Tariff 24 hearing on TuesdayThe Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) will finally present its case calling for the implementation of tariffs on ringtones (Tariff 24) at the Copyright Board of Canada on Tuesday, June 21. SOCAN wants 10% of a ringtone supplier’s revenue, namely the wireless carriers, or at least 20 cents for each ringtone downloaded. A hearing was to have taken place in February 2005, but was delayed. Opponents such as the wireless carriers, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and the Canadian Recording Industry Association are all opposed to the tariff.Research in Motion on rollercoaster rideWaterloo ON-based Research in Motion Ltd. has been on a metaphorical rollercoaster ride over the past couple of weeks. First, its US$450-million patent settlement suit with NTP Inc. fell apart with the latter noting that the two companies had only reached an agreement to negotiate a final agreement. On Friday, June 17 the company suffered a minor setback with its technical operations, resulting in an email disruption of a few hours. Carriers in both the United States and Canada were affected. Finally on June 19, the U.S. Patent Office ruled that a fifth of eight patents – those under dispute by NTP – didn’t infringe on patents held by NTP, dealing a severe blow to the NTP patent infringement case. This has prompted some to speculate that the patent office’s most recent ruling is setting the stage for a complete exoneration of RIM, rendering the patent suit moot. Greater competition coming to the mobile email marketCompetition in the mobile email and data communications market is about to get more competitive with the pending entry of Microsoft. The software giant announced last month that it is going to launch its first product this fall, targeting the mass market. Research in Motion, the undisputed leader in the space, is increasingly coming under a greater competitive threat from others including hard makers Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. Other software competitors are Seven Networks, Good Technology and Visto. Rogers Wireless recently made it official that , Visto was the backend supplier of its MyMail mobile email service. Zi offers handwriting technology to Chinese marketCalgary-based Zi Corp. has announced that its Decuma natural handwriting recognition technology is now available for download by Chinese consumers. Previously, the Decuma technology was only available to OEMs for embedding into handsets. “The decision by Zi to make Decuma available to phone users has been driven by huge popular demand from the download community,” notes a Zi news release. The technology increases the speed and accuracy of smartphone’s handwriting input mode. IDC reports lower earningsInternational Datacasting Corp. (IDC) has reported lower revenues and net earnings for the quarter ended April 30, 2005 compared to the previous year’s same period. Revenue was approximately $3.3 million, down from $3.8 million. Earnings dropped to about $18,000 compared to $200,000. “Last year, we focused on our core business and rebuilding our cash reserves. This year, we are starting to rebuild our marketing and sales forces in addition to accelerating the R&D of our next-generation products,” IDC president and CEO Ron Clifton said in a news release. Norsat unveils initiatives aimed at growing the companyNorsat International Inc. has made public several initiatives it has undertaken since the beginning of its second quarter – Q2 began on April 1 – aimed at better positioning the company for more effective growth. Among the initiatives announced, Norsat has adopted a forward sector focus that includes healthcare, homeland security and military and media. Uplink becoming critical in cell phonesNew information from ABI Research suggests that wireless carriers’ desire to add more data revenue as part of the average revenue per user mix is making uplink data rates equally as important as download speeds. This, says Alan Vaghese, principal semiconductor analyst at ABI, comes from the emergence of picture and video messaging, video on demand and gaming applications. Ericsson readying for mobile triple playEricsson has announced that it will expand its WCDMA product portfolio into new frequency bands in advance of the expected mass-market uptake of mobile triple play service: mobile telephony, mobile broadband and mobile TV. The company will be expanding into the 850 MHz, 1800 MHz, (1700 MHz for Japan) and 1.7GHz/2.1 GHz pairing for the U.S. market. Ericsson will also support the 900 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands in the future. The company has also inked an agreement with Napster to offer the first integrated digital music service for mobile operators. The service is expected to go live during the next 12 months in Europe, and then will initially be offered to operators in selected markets in Asia, Latin America and North America.