack ad was first developed by a company like Commodore, was quickly followed by Apple, was mass-produced by Samsung, and then Microsoft eventually had a go. And the big problem with their ad? Compared to the other examples, it’s a bit boring: The moral of the story is simple. If you want to make an ad (or YouTube clip) attacking your rivals, go for it. Just make it interesting. Even if you have to make up a phrase like ‘blast processing’ to do it! Get it done – today!
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a publicly owned monopoly known as Telecom Australia. It was an institution built on the age-old principles of bureaucracy, gold-plated waste and designing new products in committee meetings. In this bygone era, this great publicly-owned monolithic bureaucracy noticed that a few leading typewriter brands, such as IBM and Commodore, along with a new start-up called Apple, were beginning to produce a new kind of office appliance called the ‘microcomputer’. These strange boxes – later known as IBM compatibles and then desktop PCs – were appearing on offices desks across the land. The wise bureaucrats of Telecom said “me too!” There was a slight catch, however. While they were allowed to sell (or, more precisely, lease) telephones, selling computers went way beyond their charter. Fortunately, there was nothing preventing them from selling a phone which happened to also have a whole desktop computer in the same box. So the Telecom Computerphone was born. (For those of you who think Old Taskmaster is spinning a yarn and no bureaucracy would have been dumb enough to actually build such an abomination, click here for a photo.) So in the mid ‘80s, Telecom, in partnership with British mainframe-company ICL and Sinclair (maker of the ZX Spectrum), were shipping these computers – I mean phones – off to the antipodes. Internationally, they were marketed as the “One Per Desk” and the “Merlin Tonto” (“tonto” being a Spanish word roughly translating as “stupid”). Now, clearly there is a market for devices combining computers and telephones. After all, if you have a smartphone in your pocket or bag, you own a device that effectively does just that. In fact, you could say the concept was visionary – 20 years ahead of its time. But it wasn’t the concept so much as the execution that killed this beast. You see, instead of using DOS like most computers of the day, some bright spark in a meeting decided to develop a new operating system from scratch so dumb office workers could easily find the app or file they needed by looking through menus. Unfortunately for both of the people who bought one, this meant the boxes weren’t IBM compatible. Or Apple compatible. Or Commodore compatible. Or even compatible with the Sinclair computers they were based on. In fact, it was compatible with no other computer built before or since. Aside from a few built-in productivity apps, those easy to use menus had no other apps to choose from! Oh, and instead of having a floppy disk drive to store files on, like most computers of the day, the Computerphone saved its files on 8-track cassettes. As in the kind that used to get their tape jammed in the 8-track players of 1970s cars, except on a miniature scale. This meant you couldn’t save a file and then stick it in the disk drive of the IBM PC or Apple on the next desk. Meanwhile, the miniature size of these cassettes meant you couldn’t even record the Eagles over them and play them in the 8-track player of your dad’s old 1973 Holden Monaro. As for the phone itself, the phone handset itself was the width of a computer keyboard, making its size perfect for any oompa loompa in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory who needed to make a business call. While the underlying concept was innovative and arguably well ahead of its time, it will probably come as no great surprise to anyone (except for Telecom’s senior bureaucrats of the day) that a computer with no programs will generate next to no sales. So do you have an innovative idea for a new technology or business model? Make sure you plan its execution as well as the basic concept – or else you could end up with a tonto (or should that be a “Tonto”) product. Get it done – today!
Tech giant Apple has revealed it sold 33.8 million iPhones last quarter, overall revenue at $US37.5 billion, beating analysts’ forecasts of $US36.8 billion. The company also revealed it sold 14.1 million iPads for the quarter – up slightly from 14 million for the same quarter last year – and 4.6 million Macs, down from 4.9 million a year earlier. The company also expects a strong Christmas, with projected revenues of $US55 billion to $58 billion for the December quarter. Treasury Wine Estates set to face class action over US results Litigation funder IMF has announced it will fund a class action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders of Australian wine giant Treasury Wine Estates over the poor performance of its US wineries between August last year and July this year. “Shareholders who purchased shares in Treasury Wines during the Period may be eligible to participate in the claim, which IMF will fund subject to the specific factors set out in the funding documentation, including a level of participation acceptable to IMF,” IMF says in a statement. For its part, TWE issued a statement denying IMF’s allegations, which include misleading and deceptive conduct, and alleged breaches of continuous disclosure obligations. “TWE strongly denies any allegations of wrong doing and will defend any class action proceedings vigorously,” it states. Bendigo Bank to take aim at big four in financial services inquiry Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director Mike Hirst has announced the regional lender will urge the federal government to create a “level playing field” for smaller players in its submission to the forthcoming financial services inquiry. “I think people often misconstrue the nature of the concentrated nature of Australia's financial sector as being anti-competitive,” Hirst says. “I can assure you the market is very competitive. What we don't have, however, is an even playing field that promotes customer choice. Size is a powerful ally in any endeavour. In banking in Australia it provides larger players with funding and regulatory advantages that ultimately restrict consumer choice. That needs to be put under a microscope.” Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.01% to 15568.93. The Aussie dollar is at US95.73 cents.
When it comes to smartphones, there’s a whole heap of jargon. Quad-core processors? AMOLED displays? Android or iOS? If you’re not a techie, it can be tough to make sense of it all. So here’s a layman’s guide to some of the mobile mumbo jumbo you’ve always wondered about, but been too afraid to ask. (Before we get started a note to the techie uber-geeks reading this. Old Taskmaster is completely aware some of these points are gross oversimplifications, that your early-90s BeBox had more than one processor or that I didn’t bother to mention MeeGo. No need for snarky comments. This is intended as a layman’s guide, so sue me!) What exactly do iOS, Android and Windows Phone do? A good, simple way of thinking about your mobile phone is as a pocket-sized computer that can also make calls. On most computers, there’s a piece of system software, called an operating system that basically manages the relationship between a computer’s hardware and the programs that run on it. In the computer world, most PCs use Windows or Linux, while Apple Macs use Mac OSX. Operating systems like iOS, Android and Windows Phone basically do the same thing, except they’re designed to work on a smartphone. If you run an iPhone, you run Apple’s iOS. If you run a recent Nokia, it almost certainly uses Windows Phone. Pretty much everything else – most notably Samsung Galaxy smartphones – use Android. So why do Androids come in Cupcake, Ice Cream Sandwich or JellyBean? Each major version of Android is code-named after a dessert. The first letter of each dessert goes up in alphabetical order. So you’ve had Android Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean. Why? Basically, because Google thinks ‘Android Gingerbread’ sounds cuter than ‘Android Build G’. What are the most recent versions of the major smartphone operating systems? The current version of Android is 4.2/4.3 Jellybean, although Google has announced Android 4.4 KitKat is coming soon. As fairly well publicised by their recent announcement, the latest version of Apple’s iOS is iOS 7. Windows is up to Windows Phone 8, although 8.1 is just around the corner. Finally, BlackBerry is up to BlackBerry 10.2. Given their current business status, Old Taskmaster wouldn’t bet on 10.3. LCD or AMOLED? LCD (of various descriptions) and AMOLED are the two common technologies you’ll find powering smartphone screens. An LCD (liquid crystal display) display is made up of thousands of tiny liquid crystals that modulate light to achieve a desired colour. The light itself is either provided through backlights or through a reflective back panel on the display. AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) displays are made of a thin film of organic material that lights up when charged by an electric current. The charge that makes different parts of the screen light up is provided by a thin-film transistor that sits behind the organic material. Which is better? LCD is the more mature technology of the two. Generally speaking, LCD will be clearer at different viewing angles and produce more realistic colours, but is less good at contrast. AMOLED colours are brighter, have better contrast and (because they don’t need to be backlit) generally use less power. Traditionally, they are less viewable in direct sunlight. What’s this resolution business? Whether your display is LCD or AMOLED, the number of pixels or dots of colour per square inch of screen size determine how clear your image is. In the past, Windows PCs used 96 points per inch, while Apple Macs used 72. The usual standard for the printing industry is 300 dots per inch. By comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 displays 441 pixels per inch. Dual-core? Quad-core? Octo-core? What-the-core? Historically, most computers were built around a single processor – called the CPU (central processing unit) – that computer programs ran on. One processor core, one chip, one computer. These days, most smartphones have more than one of these processor cores on a single physical computer chip, and these are known as multi-core processors. In effect, it’s like having two or four computer CPUs on your phone, except they’ve been shrunk down to fit on a single piece of silicon. Most current smartphones use a quad-core processor, although some older ones use a dual-core processor, while octo-core processors are beginning to be offered on some newer models. How is the processor in my smartphone different to the one in my computer? If you open up your PC or Mac, you’ll probably find it’s built around an Intel processor. The ancestor of this chip was the 8088 and 8086 chips in the very first IBM PCs. Over the past couple of decades, the design of these chips has been optimised for maximise performance, often at the expense of using more power. In contrast, the processor in your smartphone is most likely an ARM chip. Its great ancestor first appeared in a 1985 accelerator card add-on for the BBC Micro B. (Yes, the BBC Micro B is a distant relative of your smartphone!) Acorn’s Archimedes and Apple’s Newtons used this series of chips, too. Because they’ve spent most of the past 20 years being used in mobile devices, they’ve been optimised for battery life as well as performance. But my smartphone processor is built by Qualcomm/Nvidia/Samsung? ARM comes up with the basic designs for its processors. It then licenses them to a range of other chip companies, including Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung and Apple. In turn, these companies don’t usually make chips, they just market them. The chips themselves are manufactured by companies with chip manufacturing plants (foundries), including TSMC and Samsung. SNS integration? It stands for Social Network Service. It’s a fancy, jargony way of saying this phone has an app or hub that pulls your social media messages into one place. Over to you Are there any other bits of smartphone jargon you’ve heard but have been too afraid to ask about? If so, leave your question in the comments below! Mobile and mobile commerce is an increasingly critical part of every business. If there’s some piece of mobile mumbo jumbo you don’t understand, make sure you get it cleared up! Get it done – today!
Apple fulfilled all expectations last night when the company debuted two new versions of the iPhone, including a high-end model with a fingerprint scanner and a lower-cost, plastic version in a variety of colours – both of which are set to be released in Australia on September 20. But despite the release of a model which could help the company recover stronger growth rates in the potentially lucrative Asian and South American markets, the company’s shares dropped over 2%. Investors are most likely disappointed in the lack of a surprise at the event, given Samsung’s recent debut of a smartwatch – a category in which Apple is said to be experimenting. The colourful 5C Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller showed off the long-awaited lower-cost 5C model last night. Internally, the model is similar to the iPhone 5, with better battery life and one key difference – it’s built of plastic instead of aluminium. "The business has become so large," chief executive Tim Cook said. "We're going to replace it with not one, but two new designs." Marketing chief Phil Schiller said the gadget was “made with all the incredible tech that customers love with iPhone 5”, and even addressed the fact the design was leaked online before the event. The 5C is essentially replacing the iPhone 5, which will be discontinued. “It has an incredible new design – one that's more fun, and more colourful than anything we've made before,” Schiller said. In a call-back to the iMacs of the late 1990s, the device comes in five different colours – green, white, blue, red and yellow. Most importantly, the device is built with plastic. In fact, design chief Jony Ive said the phone was “unapologetically plastic”. “It's simpler, more essential, more capable and more colorful,” he said. The advanced 5S Apple also debuted the next version of the iPhone line-up, the 5S. This model is the next generation of the iPhone, replacing the iPhone 5 as the current premium version on the market. The device appears the same as the iPhone 5, but the guts are completely new, with a faster A7 chip that Apple claims will boost the device’s speed by 100%. But more importantly, the iPhone 5S features fingerprint scanning technology. Users take advantage of the scanner, fitted under the home button, in order to unlock their phones, make purchases and confirm other actions on the device. "We have so much of our personal data on these devices, and they are with us almost every place we go, so we have to protect them," Schiller said last night. The technology, called Touch ID, is built right into the home button, although third-party developers won’t be able to access the technology for now. In addressing privacy concerns, Apple said a user’s fingerprint won’t be sent to any cloud-based server. Instead, they will remain lodged on the local device – although whether users will accept that explanation remains to be seen. The device features the same 4-inch Retina display in the iPhone 5, along with an improved 8 megapixel camera. The new camera also features the ability to shoot slow-motion video, and a burst-photographic mode. The iPhone camera is regarded as one of the best in the industry – continued advancements will ensure the company remains on top in that regard. Pricing Apple has released pricing for both new iPhone models, although mobile carriers have yet to reveal their own plans, which will likely be cheaper as they often include no up-front costs. iPhone 5C 16GB - $739 32GB - $869 iPhone 5S 16GB - $869 32GB - $999 64GB - $1,129 Early perceptions of the devices have been positive, although analysts question whether Apple has enough traction in the new devices to make a break into potentially lucrative developing countries. Apple also said the new iOS software, iOS 7, would be available on September 18. This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
The software industry has taken a leap for joy this morning after the New Zealand government announced it would abolish certain software patents – and local experts say we should follow suit. The abolition of software patents is a long-running issue in the developer community. Although traditionally used to protect copyright, critics say patents have become so general and broad they are effectively useless. Now, major companies such as Samsung and Apple have used patents as tools in litigation to win royalties – leading to the creation of entire entities dedicated to buying patents and suing for profits. “There is no doubt the current patent system is antiquated,” the chief executive of incubator Pollenizer, Mick Liubinskas, told SmartCompany this morning. The New Zealand government passed a bill to ban software patents this week, with the vast majority of MPs in favour of the motion. In a release, commerce minister Craig Foss says the bill marks a “significant step towards driving innovation in New Zealand”. Critics of the patent system say they stop companies from developing new projects based on other ideas that should essentially be taken as very basic innovations. Liubinskas says it’s time the Australian government investigated making a similar motion. “If you manage intellectual property protection the right way – and not through patent protection – you can do a lot to really drive innovation,” he says. “It comes back to the question of whether we want to put entrepreneurs first. How much do we want to drive entrepreneurial innovation? Do we want to put our foot down and be a world leader in this area?” In New Zealand, the Institute of IT Professionals says the patent system doesn’t work for software, because it is “almost impossible for genuine technology companies to create new software without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents that exist”. This is the main problem cited regarding patent infringement in the United States, where major companies including Apple, Microsoft and others have applied for patents that are extremely general. For example, last year Apple filed a patent application on a graphical user interface that can “display electronic lists and documents”. “Apple’s patent covers UI modules covering blogging, email, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps and more importantly, a multi-touch interface.” Liubinskas says for entrepreneurs to do their best work, they need freedom – which is why the system needs to be changed. “We’ve incremented to ugliness, and so the only way we can actually get anything done is to blow the whole thing up.” This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Apple’s attempt to trademark the term “startup” in Australia has outraged members of the local start-up community. Scott Handsaker, founder and chief executive of Attendly and community group Startup Victoria, told StartupSmart Apple’s move risked putting developers offside and driving business to its increasingly formidable competitors. "It's such a disappointing move from Apple to attempt to trademark a word that is in common usage amongst the entrepreneurial community,” Handsaker says. “At a time when Apple is being attacked on all fronts by rapidly moving competitors, retaining the good faith of the developer community is an important competitive advantage. This cannot help with that surely." Handsaker added the community was keen to understand why Apple wanted the trademark anyway. “It is hard to imagine how it could be of benefit to them, as no-one thinks Apple is a `startup’ anymore. It feels like someone from the Apple marketing department is playing a bad game of word association,” he says. Peta Ellis, general manager of Brisbane-based start-up hub River City Labs, says the trademark application was probably filed to enable Apple to take action against knock-off Apple stores in preparation for the launch of the next iPhone. “From what I can understand, it’s been applied for to beat knock off stores in preparation for the launch of the new iPhone, which makes sense,” Ellis says. “If it does become a blanket trademark, it would be very detrimental to the start-up ecosystem, and a real hindrance if we couldn’t use our word.” According to Ellis, as the term is so widely used, a blanket trademark and consequent ban would be difficult to pull off. “As long as we can keep using the word, I think we’ll be fine. Startup the word is such a widely used term for different areas of business,” Ellis says. She adds River City Labs hasn’t reached a decision on whether they’ll oppose the trademark application if it passes examination. “We’re going to wait and see how it goes, and how it plays out. If it’s not a trademark on the blanket use, I don’t think we’d oppose it,” Ellis says. Baker & McKenzie, the law firm which filed the trademark application for Apple, told StartupSmart it had no comment at this time.
Apple has lodged a trademark application for the term “startup” in Australia. The application covers a wide range of usage. Apple lodged a similar, unsuccessful claim in Australia in 2011. Here is a screenshot of the application: A spokesperson from IP Australia, the body that administers Australia’s intellectual property rules, says if the application passes the examination phase, and isn’t successfully opposed, the term could become officially protected after seven-and-a-half months. “It won’t be officially protected for at least seven and a half months. If it is accepted, there is a chance to oppose, although it is only a two month window from the date the application is accepted,” the spokesperson told StartupSmart. Brian Goldberg, an intellectual property lawyer at Premier IP Ventures, told StartupSmart there was a possibility Apple may successfully pass the examination phase if they have used the term enough. “With significant usage, there is a possibility it will pass the examination phase,” Goldberg says. “From the date the trademark is registered (after the opposition period), then using the word `start-up’ as a prominent branding feature will be restricted and prevented by Apple.” If Apple passes the examination phase, Goldberg says anyone can oppose the application within a two month period. “Anyone that feels they don’t want this mark to become registered in Australia for these services can oppose this,” Goldberg says. He says it’s likely that if Apple is successful, they will be proactive in enforcing their trademark. “Based on Apple’s past behaviour with trademarks, especially for any version of the ‘i’ mark, they will strongly enforce their position.” “In Australia there is a two-tier system, one is common law rights and the other is trademark rights. So if you’re already using ‘startup’ as your brand, and you’re not infringing someone else’s trademark, then you should have rights to at least co-exist.” Goldberg adds people keen to oppose the trademark application will need to focus on meeting the opposition terms. “From a technical point of view, any one person can oppose, and there are criteria on which you oppose, and that can be enough. If it came from several different fronts, that would enhance the likelihood of the opposition being successful if they meet the terms.” Apple’s Australian lawyers were not able to be immediately reached for comment.
If you’re a keen Mac user then you’d know Apple just released the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion and there are a few key improvements. For instance, you can set up your Mac to automatically download updates. To do so, head to the System Preferences app, and then into the Software Update panel. There, you can check the box for both automatically checking for updates and downloading newly available updates in the background. You can also perform a manual check for updates in the same panel.
Apple has announced changes to its affiliate program, saying the changes will give Australian app affiliates better international reach, but they will now require new accounts. The program pays a small commission to affiliates that direct users to Apple platforms. Affiliates receive a cut of the total sales from digital content, including apps, books and music, purchased by the user on the platform. The affiliate program is a popular way for bloggers to generate funds, and developers and content creators to market their wares. Apple previously supported four networks, but has consolidated its offering to two platforms with a wider international reach. Performance Horizon Group (PHG) will now manage Australian accounts, as well as the US, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey the Middle East and much of Asia. Australia and New Zealand affiliates were previously managed by the dgm network. Anyone based in these countries and using the newly consolidated PHG network will need to update their links before October 1, 2013, when all links will be updated. In a statement on their website, Apple said: “We're introducing a new affiliate platform partner, PHG, which will support the Affiliate Program's expansion to more countries and provide improved reporting tools. If you are currently participating in the Affiliate Program in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand, you will now be supported by this new platform. To continue earning commissions without interruption, set up a new affiliate account and update all existing links by October 1, 2013.” Tradedoubler will manage European and South American accounts. Affiliates based in these regions will not need to update their links.
Back when Apple released the iPad 2, it included a new SmartCover that clipped on to the side of the device with magnets. The best part of the invention was the ability for the cover to actually turn the iPad screen off. But sometimes you may want to change that feature. There’s a simple setting to turn it off or on. Head to the Settings app, then to “general” and on the side of the screen you’ll see the ability to turn the cover lock either off or on.
A fashion retailer in Perth is battling it out with UK retail giant Arcadia Group, ahead of the expected launch of the UK Topshop brand in the city, Fairfax reports. The retailer, Robyn Swayn, owns a business called Topshop Fashions, and reportedly has an application against the fast-fashion empire to prevent them from trademarking the name in Perth. "I've got a valid application against them at the moment because I actually run Topshop Fashions, which is a retail ladies clothing store, and it's been trading in Perth for 36 years under Topshop Fashions," she told Fairfax. Swayn is reportedly seeking compensation for the impact the name similarity will have on her business. She wants compensation to facilitate a name change, such as new signage and advertising, as well as compensation for the goodwill to change her business name. The issue of name trademarks is common, but one which SMEs can caution against or fight if necessary. Patent attorney John Carroll of Callinans told SmartCompany this morning that if you are establishing a new business, you should check the trademark registrations and applications in the jurisdiction. “Check ASIC for records of companies and business names…but remember that the existence of a name does not create the right to own it, it is about how it is used,” he says. Carroll says geography plays a huge part in trademark cases, particularly if a business is coming into your area with a similar name. “If the company comes into your jurisdiction, you will need at least some reputation (to fight it)”, he says. Carroll says in the case of Topshop Fashions, the fact that the business name has existed for 36 years will play a key part in demonstrating reputation. “The issue is now even more complicated by the internet, as companies in the UK may wish to sell to Australia, and in doing so, may sell products or a brand that is trademarked in Australia.” He says if a company does come into your area, and wants you to change your name, you can seek compensation for the act of goodwill in changing it. Other notable trademark battles include the young Sydney fashion designer Katie Perry, who faced a battle from pop star Katy Perry over the use of the similar name, while a small business won the right to apply for a trademark containing the letter “i” against technology giant Apple, which fiercely protects its trademark. This story first appeared on SmartCompany.