FORTUNE -- "How would you feel," Google (GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt asked in the Guardian last April, "if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?"
How would I feel about a drone that could snoop on me? Probably the same way I'd feel about a company that monitored all my online activities -- the e-mail I send and receive, the websites I visit, the places I visit, the products I buy, the YouTubes I watch, etc. etc. -- and sold that information to advertisers.
Google's corporate guidelines on such matters were delineated two years ago by what Schmidt calls "the creepy line."
"The Google policy on a lot of things," he told attendees at the Aspen Institute's Washington Ideas Forum, "is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."
Creepy privacy issues, however, were not Schmidt's primary objections to Amazon's little delivery choppers.
Drone technology, Schmidt warned, could "democratise the ability to fight war" and fall into the hands of terrorists.
"Self-driving cars, though," deadpans Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who dug up the Guardian piece on Friday. "Those are OK."
Apple (AAPL), meanwhile, is trying to make a virtue -- if not a marketable feature -- out of the difference between its business model and Google's. From the Report on Government Information Requests Apple released last month:
"Our business does not depend on collecting personal data. We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers. We protect personal conversations by providing end-to-end encryption over iMessage and FaceTime. We do not store location data, Maps searches, or Siri requests in any identifiable form."
News Corp's Wall Street Journal calls for Judge Denise Cote to be taken off the case.
FORTUNE -- Most of arguments the Wall Street Journal made Friday in a strident editorial calling for the ouster of the judge in the e-book antitrust case were taken from a motion Apple (AAPL) filed last week. (See Apple to judge: You and your antitrust monitor are way out of line.)
But there was also a nugget MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 6, 2013 8:12 AM ET
He cut his buyback demand from $150 billion to $50 billion and gave Apple a year to do it.
FORTUNE -- From the headlines, you would think that Carl Icahn, America's most famous corporate raider, had donned a headdress and gone into his war dance:
Icahn beats Apple buyback drum (again) with new proposal (CNET)
Carl Icahn Rallies Apple Shareholders To Demand Stock Buyback (Cult of Mac)
Carl Icahn ups ante in crusade for Apple buyback (Associated Press)
Cites a single unnamed source "familiar with the situation."
FORTUNE -- Is this the news Apple (AAPL) investors have been waiting so many years to hear?
WSJ: Apple, China Mobile Sign Deal to Offer iPhone
Without an official announcement or independent verification it's hard to say. The fact that it comes from the Wall Street Journal speaks well for the report. The fact that it hangs on a single, unnamed source... not so MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 9:45 PM ET
But who would have guessed that the old iPad Mini would come in second?
FORTUNE -- There are several curious findings in Localytics' attached chart comparing the post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday presence of various devices on its analytics network with their presence the previous week.
That Apple's (AAPL) new iPad Air grew the most (51%) is not terribly surprising. But who would have guessed that...
Gains for the much maligned iPhone 5C (up 26%) would MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 10:38 AM ET
Institutional ownership of Apple stock peaked at 74% in April and has fallen to under 64%.
FORTUNE -- The attached chart comes from UBS's Steven Milunovich, who on Tuesday raised his Apple (AAPL) price target $110 (from $540 to $650) and his rating (from Neutral to Buy) in large part because of the gap between the blue line and the blue shaded area in the attached chart. The gap shows big money from pension MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 7:37 AM ET
Tempers flared and motions flew when Apple balked at $138,432 for two weeks work.
FORTUNE -- My colleague Roger Parloff has posted a fascinating back-channel account of the rapidly deteriorating relations between Apple (AAPL) and Michael Bromwich, its court-appointed e-book antitrust monitor.
The trigger, as it so often is, was money.
"On October 24," Parloff reports, "Apple liaison [Kyle] Andeer angered Bromwich by sending him an email questioning Bromwich's proposed $1,100 hourly fee and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 3, 2013 12:23 PM ET
A subsidiary's reservation website briefly went live Monday night, came back Wednesday.
FORTUNE -- The attached screen grab comes from a website registered by a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited (CHL) in Suzhou, a city of 5 million just west of Shanghai.
The site went live late Monday local time, and began reserving appointments for customers interested in buying the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C.
UPDATE: A China Mobile spokesman told CNN's Beijing MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 2, 2013 11:26 PM ET
Kantar reports that nearly half were switching from other brands, chiefly Samsung and LG.
FORTUNE -- When Apple (AAPL) released a pair of new iPhones in September, demand was so lopsided in favor of the more expensive (by $100) model that many on Wall Street assumed that the pricing on the cheaper iPhone was some kind of blunder.
The iPhone 5S continues to outsell its more moderately price sibling -- by three to one in MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 2, 2013 2:05 PM ET
In 4 days of holiday shopping, 83% of mobile sales were made via iOS, 17% via Android.
FORTUNE -- By the time Horace Dediu posted the attached chart on his Asymco.com site, the IBM (IBM) Digital Analytics Benchmark data on which it was based had already been updated. But the broad picture hasn't changed. Over the four-day weekend, Thursday through Sunday:
Online holiday shopping (desktop and mobile) in the U.S. was up 14.5% MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 2, 2013 11:14 AM ET
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