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25 May 12 Google didn’t infringe on Oracle patents, jury rules

A federal jury ruled Wednesday that Google didn’t infringe on Oracle’s patents when the Internet search leader developed its popular Android software for mobile devices.

Wednesday’s verdict comes about two weeks after the same jury, with two additional members, failed to agree on a pivotal issue in Oracle’s copyright-infringement case against Google. As a result, Google Inc. faced maximum damages of only $150,000 – not the hundreds of millions of dollars that Oracle Corp. was seeking.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the jury, skipping the damages phase that had been originally scheduled. Had Oracle been able to pursue damages, confidential documents detailing how much money Google makes from its Android software might have become public.

The outcome ends, for now, a showdown pitting two Silicon Valley titans in a courtroom duel that brought Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page to the witness stand during the 5 1/2-week trial.


TECH TRIAL OF THE CENTURY: Oracle has accused Google of patent infringement over Google’s Android, the mobile OS that now powers more than 300 million smartphones and tablets.

Jan. 27, 2010: Oracle closes deal to buy Sun Microsystems, gets the Java programming language.

Aug. 12: Oracle sues Google in U.S. District Court, says Android infringes on Java.

Sept. 12, 2011: Company CEOs are ordered to attend mediation to settle the lawsuit.

March 27, 2012: In a joint statement, companies say they are hundreds of millions of dollars apart.

April 16: Trial begins. Oracle says Google knew they stole a key piece of tech.

April 17: Google’s opening statements frame the case as Oracle’s response to its own failure to build mobile software.

April 18: Google’s Larry Page returns to the witness stand, looking uncomfortable as he deflected questions about his role. 

May 1: Lawyers make closing arguments on the copyright issues. Judge sends case to jury for deliberation.

May 7: In a partial verdict, the jury found that Google infringed on the largest of Oracle’s claims, but it couldn’t agree on whether Google’s use was legally protected “fair use.

In vindicating Google, the jury delivered a humbling setback to Oracle. The world’s leading maker of database software had accused Google of building Android around Oracle’s copyrighted and patented Java programming system. Oracle inherited the rights to Java in a $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010.

During the copyright phase of the trial, the jury ruled against Google on a key question related to Java’s “application programming interfaces,” or APIs, that provide the blueprints for making much of the software work effectively. Although the jury found that Google infringed on those APIs, it reached an impasse on whether Google was covered under “fair use” protections in U.S. law. The lack of a fair-use determination hobbled Oracle’s ability to extract huge sums from Google.

The jury found that Android infringed on nine lines of Java coding, but the penalty for that violation is confined to statutory damages no higher than $150,000.

In the second phase of the trial, the jury considered Oracle’s allegations that Android violated two Java patents. The jury said Wednesday that Google had violated neither. The patent case was considered to be worth far less to Oracle than the allegations of copyright infringement.

In a statement, Google said Wednesday’s verdict “was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem.” Oracle countered with a statement asserting it had “presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java.” Oracle didn’t say whether it intended to appeal the jury’s verdict.

Although Alsup dismissed the jury, the case still has a few potential twists.

Google has filed for a mistrial on the API ruling. Google argues that the law doesn’t allow an infringement finding if the fair use question isn’t answered. If mistrial is granted, the allegations could be re-examined by a new jury.

Alsup also will rule on whether the law even allows APIs to be copyrighted – an issue being closely watched by computer programmers. If Alsup finds APIs can be copyrighted, Oracle could still pursue a portion of Google’s Android profits, but obtaining a large award might still be difficult as long as the fair-use question is unresolved.

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24 May 12 Google Android, Windows Malware Skyrockets in Q1: McAfee Report

Mobile malware targeting Google Android devices exploded in the first few months of 2012, according to a new report from McAfee.

Nearly 7,000 Android threats were identified and collected through the end of the 2012 first quarter, according to McAfee’s threat report.

This represents a more than 1,200 percent increase when compared with the 600 Android samples identified by the company by the end of 2011. The majority of these threats originate from third-party app stores as opposed to Google Play, the security firm said.

“I’d definitely steer clear of any third-party sites providing Android apps,” said Adam Wosotowsky, messaging data architect at McAfee Labs.

“The Android marketplace is open to anyone who wants to put their app on it unless that app doesn’t pass Google’s multi-layered quality checks. So you obviously wouldn’t want an app that couldn’t be put onto Android’s marketplace and I can’t think of any good reasons why a developer would say that they don’t want their app on the android marketplace but want it on third-party sites,” Wosotowsky said.

Malware targeting Windows PCs jumped as well, reaching the highest level detected in a single quarter in four years, according to the firm. In the fourth quarter of 2011, McAfee Labs had collected more than 75 million malware samples.

In the first quarter of 2012, the company detected 83 million pieces. Driving that increase was a bump in the number of rootkits and password stealers, with the latter reaching approximately 1 million samples. The main medium for propagating highly targeted attacks is email, with nearly all targeted attacks beginning with a spear phishing message.

Earlier this year, Google announced it was improving security for Android’s app marketplace with a malware detection system nicknamed “Bouncer,” which analyzes new applications before they are sold in the market to see if they contain known malware.

Financial profit is the main motivator for mobile malware, according to McAfee. Overall, 8,000 total mobile malware samples were collected during the quarter.

Though Mac malware was in the news during the past two months due to growth of the Flashback Trojan, the amount of Mac malware is still relatively tiny. According to McAfee, roughly 250 new Mac malware samples were detected in the quarter.

The botnet business continues to thrive, though global spam levels dropped to approximately 1 trillion monthly spam messages by the end of March. Decreases were the most significant in Brazil, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia, while China, Germany, Spain, Poland and the U.K. saw increases.

Botnet growth increased in the first quarter, reaching nearly five million infections at its highest point. Columbia, Japan, Poland, Spain, and the United States were the areas with the largest increase in botnet activity, while Indonesia, Portugal and South Korea were regions that continued to decline. The most prevalent botnet during the quarter was Cutwail, with more than two million new infections.

The United States was found to host most botnet control servers and is the location point for the vast majority of new malicious Websites, with an average of 9,300 new bad sites recorded each day. The United States was also the primary source of SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks during the quarter, and had the highest number of victims of both kinds of attacks, the report stated.

“In the first quarter of 2012, we have already detected eight million new malware samples, showing that malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, in a statement.

“The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile and Mac; and as more homes and businesses use these platforms the attacks will spread, which is why all users, no matter their platforms, should take security and online safety precautions,” Weafer’s statement said.

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24 May 12 Android doesn’t infringe Oracle’s patents, says jury

SAN FRANCISCO–A jury today unanimously decided that Google did not infringe on two of Oracle’s patents.

In the decision at the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the jury in the trial said Google did not infringe on six claims in U.S. Patent No. RE38,104 as well as two claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,061,520.

The verdict is a win for Google, and marks the end of the trial’s second phase, which focused on the claims of patent infringement. Closing arguments in the case were made last week. After the decision, a third phase–centering on damages–was canceled.


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20 May 12 Are Android Tablets Dead?

First quarter numbers from IDC showed that Android tablet shipments declined in Q1-12 from Q4-11, while Apple cruised ahead, reasserting dominance of the tablet market. Looking a bit deeper, we see that Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, a deviation from Google Android, is becoming dominant, and all the tablets from Samsung, Moto/Google, and other mainstream CE and PC manufacturers are losing share. This looks like a disaster for Android.

Android Tablet Market Share: Dec-11 to Feb-12; Data via Comscore.

It is a disaster for Google’s Android tablet strategy, which seems to boil down to producing a better product with much the same value proposition as Apple’s iPad. The high-end Android tablets that are positioned right against the iPad (Moto Xoom, Samsung GalaxyTablet) are losing ground. Asus, Acer, and Toshiba, which have more of a value strategy, are hanging on. The others have failed to make a mark.

However, Amazon has created a whole new market with the Kindle: defined by simpler hardware and software, $200 price point, and linkage to the Amazon content platform and brand.

There’s more to this market than the Comscore numbers show, because Comscore does not consider Barnes Noble’s Nook to be a tablet, although it’s functionality is similar to the Kindle. Other sources indicate that Nook sales are a large fraction of Kindle sales.

And, the lower-priced market is seasonal (more of a gift market) than the iPad. Analysts expected a Q1 dip in sales; it does not indicate that the category is going away.

Most important, there is a wave of competing tablets coming at the sub-$200 price point. Amazon has shown that there is demand for this class of product. The open source code for Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich) was released in late 2011. OEMs are working hard to launch new sub-$200 products based on the new OS. This produced a pause in Q1 and Q2 but will bring forth a surge of new offerings in the summer. A new wave of Chinese ODMs and CPU chip companies are entering the market with cost structures that are lower than the Taiwanese and Korean OEMs and ODMs who produce the bulk of products in the market today. They will offer products that retailers can sell well below $200 with a normal margin.

And, Amazon has created an app store and content services that many of these products will use. Amazon is, after all, primarily a content company; the Kindle is a platform for selling content. Google/Android has limited access to its content platform (“GMS” = Google Mobile Services) to a select few OEMs, the ones losing share in the chart above, in its attempt to raise the quality of Android products and directly attack Apple. This held the second tier Android OEMs back, until now.

I’m disappointed that Android tablets are not having more success in the enterprise. I expected that the highly functional and open Android OS would attract developers to build enterprise applications. This has not happened yet, and Apple has done a great job in this segment.

But, don’t count Android tablets out. A wave of new, lower-priced products are coming for the fall selling season, and the game in the enterprise is far from over.

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14 May 12 Apple vs. Google: iOS Trumps Android in Enterprise Activity

New iPad(L) and iPhone(Photo: Apple | Mobile Apps)

According to a new study, the first quarter of 2012 has seen a dramatic shift of consumerization trends in the enterprise sector. Mobile devices running Apple’s iOS showed more activity in the workplace than their Google Android counterparts, and end users migrated from Facebook toward Twitter.

Zscaler TreatlabZ, the research arm of SaaS security provider Zscaler, has recently released a report with data based on more than 200 billion first-quarter transactions in its cloud, which serves the enterprise sector. According to Zscaler TreatlabZ senior security researcher Mike Geide, a transaction occurs each time a file is accessed from a Web server.

The data recently released by Zscaler shows transactions originating from Apple’s iOS devices increased considerably over the quarter, with more than 50 percent of mobile activity. Meanwhile, transactions from Google’s Android devices dropped to 37 percent by the end of March. Android held the lead for most of 2011, then in December Android and iOS devices stood in line, nearly equal at 47 percent of transactions among Zscaler’s enterprise customers, said Geide. BlackBerry devices dropped from roughly 18 percent of January transactions to about 15 percent by the end of March.

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This growth in transactions may be partly attributed to increasing consumer use of Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads. According to Geide, many Zscaler customers set up guest wireless networks, as increasingly more companies seek to prevent personal devices from draining their networks or presenting security risks. Geide further added that employees are more likely to connect to such guests networks for personal transactions. “You don’t want to be using your 3G connection to stream Pandora on your iPhone because you’re going to be eating a lot of bandwidth and paying Verizon a ton of money,” said Geide, as cited by TechWorld.

Other research has shown that iPhone users are generally more active on their smartphones than those using Android devices. According to data from online analytics firm Chitika, which monitors smartphone-specific activity on its advertising network, iPhone users generated 67 percent of mobile traffic, while Android users accounted for just 28.7 percent.

(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Dave Clark)

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04 May 12 Report: Android a Loss Leader for Google in 2010

Google’s Android operating system may be one of the great success stories in tech, but the search giant apparently lost money with its mobile platform in 2010, according to Reuters.

The company’s “big loss” for Android several years ago was revealed by a federal judge overseeing a jury trial between Google and Oracle over the use of Java software code to create the Linux-based software platform used in smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Thursday read portions of a sealed document containing profit and loss numbers for Android in a San Francisco courtroom. A jury is deliberating the first phase of the trial, which concerns Oracle’s charge that Google violated copyright restrictions when it used Java to build Android.

The judge did not reveal specific financial figures for Android, but did note that it lost money—apparently a lot of it and in all four quarters of 2010.

“That adds up to a big loss for the whole year,” Alsup said, according to Reuters. Google’s Android revenues for 2010 were about $97.7 million, the news agency reported.

Alsup “quizzed attorneys for both companies about some of the Android financial information submitted in the case” outside of the jury’s hearing on Thursday and sealed the document containing Google’s internal financials for the mobile software platform. Google is a public company but does not break out specific numbers for Android when reporting earnings to investors.

Lawyers for Google and Oracle gave closing arguments earlier this week. At stake in the trial is Oracle’s claim that Google copied its Java code without obtaining a proper license to create Android. Google claims its use of Java APIs and libraries falls within the guidelines for fair use of free and open software code.

The closing arguments mark the end of the first phase of the trial, which covered alleged copyright infringement by Google. Following jury deliberations that Alsup said could take up to a week, the two companies will contest Oracle’s claims regarding alleged patent violations by Google.

The trial saw Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison and Google chief executive Larry Page take the stand last month, while Android chief Andy Rubin, former Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz, and Oracle chief financial officer Safra Catz were among the other high-profile names giving testimony in recent weeks.

For more from Damon, follow him on Twitter @dpoeter.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

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30 Apr 12 Apple Drops Android Support From Chomp App Discovery Tool

After buying the mobile application discovery engine Chomp earlier this year, Apple has dropped its support for Google’s Android mobile operating system.

Until now, Chomp offered app suggestions for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. AppleInsider is reporting, however, that its readers discovered that Chomp no longer works on Android phones. They can no longer search on for Android apps, and the Chomp for Android app has been pulled from Google Play.

Apple picked up San Francisco-based startup Chomp back in February for about $50 million. With the acquisition, Apple is reportedly planning to revamp its App Atore, making it more user-friendly and easier to discover hidden gems. With somewhere around half a million apps in the App Store, trying to find the one you want has become increasingly difficult.

Chomp, which bills itself as “the search engine that finds the apps you want,” uses a proprietary algorithm that learns apps’ functions, allowing users to search based on what an app does, rather than just what it is called. For example, users can search for apps using terms such as “puzzle games,” “expense trackers,” or “tip calculators.”

The Chomp for iPhone app, which is free to download, launched in the App Store in 2010. Chomp for Android, meanwhile, launched in Google Play, then the Android Market, in February 2011.

The company was founded by Australian Ben Keighran, who serves as its chief executive, and Cathy Edwards, who is the chief technical officer, according to the Chomp website, which makes no mention of the Apple acquisition. Actor Ashton Kutcher serves as Chomp’s marketing advisor.

For more from Angela, follow her on Twitter @amoscaritolo.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

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27 Apr 12 Chomp loses Android compatibility following Apple acquisition

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 12:50 PM EST (09:50 AM PST)

Following its purchase of the app search engine Chomp, Apple has disabled its functionality with Google’s Android mobile operating system.

AppleInsider first began to receive word from readers on Thursday that Chomp was no longer working on Android phones. And as of Friday, the site no longer allows users to search for Android applications, only offering the iPhone and iPad as options.

Apple’s purchase of Chomp was first revealed in February by The Wall Street Journal, and the price is believed to be around $50 million. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2009, and raised $2.5 million in funding before it was bought out.

Aside from the removal of Android from the website, the service looks largely the same. Users can search for what they want for either iPhone or iPad, or see lists options in the categories “Free Apps of the Day,” “Trending Apps,” “All Time Greats,” “On Sale,” “Top Twitter Apps,” and “New Apps.”

The company’s “About Us” page makes no mention of Apple or the buyout. It gives a list of angel investors that have backed the company, as well as the company’s advisors, which include actor Ashton Kutcher and entrepreneur Kevin Rose.

In addition to a search website, Chomp also has an application available for iOS on the App Store. The free download (iTunes link) currently has a rating of four and a half stars from users.


Chomp was only the second acquisition made by Apple in 2012, despite the fact that the company has a growing cash pile that is over $100 billion. Rather than make a number of high-profile acquisitions, Apple announced in March that it will spend $45 billion over the next three years on a stock dividend and share repurchase program.

It’s believed that Apple will use is acquisition of Chomp to improve its own App Store for the iPhone and iPad, specifically the ability of users to find new applications from the digital storefront. The company revealed this week in its quarterly earnings conference call that there are more than 600,000 applications currently available on the iOS App Store, with 200,000 of those designed specifically for the iPad.

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26 Apr 12 Former Sun CEO says Google’s Android didn’t need license for Java APIs

Jonathan Schwartz

Jonathan Schwartz (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz took the stand here today as a witness for the defense, and disputed Oracle’s claim that Java APIs were proprietary code from Sun. 

Google’s lawyer, Robert van Nest, asked Schwartz whether, during his tenure at Sun, Java APIs were considered proprietary or protected by Sun.

“No,” Schwartz said in explaining the nature of open software. “These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people…we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible.”

Oracle contends that Google’s
Android platform violated some of its patents and copyrights around Java and its APIs, which it acquired from Sun in a $7.4 billion deal at the beginning of 2010.

Schwartz corroborated testimony by former Google CEO (now executive chairman) Eric Schmidt, who said that during meetings following the launch of Android the Sun CEO didn’t express any concerns or disapproval regarding Android, nor did he state that Google needed a license to use Java APIs in Android. 

“My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had,” Schmidt said in this testimony, adding that he was “very comfortable that what we were doing was both legally correct and consistent” with the policies of Sun and Google at that time.

Schmidt, who spent 14 years at Sun, was Schwartz’s first boss at the company, and the two became close friends.  

Regarding a partnership between Google and Android, Schwartz said that Sun wanted Google to pay a big license fee to call its phone a Java phone, and join Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry (RIM) and others in developing apps that run across all the platforms. At this point Nokia was dominant, and Apple’s
iPhone was not in the market, and Java licensing was a $100 million plus business for Sun, Schwartz said. Sun would profit by enlarging the Java community and creating more of a barrier to competition with the likes of Microsoft at the time.

For Sun, Java was a brand that was inseparably a part of Sun and its profitability, Schwartz wrote in a blog post dated August 23, 2007:

JAVA is a technology whose value is near infinite to the internet, and a brand that’s inseparably a part of Sun (and our profitability). And so next week, we’re going to embrace that reality by changing our trading symbol, from SUNW to JAVA. This is a big change for us, capitalizing on the extraordinary affinity our teams have invested to build, introducing Sun to new investors, developers and consumers. Most know Java, few know Sun – we can bring the two one step closer.

The partnership with Google did not work out, even though Sun was willing to pay to have Google onboard with its Java platform. “I would venture a guess they felt they could better execute on their own,” Schwartz said, calling Google “opaque,” not sharing all the cards. Basically, Sun did not want to cede control of managing the key components in the Java stack, and Google wanted more control over its destiny.

Schwartz was asked why, given the lack of a partnership with Google, he applauded the announcement of Android in a blog post (which is viewable on Schwartz’s personal site) on Sun’s web site on Nov. 5, 2007, in which he wrote:

I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux platform, Android. Congratulations!

I’d also like Sun to be the first platform software company to commit to a complete developer environment around the platform, as we throw Sun’s NetBeans developer platform for mobile devices behind the effort. We’ve obviously done a ton of work to support developers on all Java-based platforms, and we’re pleased to add Google’s Android to the list.

And needless to say, Google and the Open Handset Alliance just strapped another set of rockets to the community’s momentum — and to the vision defining opportunity across our (and other) planets.

‘We decided to grit our teeth’
Schwartz said his blog post was like a press release, an official Sun statement, but there was a lot left unsaid.

“We didn’t like [what Google was doing with Android], but we weren’t going to stop it by complaining about it,” Schwartz said, explaining that Google could have chosen to work with Microsoft, a major competitor for Sun, or an open-source Java implementation. “At least with Java they could be part of the Java community,” he said. Without the Java community, Google would have to “reinvent a whole community,” Schwartz said.

“We saw a handset bypass our brand and licensing restrictions…we decided to grit our teeth and support it so anyone supporting it would see us as part of the value chain. For example, developers could use Sun’s Java developer tools NetBeans to write applications. Sun developed JavaFX, which could run on top of the Android stack.

In cross-examination, Oracle’s lawyer Michael Jacobs asked Schwartz about a document referencing Sun’s approach for granting intellectual property rights for independent implementations of Java, such as Android and Apache. 

Schwartz responded that as long as Google, Apache or others creating independent implementations didn’t call their product Java, Sun had no problem.  ”In order to get the brand, you had to get the TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit).” 

Jacobs took Schwartz through a series of e-mails to counter the former CEO’s statements about Google getting a free pass with Android.

In e-mails from March 2008, Sun’s executives, including Schwartz, wrote that they were upset that Google took Android “without attribution or contribution,” and worried about Java revenue due to competition with Sun for Java OEMs. One executive talked about using an “IP hammer” on Google. 

But Schwartz insisted under questioning by Jacobs that as long as Google or the Apache Foundation didn’t call their products “Java” it was his view they could ship their implementations of Java without any license from Sun.

Jacobs also questioned Schwartz about his resignation from Sun on the day Oracle took control of the company, as if to suggest that the former CEO of Sun had a bone to pick with Oracle. 

Happier times: Sun and Google were Java allies in 2005, when Sun's then-president Jonathan Schwartz, left, and CEO Scott McNealy, center, joined Google CEO Eric Schmidt to tout a partnership that ultimately fizzled.

Happier times: Sun and Google were Java allies in October 2005, when Sun’s then-president Jonathan Schwartz, left, and CEO Scott McNealy, center, joined Google CEO Eric Schmidt to tout a partnership that ultimately fizzled. For the partnership, the Google toolbar became a standard part of the software people get when they download Java from Sun’s Web site. (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Schwartz resigned from Sun on January 27, 2010. In a blog post from March 9 of that year titled “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal,” prior to Oracle suing Google on August 12, 2010, he made clear his view on open software, patents and lawsuits:

I understand the value of patents – offensively and, more importantly, for defensive purposes. Sun had a treasure trove of some of the internet’s most valuable patents – ranging from search to microelectronics – so no one in the technology industry could come after us without fearing an expensive counter assault. And there’s no defense like an obvious offense.

But for a technology company, going on offense with software patents seems like an act of desperation, relying on the courts instead of the marketplace. See Nokia’s suit against Apple for a parallel example of frivolous litigation – it hasn’t slowed iPhone momentum (I’d argue it accelerated it). So I wonder who will be first to claim Apple’s iPad is stepping on their IP… perhaps those that own the carcass of the
tablet computing pioneer Go Corp.? Except that would be ATT. Hm.

Having watched this movie play out many times, suing a competitor typically makes them more relevant, not less. Developers I know aren’t getting less interested in Google’s Android platform, they’re getting more interested – Apple’s actions are enhancing that interest.

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18 Apr 12 Analyst: Android has 35% of US tablet market, will overtake iPad [Chart]

That startling statistic and prediction comes courtesy of Javelin Strategy Research of Pleasanton, California.

A boutique research firm known for its bank technology coverage, Javelin published a paid report today on tablets and their impact on mobile consumer banking. I was able to read the report and interview the primary author, Javelin research director Mary Monahan.

Javelin’s findings and predictions are based on two surveys of more than 5,000 consumers each last October and December.

It found that among the 16 million U.S. tablet owners, 42% owned an Android tablet. While iPads still led (55%), the lead was far smaller than every other estimate I’ve seen. Forrester Research, for instance, found last September that the top 3 Android tablet makers at the time – Samsung, Motorola and Acer – combined held only 12% of the U.S. market.

“Piece by piece, Android tablets have a pretty big share of the market,” Monahan said.

Because respondents could indicate if they owned more than one tablet, Javelin’s total added up to 119%. Dividing 42 by 119, Android really had closer to 35% of the U.S. tablet market.

(Here’s my post with charts compiling other analyst forecasts for the global tablet market. And here’s a list of large enterprise Android tablet deployments.)

Of course, Amazon’s Kindle Fire was not available when Forrester did its survey last September. According to Javelin, 10% of American adults had a Kindle Fire in December.

Bolstered by the Kindle, Javelin predicts that Android will eventually overtake the iPad, though it doesn’t say when.

“For the future, Google Android is expected to continue to gain consumer market share at Apple’s expense, until it takes the lead. While Android’s gains have come at the expense of profits, price-cutting is an established platform strategy that has paid big dividends in the past. Although Apple is clearly the innovator, the sheer number of Google Android tablets, price ranges, and carriers will soon prove overwhelming,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, Windows tablets also held a surprisingly high 10% of the market as of December.

For future purchases, iPads still lead (36%). Android, including the Kindle, ranked 2nd (27%), followed by perhaps surprising interest in Windows tablets (21%).

Blackberry PlayBooks had 9%, but future interest among consumers was only 4%.

Other interesting tablet statistics:

-17% of U.S. mobile phone users, or 34 million Americans, will own a tablet by the end of the year.

- Tablet adoption is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 40.3% to 40% of all U.S. smartphone users by 2016, or 87 million adults. That compares to Forrester’s forecast of 112.5 million adults by 2016.

Banks investing in new features

Javelin, naturally, honed in how consumers are using tablets to bank.

Due to its large screen, tablets are indeed becoming a popular way to bank, with 44% of tablet owners having banked via tablet or smartphone in the last 90 days.

Mobile Web sites are more popular than banking apps today, says Monahan, though that could be a function of supply rather than demand. While about 90% of banks have apps for iOS or Android, only 4% have one optimized for Android tablets (as opposed to smaller smartphones), while only 20% had an iPad-specific app.

As a result, consumers are still mostly using tablets to look up information on their accounts, rather than do transactions or pay bills, Monahan said.

Monahan cited USAA, Bank of America and Citi as having created good mobile banking apps. This year, she expects larger banks to invest in new features such as remote deposit capture (depositing checks via tablet or smartphone) and inter-bank payments to other individuals, while smaller banks roll out their apps for the first time.

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