Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Google Whines Publicly About Microsoft, Apple Patent Oppression

There is no other way of putting it: Google received a very public smackdown at the hands of Microsoft after its chief legal officer, David Drummond, complained in a blog post about Microsoft, Apple and other firms trying to stall the momentum of Android through patent litigation. Drummond described the situation as "a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents."

In a Twitter post, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith fired back: "Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no." Microsoft corporate VP and PR chief Frank Shaw then posted an image of an e-mail conversation between Smith and Google lawyer Kent Walker that showed Walker declining Microsoft's offer to join in the bidding for patents owned by Novell. The whole affair was disastrous for Google, mainly because it gave Microsoft a public opportunity to not only be in the right, but to mock its rival in the court of public opinion.

Microsoft Makes Inaccurate Security Vulnerability Claim

Microsoft got a bit of comeuppance this week after making a claim in its annual security report that turned out not to be accurate.

As first noted by Network World, Microsoft's first version of the report claimed that security "vulnerabilities that could lead to remote code execution have dropped significantly in percentage terms and in raw numbers." Pressed by Network World, Microsoft eventually changed this to "dropped in percentage terms" only.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if Microsoft weren't such a lightning rod for security issues. But it is, and making security pronouncements like this isn't going to escape notice.

RIM Launches New BlackBerries, But QNX Isn't On Them

Research In Motion unveiled five BlackBerry phones on Wednesday, calling the rollout its largest global product launch ever.

That's all fine and dandy, but none of the new devices are running QNX, the OS RIM is using for the Playbook and a piece of technology widely viewed as a potential savior for the struggling company.

The new phones run BlackBerry 7, the latest version of RIM's BlackBerry OS, but according to some RIM partners developers will have little incentive to design applications for this OS when another one is just around the corner.

T-Mobile's Q2 Revenue Falls, Loses 50,000 More Subscribers

T-Mobile USA reported Q2 earnings this week and the results, while not disastrous, could hardly be spun as anything positive, either. Revenue ticked down slightly, but the more ominous development was T-Mobile's loss of 50,000 more customers. That was actually just more than half the amount the carrier lost last quarter, when 99,000 subscribers voted with their feet in what was widely perceived as a lack of confidence that service will improve if AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile passes regulatory muster.

HP Cuts Price Of TouchPad Twice In One Week

The HP TouchPad debuted last month to lukewarm reviews, which isn't surprising for the first iteration of a product that's going up against that cultural phenomenon known as Apple's iPad. Still, it had to come as some surprise to HP channel partners to see HP chop the price of the TouchPad twice in one week.

HP is offering a $50 instant discount on the TouchPad that runs through Sept. 10 and a $100 discount that runs from Aug. 5-7, which brings the price of the 16-GB model down to $400. is currently selling the TouchPad for $380.

HP is trying to find the right price point for the TouchPad to spur sales and get the critical mass of devices needed to generate developer interest around WebOS. In this regard, HP is coming to win. However, HP dropped the ball here by initially pricing the TouchPad at a level that's identical to the iPad. When Apple launched the first iPad, company officials acknowledged that they were pricing it aggressively to quickly build market share, and that approach has paid off quite well.