Daniel Eran Dilger
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Category — Mobiles

Are software patents evil?

Daniel Eran Dilger

Ask anyone covering the patent wars currently being waged between Oracle and Google, or between Apple and HTC and Motorola and Kodak, or Lodsys and iOS developers, and regardless of their opinion about legal liability they’ll tell you that the patent system is broken, and more often than not, that patents on software are sort of evil and should probably just go away. But are patents really that bad?
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August 9, 2011   42 Comments

Apple’s Safari grows to 8% browser share, WebKit now second only to Microsoft IE

Apple’s Safari browser has now exceeded an 8 percent share of web browser use across all devices, powered by strong growth in iPhone and iPad sales.

The new high water mark for Apple’s web browser, combined with Google’s popular Chrome browser, also now makes Apple’s WebKit the second most widely used rendering engine among web browsers, second only to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and just slightly ahead of Mozilla’s Firefox.

According to Net Application’s NetMarketShare data, in the last two years, Microsoft’s IE has slipped from nearly 67 percent share to just 52.8, while Firefox use has slipped slightly from almost 23 percent to July’s reported 21.48. Google’s Chrome as exploded from 2.84 percent to 13.45 percent, while Apple’s Safari share has nearly doubled from 4.07 percent to 8.05 percent.

Chrome and Safari combined now represent more than 21.5 percent of web users, slightly ahead of Firefox even before adding in a small number of alternative WebKit browsers.

A decade ago, Microsoft’s share of web browsing with the Windows-bundled IE reached such overwhelmingly high numbers that it appeared unlikely that any other browser could ever gain more than a scrap of market share, given the apparent lack of any profit incentive to develop an alternative web browser.

The failing Netscape Navigator browser was eventually spun off into an open source project that resulted in Mozilla, which developed the Firefox browser. Its advantages in speed and other features, combined with its independence from Microsoft, quickly created an avid following among both PC and Mac users.

The Rise of Safari and WebKit

In 2003, Apple debuted work on its own Safari browser, after Microsoft stopped actively developing IE for the Mac. Apple leveraged the existing, open source KHTML rendering engine, which it forked to deliver WebCore, a parallel project Apple continued to maintain under the GNU LGPL.

Two years later, Apple released its entire layout engine for Safari under the more permissive BSD license, naming the entire package WebKit. This package proved to be far more valuable to third parties than just the core KHTML-based rendering engine, causing WebKit to immediately be adopted by Nokia for use in its smartphone web browser for Symbian.

Google later adopted WebKit for use in both its desktop Chrome and mobile Android browsers. RIM’s modern BlackBerry 6.0 browser and HP’s webOS browser and entire application runtime are also based on WebKit, as are the majority of other mobile browsers, including Amazon’s latest Kindle browser. WebKit is also used within a variety of applications, ranging from Apple’s own Mail, iTunes and Dashboard to Adobe’s AIR and Creative Suite CS5 and Valve’s Steam gaming platform.

Widespread use of WebKit has enabled Apple (and other WebKit developers) to rapidly deliver and deploy new web standards ranging from Apple’s Canvas to a variety of enhancements to CSS, HTML and SVG, without worrying that there won’t be enough modern browsers available to take advantage of the new features. This has enabled the development of a new open platform for sophisticated web applications, commonly referred to as HTML5.

Shifting the industry toward HTML5

Apple’s successful development of not just a desktop browser in the model of Firefox but also the creation of Mobile Safari for iOS devices as the first very usable, high performance mainstream mobile browser (something Mozilla has yet to deliver itself) has left a tremendous mark not only on the web browser market but in web-related development as well.

The exclusive use of HTML and JavaScript on Apple’s iOS devices without any provision for plugins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight has upended Adobe’s control over the deployment of web video and other dynamic content, forcing the company to bring its development tools to an open HTML5 foundation in order to reach the valuable iOS segment of the market.

Microsoft has also largely abandoned Silverlight, its own Flash-like development environment, to instead focus on standard HTML5 tools for building web apps and services.

August 1, 2011   5 Comments

Podcast: Apple and Location Services on the iPhone

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Gene Steinberg of the Tech Night Owl invited me to talk about the Location Services on the iPhone in a podcast with Macworld senior editor Dan Moren.

You can tune into the live broadcast stream Saturday night from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Pacific, 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM Eastern, at http://www.technightowl.com/radio/. An archive of the show is available for downloading and listening at your convenience within four hours after the original broadcast.

The previous episode I appeared on is available at NOW PLAYING! March 26, 2011 — John Martellaro, Daniel Eran Dilger, and Sascha Segen

The Tech Night Owl LIVE is also broadcast on many local radio stations via the GCN network.

You can also access our show’s Podcast feed, now available at: http://www.technightowl.com/nightowl.xml.

April 30, 2011   4 Comments

Distimo polishes the Android Market turd

Daniel Eran Dilger

Mobile app analytics firm Distimo used a particularly wild amount of spin to suggest Android apps were headed toward global domination. They’re wrong, here’s why.
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April 28, 2011   12 Comments

Why the phony LocationGate scandal targets fear of Apple’s iOS more than Android

Daniel Eran Dilger

According to hysterical reports of fear mongers, Apple and Google are tracking your every move using smartphones, compiling a historical trail they can then profit from. That’s wrong, here’s why.
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April 25, 2011   29 Comments

Fortune’s Seth Weintraub calls Steve Jobs a liar, predicts Android tablets will sell

Daniel Eran Dilger

Not everyone respects Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs. Just ask Seth Weintraub, who blogs about Google for Fortune, often by blogging his seething contempt for Apple and everything how it builds and sells its products. Following the company’s iPad 2 event, Weintraub accused Jobs of lying about components, lying about tablet market competitors, lying about market share, and lying about pricing.
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March 4, 2011   77 Comments

Apple vs iOS Developers: A story of love, approval and world conquest

Daniel Eran Dilger

Readability is the latest iOS developer to resort to the courts of public opinion in its issues with Apple. It doesn’t seem to be working out well.

Apple vs. Los Desarrolladores del iOS: Una historia de amor, aprobaciones y la conquista del mundo (en español)
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February 21, 2011   21 Comments

Podcast: Verizon iPhone, Nokia, Microsoft and more

Nightowl logo

Gene Steinberg of the Tech Night Owl invited me to talk about the Verizon iPhone, Nokia, Microsoft and more.

You can tune into the live broadcast stream Saturday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Pacific, 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM Eastern, at http://www.technightowl.com/radio/. An archive of the show is available for downloading and listening at your convenience within four hours after the original broadcast.

This latest episode is now available at NOW PLAYING! February 19, 2011 — Daniel Eran Dilger and Kirk McElhearn

The Tech Night Owl LIVE is also broadcast on many local radio stations via the GCN network.

You can also access our show’s Podcast feed, now available at: http://www.technightowl.com/nightowl.xml.

February 19, 2011   2 Comments

Apple’s iPhone and the Curious World of Android Enthusiasts

Daniel Eran Dilger

It’s Saturday so I made some Keynote slides instead of writing a whole lot.

El iPhone de Apple y el Curioso Mundo de los Entusiastas de Android (en español)
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February 19, 2011   58 Comments

Does Apple deserve a 30% cut of iTunes in app subscriptions?

Daniel Eran Dilger

Get ready for the iPhone Crisis-Gate of February 2010: Apple is evil for demanding a 30% cut of subscription sales. But is this issue of the month really a legitimate outrage?

¿Apple se merece un 30% del valor de las suscripciones hechas desde dentro de las aplicaciones? (en español)
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February 15, 2011   101 Comments

Zune 2: How Microsoft will slaughter Windows Phone 7 using Nokia

Daniel Eran Dilger

For a historian, the only thing more fun than seeing how history repeats is examining what things do change as events recycle. Looking at Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia, I can’t help but bring up Microsoft’s attempts to kill the iPod with the Toshiba-built Zune, an effort that backfired, killing Microsoft’s Android-like, “open” PlaysForSure platform instead.

Zune 2: Como Microsoft masacrará Windows Phone 7 utilizando a Nokia (en español)
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February 14, 2011   51 Comments

Microsoft’s Stephen Elop takeover of Nokia VS. NeXT’s Steve Jobs takeover of Apple

Daniel Eran Dilger

For a historian, the only thing more fun than seeing how history repeats is examining what elements do change as events recycle. Looking at Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia, I can’t help but contrast NeXT’s takeover of Apple Computer in 1996. Despite the similarities, there are stark differences that promise to make the results predictably different.
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February 13, 2011   39 Comments

Why Apple can’t be too worried about Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets taking away iPad sales: Part 2

The world’s biggest software platform

Daniel Eran Dilger
Listen to giddy Android enthusiasts and you might get the impression that the next tablet-centric version of Google’s Android platform, named 3.0 Honeycomb, is about to destroy iPad sales. They’re wrong, here’s why, part two.
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February 8, 2011   26 Comments

Silliest pundit-in-chief Joe Wilcox lavishes praise upon silliest chief executive Steve Ballmer

Daniel Eran Dilger

They say it takes all kinds, and that’s true. Were it not for the ridiculous ravings of Joe Wilcox, it seems Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer wouldn’t be getting praise from anyone.
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January 15, 2011   42 Comments

Podcast: Apple’s iPad competition, Android & Windows Phone 7

Nightowl logo

Gene Steinberg of the Tech Night Owl invited me to talk about Android, WP7 and the iPad-killers.

You can tune into the live broadcast stream Saturday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Pacific, 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM Eastern, at http://www.technightowl.com/radio/. An archive of the show is available for downloading and listening at your convenience within four hours after the original broadcast.

This latest episode is now available at NOW PLAYING! Dec 25, 2010 — Kirk McElheran, John Sileo and Daniel Eran Dilger

The Tech Night Owl LIVE is also broadcast on many local radio stations via the GCN network.

You can also access our show’s Podcast feed, now available at: http://www.technightowl.com/nightowl.xml.

December 25, 2010   No Comments