If Google hadn't bought Motorola, someone else would have because 2011 was also the year of patent wars. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” said eccentric poet Charles Caleb Colton but few companies saw it that way as Apple sued everyone and everyone sued Apple. Apple, Samsung, HTC and Motorola phones and tablets were all banned in some country at some point in 2011 and these battles look set to continue well into 2012 and beyond.
The reasoning is simple: the future is mobile and if you can win in the courts you will win on the street – regardless of who buys what. That said even notable industry luminaries have struggled to form a consensus over who has the overall upper hand and it is likely no one company will take the spoils. Further industry consolidation will certainly take place in 2011 and our tip (after Microsoft/Nokia) would be Samsung getting out its chequebook…
Riots and Social Media
The shocking London riots made headlines worldwide in August and behind many articles were snide jabs at social media. Twitter came in for the heaviest criticism as generations clashed as to its role, perpetuation and culpability.
If Twitter was pinned for inciting the riots though, clever uses (notably later by Police in publication of convictions) restored some faith and the unstoppable momentum of social media services meant responsibility slowly became the key message. Our take was pretty clear: Why The Vilification of Social Media Has to Stop.
PlayStation Network Hacking
Earning just as many evil glances and snide remarks in 2011 was Sony after its entire PlayStation Network was compromised by hackers. Not only was Sony forced to admit data from over 100m users was compromised, but a full restore took well over a month. Public apologies and compensation packages were late and the company was forced into wide restructuring. Worse still Sony was targeted by hackers for the rest of the year and over one million Sony Pictures accounts were subsequently hacked in June.
With talk of a PlayStation successor being announced in 2012 along with Sony's decision to buy out Ericsson and concentrate solely on smartphones (rather than 'dumb' phones) in the future, a brighter 12 months may lie ahead. The Sony Tablet S (and to a certain extent the overly ambitious Sony Tablet P) shows promise too, but it is impossible to put a price on lost brand credibility.