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Microsoft's Windows chief out, Apple's iOS chief (also) out
Within the space of a month, Microsoft let its Windows president Steven Sinofsky walk, while Apple replaced its iOS chief Scott Forstall -- both for similar, yet different reasons: they weren't playing nicely with the rest of their respective companies.
Sinofsky, who led the division that built Windows 8, left the company as part of a mutual agreement. Forstall, who headed up the unit that develops the software for the popular iPhone and iPad devices -- was all but pushed out of the company. He will stick around at Apple to advise chief executive Tim Cook until 2013, but will then be set free into the wider world.
It was Forstall's final decision to evict Google from the top-floor executive suite at Apple HQ and replace the mapping app with Apple's own in-house service. That program was beyond a flop. It was riddled with errors and deluged with criticism from both the media and end-users alike.
Apple v. Samsung ends in $1bn damages; U.K. court takes a different turn
The biggest trial of the year was between the two mobile super-giants: Apple v. Samsung. It ended with Samsung having to pay more than $1 billion in damages to the iPhone and iPad maker after its products were found to have "copied" the iPad's rounded rectangle design.
However, the U.K. case took an entirely different turn: Apple lost, and Samsung prevailed. Apple was forced to put a notice on its Web site and in newspaper advertisements to 'apologize.' When it ran a statement on its Web site, Apple embellished the statement with additional, non-court sanctioned comments, which landed the firm in even more trouble. It then had to formally -- and clearly -- apologize a second time around, and eat a boatload of humble pie.
But the Apple v. Samsung news wheel continues to spin, and though the trial is over, there are plenty more nooks and crannies that the litigious companies can find themselves in, in the near future.
Google acquires Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn; price tag rises post-sale
After going back and forth to regulators around the world, the Chinese government finally accepted the deal that would see Google buy smartphone maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in order to acquire more than 17,000 patents. Google needed the patents -- above all else -- to help fend off litigation by Apple and others, who continue to sue Android-powered smartphone makers, such as Samsung, while avoiding suing Google flat-out.
Because the now Google-owned division was struggling financially, Google had no option but to restructure the entire business. All in all, the cost of the sale was bumped by a further $340 million -- pushing the overall price tag close to $13 billion.
For now, we still have no idea if the sale was worth the full almost $13 billion, but the courts will soon decide. In the Microsoft v. Motorola (Google) legal spat, a court will decide how much Microsoft should pay Google in royalties for patents that it owns.
Ultimately, this trial will determine how much the Motorola patents are actually worth, meaning Google has far less leverage with its other patent partners that could lead to the search giant generating far less in deals with other smartphone makers.