Kodak knows what’s cool: a billion dollar$

Everyone’s favorite tech companies are fighting as always, suing each other over various patents and large sums of money. This time it’s the somewhat unlikely matchup of Kodak vs. Apple and RIM. And the Kodak CEO said yesterday that a cool BILLION WITH A B bucks is at stake.

Turns out Kodak has a patent for image preview in camera phones. You might be thinking: O RLY? You can patent that kind of thing?

Really. In fact, Kodak has already won $550 million in royalties from Samsung and $414 million from LG over this very issue.

But Kodak had been having a tougher time with its litigation against the iPhone and BlackBerry makers. Back in January, a judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Kodak’s patent infringement claim against Apple and RIM was “invalid.” Kodak stock tumbled 13.4% after the announcement (which came the same day as crappy Q4 earnings).

But the whole sordid tale isn’t over yet — it seems Kodak still has a chance to win. Kodak CEO Antonio Perez chatted with Bloomberg about why the company still has a chance, and “deserves it.” 

"It" being $1 billion in revenue from royalty payments after the win, of course.

Bloomberg says the U.S. International Trade Commission is slated for a 5 p.m. decision on whether it will plan a full review of the judge’s previous “invalid” finding.

So maybe the commission will find the invalid ruling…invalid, and then maybe they’ll keep considering Kodak’s claim, and THEN maybe Kodak will net a billion dollars. Speculative, no? But investors still love it: Eastman Kodak shares are up more than 10%.

Kodak didn’t reply to a request for comment, and we’ll see what happens with the ITC’s decision after the bell today. But Kodak stock is down a whopping 35% year-to-date, so they could use the boost — and the influx of cash.

I just hope Kodak doesn’t go the patent trolling route. In a way it’s easy cash, I suppose. But it’s also an easy way to lose the admiration and respect that takes a company so long to build. -Julianne

Update: Kodak just emailed me this statement.

Julianne: Like you, we read the Bloomberg report mentioning an announcement today. We have no direct confirmation of that [the 5 p.m. ruling] from the ITC Commission. If, indeed, we learn the news today, we will have a statement.

The queen of aggregation is, of course, Arianna Huffington, who has discovered that if you take celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications, array them on your Web site and add a left-wing soundtrack, millions of people will come.

How great is Huffington’s instinctive genius for aggregation? I once sat beside her on a panel in Los Angeles (on — what else? — The Future of Journalism). I had come prepared with a couple of memorized riffs on media topics, which I duly presented. Afterward we sat down for a joint interview with a local reporter. A moment later I heard one of my riffs issuing verbatim from the mouth of Ms. Huffington. I felt so … aggregated.

Bill Keller in the New York Times Magazine, not holding back about The Huffington Post. Ouch. -Julianne

The epic Facebook movie smackdown that wasn’t


image: Goodman Media via CNBC.com

When I saw the headline Facebook Co-Founder: What I Learned From Watching “The Social Network,” I was super pumped — especially when I saw it was written by Eduardo Saverin.

Saverin sued ex-BFF Mark Zuckerberg for the right to call himself a Facebook co-founder — and a valuable stake in the company. Saverin, a wealthy Brazilian, provided startup cash when the venture was just getting started.

A sad story for sure. (But don’t feel too bad — Saverin is the youngest person on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.) Truth be told, it’s a juicy one, too — hence my excitement when I saw he penned a review of “the Facebook movie” for CNBC.com.

The nut graf: “The true takeaway for me was that entrepreneurship and creativity, however complicated, difficult or tortured to execute, are perhaps the most important drivers of business today and the growth of our economy.”

kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkSorry, I fell asleep at my computer. I didn’t think Saverin would spill his guts, but I figured there’d be some juicy stuff. Good thing he doesn’t have a Facebook — his status updates would be uberlame. -Julianne

Google CEO: We’re the inverse of Apple


photo: All Things D

All Things D has a great 3 a.m. post about part of Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s speech at TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday. The gist, according to All Things D: Google is the inverse of Apple.

“Apple’s core strategy is closedness,” Schmidt said re: mobile products. “With Apple’s model … you have to use their development tools, their platform, their software, their hardware,” Schmidt added.

Google’s Android system, on the other hand, often receives praise from mobile developers for its open platform.

Of course, none of this is new news. But All Things D makes a good point: For all its claim of openness, Google is really open only on products that don’t generate a lot of revenue. Apple’s “closedness,” on the other hand, nets the company a good chunk of change on its mobile model. Inverse though the strategies may be, so far it seems to be working well for both. -Julianne

Sex, lies and unfriending: more tales of Facebook betrayal


photo: Charis Tsevis

"Mark’s contributions were frequently broken, late, or non-existent, and in the end our final project didn’t function largely thanks to him. Of course, to Mark none of that mattered." —Aaron Greenspan, in a HuffPo article posted today titled “The Legend of Mark Zuckerberg.

It’s an interesting read, as Greenspan is a former Harvard classmate of Facebook CEO Zuckerberg. Greenspan claimed he had a hand in developing the social networking giant, and the case was settled last year.

Greenspan emailed me the link this morning; he and I had chatted last month about a court filing he’d made, asking for an extension of time to file an opposition to Facebook’s attempt to trademark the word “face.”

The piece is long but compelling, and Greenspan doesn’t pull any punches. He calls out everyone from Zuckerberg to Harvard administrators to the creators of the upcoming biopic The Social Network.

“By replacing his awkward, stilted speech pattern with an unending stream of Aaron Sorkin’s intellectual zingers, Mark’s legend will benefit in a way that Bill Gates’s never did,” Greenspan writes.

He also skewers what he calls “Facebook’s doublespeak, redefining ‘friend’ as ‘someone you barely know’ and ‘utility’ as ‘something that sucks up your free time’ … These linguistic gymnastics are non-trivial and should frighten us all given how significant they have become in the daily lives of many.”

It’ll leave you with a chill. -Julianne

"Mission Accomplished"


photo: Colin McDonald

Yup, he went there. On today’s Oracle earnings call — notable for being the first featuring Mark Hurd, who was doing HP earnings reports a scant four months ago — Ellison trash-talked SAP but saved his real fightin’ words for those who would question Oracle’s Sun takeover.

"To quote one of our great presidents, ‘Mission accomplished,’" Ellison declared. "We think it’s going to become more profitable over the fiscal year."

We’ll turn it over to Jon Stewart for a reminder of how well the year went after Bush hailed the end of “major combat operations.” We’re pretty sure Oracle won’t have to fend off insurgent bombings, but you never know — Sun engineers can be feisty. -Stacy