Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
Today in international tech news: Samsung strikes a deal with a company that, like Samsung, has a history with Apple and patent disputes. Also: The Netherland tests a glow-in-the-dark highway; Alibaba's IPO filing could come next week; and Facebook plans to launch a money transfer service in Europe.
04/16/14 9:57 AM PT
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- patent foe of Apple.
While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given the litigious background that both parties have with Apple.
Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum -- in part because the battles themselves seem to carry on ad nauseum, in Europe and Australia and the U.S. (and again in the U.S.).
The Swiss railway situation, however, was certainly unique: The company claimed in the fall of 2012 that Apple's iOS 6 infringed on a trademarked design for clocks in Swiss rail stations. The iOS clock design featured black and red hands that looked just a little bit too much like the rail operator's design, which was created in 1944.
Shortly thereafter, Apple negotiated an agreement that enabled the company to use the coveted clockface; the terms were not divulged. By the time iOS 7 came out, the clockface was gone.
The Netherlands Tests Glow-in-the-Dark Roads
To save money and energy -- and to perhaps do something cool at the same time -- the Netherlands has unveiled a 550-yard stretch of glow-in-the-dark highway, thereby rendering streetlights unnecessary.
The road was lined with paint that contains a "photo-luminizing" powder. The powder charges during the day and then emits a green glow at night for up to eight hours. The project is the result of collaboration between a Dutch civil engineering firm and an interactive artist, Daan Roosegaarde.
"This road is about safety and envisaging a more self-sustainable and more interactive world," Roosegaarde told BBC.
Alibaba IPO Filing Could Come Next Week
Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba could file the prospectus for its stateside initial public offering next week, according to sources cited by Reuters.
The IPO is expected to be the biggest-ever for a tech company -- even bigger than Facebook's US$16 billion record back in 2012.
Alibaba, which had no comment on the speculation, made waves last month when it announced plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange, and not in Hong Kong.
Facebook Preps for EU Money Transfer Service
Facebook plans to launch a money transfer service in Europe, giving users the option of storing money with the network or using funds to buy items online.
In its European base of Ireland, the company is seeking the go-ahead for "e-money" status, which would enable it to issue digital credits that can be turned into cash, according to The Guardian. If it gets approval in Ireland, Facebook would have the green light throughout all 28 European Union member states.
Facebook already facilitates money transfers in the U.S., where people can use social media site to buy goodies in apps like FarmVille or Candy Crush Saga. For its part, Facebook takes a 30 percent cut.