Another Apple Exec Gets Booted For Maps Kerfuffle

In today’s mobile news roundup: Maps execs fired by Apple; Microsoft to deliver OTA update to resolve rebooting issue; RIM’s arbitration backfires; ASUS delays Taichi delivery; and Mobile cranks up online shopping on Cyber Monday.

Maps execs fired by Apple

A number of iOS 6 users were pretty irritated when they first tried Apple’s new Maps app, bumping the beloved Google’s Maps for their own.  But the irritation was somehow alleviated when Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the kerfuffle.  But maybe he’s not the one who should’ve issued an apology, but instead the people behind the technology should’ve done more to console Apple users.  Some from the Maps software team included Scott Forstall and Richard Williamson, but they refused to sign any Apple documents that demonstrated an apology on their part.  And so they got the boot.

Forstall was ousted late October for refusing to sign the apology letter they issued, thus Cook was the one to sign it.  When Forstall got fired, Senior Vice President Eddy Cue took over Maps and according to reports, has asked Williamson to leave.  Cue is said to be forming a team to takeover Maps, seeking third party help to fix their ongoing software issues.

Microsoft to deliver OTA update to resolve rebooting issue

Earlier this month, some HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 920 users reported that their devices spontaneously reboot for no apparent reason.  The users were advised to reboot their devices without a SIM, then again with the SIM in place, which some reported to have solved the problem.  But to address the general concern, Microsoft is said to be delivering an over-the-air update next month for Windows Phone 8 users to finally put the rebooting problem to rest.

“We’re continuing to investigate some reports of phones rebooting and have identified a cause with our partners,” Microsoft said. “We are working to get an over-the-air update out in December.”

Though Microsoft acknowledged the problem, they did not disclose information as to what Windows Phone 8 handsets were affected and what’s actually causing the devices to reboot spontaneously.

In other Microsoft news, the software giant is said to be making their own smartphone as they’ve signed a contract with Foxconn – the company that helps Apple produce their iDevices.  The thing is, the source, Digitimes, has a history of reporting rumors, rather than facts.  So don’t get your hopes up too high.

RIM’s arbitration backfires

In 2003, Research in Motion and Nokia entered in a cross-licensing agreement for standards essential cellular patents.  The agreement was amended in 2008, but in 2011 RIM sought arbitration, arguing that the agreement goes beyond cellular essentials.  Which means, the Canadian company was using  Nokia patents not included in the agreement.  Of course Nokia wasn’t happy with that, and the arbitration tribunal sided with the Finnish company stating that RIM was in breach of contract.

The tribunal stated that RIM is “not entitled to manufacture or sell products compatible with the WLAN standard” until it has agreed to pay royalties to Nokia.  To enforce the arbitration handed down by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Nokia has filed cases in the US, UK and Canada.  The arbitration also declares a sales ban on the affected RIM products if they do not pay for royalties.

ASUS delays Taichi delivery

At this year’s Computex trade show, Asus unveiled Taichi, a dual screen hybrid laptop that runs Windows 8.  It was supposed to start shipping in November after Microsoft’s official launch of Windows 8 in October.  An Asus spokeswoman stated that those who already pre-ordered their device from Amazon, Newegg and TigerDirect, can expect to have it by December but there’s a possibility that the delay could be pushed back even further.  ASUS has yet to issue a statement regarding the cause of the delay.

Taichi features two 11.6-inch touchscreens with a 1920-by-1080-pixel screen resolution, 4GB of RAM, 5MP camera, WiFi, Bluetooth, two USB 3.0 ports, and a full keyboard.  It is available in two versions: Taichi 21 DH51 which has an Intel Core i5 processor and 128GB solid-state drive storage, and priced at $1299 on, Newegg and TigerDirect; and the Taichi 21 DH71 that comes with an Intel Core i7 processor and 256GB SSD storage, priced at $1299 on (price has now been withdrawn) and at $1599 on Newegg and TigerDirect.

Mobile cranks up online shopping on Cyber Monday

E-commerce website, Etsy, happily announced that they’ve completed more sales this year than any other time in their 7-year run.  And a third of their success is because of mobile users.  About a third of the mobile users were on tablets.

Etsy also reported that overall sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased more than 80 percent year-over-year, and that first-time buyers increased by more than 90 percent compared to 2011.

This just goes to show that mobile commerce and social commerce are two different entities, though they used to be considered as one.  The implications are simple: people on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are more likely to buy things on sites like Etsy compared to Facebook or Twitter.  Since people are always on the move, they can buy anything they want on their mobile device directly on the shop’s site compared to browsing feeds on Facebook or checking out sites that their friends recommended.