Salesforce botched its hackathon. Then botched it again.

Hackathons are usually greeted positively, though the way that Salesforce handled the judging of its recent hackathon seems pretty disappointing. One of the most notable issues is the rule that teams can only start working on their apps from Oct 25, and that they must be coded from scratch. That sounds fine until you realize that the winning app (Upshot) was also demoed on Oct 8 at a Salesforce meetup. Salesforce eventually responded that it was acceptable to use pre-existing code as long as the code did not comprise of the majority of the app and did not violate any third party’s rights. Only mentioning that after the winning app was discovered to use pre-existing code hardly seems fair, and still doesn’t resolve the issue that it was demoed before the Hackathon started.

To make matters worse, one of the engineers in the winning team was a Salesforce enginner for a good nine years. Though the rules state that employees as of Sept 1st 2013 would not be able to enter, and since this person was employed until sometime this year, it’s probably still within the rules, but considering the issues mentioned above, it’s certainly going to cause some discontent amongst contestants.

The Dirty Secret Behind the Salesforce $1M Hackathon

While Salesforce rules say employees as of Sep 1, 2013 could not enter the hackathon, it appears people who were employed not just as recently as this year, but who is “Formerly an engineer at Salesforce for 9 years. Lead engineer on Salesforce Analytics. Tech lead for Custom Report Types and many other reporting features” sure are allowed to participate and win. And guess what their app was? A “tool that lets you easily create and edit [Salesforce] reports on a mobile device.”

The company did get around to officially responding to the issue on its blog, even going so far as to announce a second winner for the $1 million prize. Unfortunately some folks also noticed that the folks behind the second winning app ( work for a company that Salesforce has invested in. Unless the rules explicitly state otherwise, this usually isn’t an issue, but then again, we are dealing with a sensitive situation here, and the complaints are still coming in.

Windows Phone successfully competing with Android for the low end market?

While Android and iOS devices are constantly fighting for the top end of the market, Windows Phone has slowly and steadily been working the low end of the market. That’s not to say that Android doens’t compete there too. There are countless cheap Android phones that flood the market, and more are being churned out by manufacturers each day.

The interesting thing to note is that since it’s fairly easy (and cheap) to have Android running on a phone, there are so many low-end Android devices with sub-par user experiences on the market, normally due to underpowered processors or the lack of RAM. So far Windows Phone hasn’t had to contend with that issue much, as most of the Windows Phones in the market are currently being churned out by Nokia. Even the lower end Nokia Lumia 525, which is priced around $199, has some respectable hardware, which should offer a reasonable user experience.

Could the strategy of releasing cheap and good low-end Windows Phones actually beat Android at its own game?

The Windows Phone may be quietly becoming a real competitor to Android

That’s not what ordinary shoppers thought. Numbers out this morning from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel show that more people than ever before are buying the phone, and not just in its traditional stronghold of Latin America. For the three months from August to October, the Windows phone’s share of smartphone sales doubled or more over the year prior in nearly every large European country, while also showing respectable gains in Australia and the United States. The only place its market share fell is in China, which is unsurprising given that China’s market is dominated by local players who tend to install their own versions of the free Android operating system.

Study shows removing DRM boosts music sales by 10 percent

When DRM was first introduced to curb music piracy, and apparently “save” the music industry, it probably has done nothing reduce the value that people get from legitimately purchased music.

What Piracy? Removing DRM Boosts Music Sales by 10 Percent

DRM was once praised as the ultimate tool to prevent music piracy, but new research shows that the opposite is true. Comparing album sales of four major labels before and after the removal of DRM reveals that digital music revenue increases by 10% when restrictions are removed. The effect goes up to 30% for long tail content, while top-selling albums show no significant jump. The findings suggest that dropping technical restrictions can benefit both artists and the major labels.

Amazon Prime Air delivery drones to achieve half-hour shipping

While most are still busy trying to work out same-day shipping, Amazon is already working on half-hour shipping. Amazing.

Delivery drones are coming: Jeff Bezos promises half-hour shipping with Amazon Prime Air

Amazon’s CEO loves a good reveal, and took the opportunity afforded by a 60 Minutes segment to show off his company’s latest creation: drones that can deliver packages up to five pounds, to your house in less than half an hour. They’re technically octocopters, as part of a program called “Amazon Prime Air.” A drone sits at the end of a conveyer belt, waiting to pick up a package — Bezos says 86 percent of Amazon’s packages are under five pounds — and can carry them up to ten miles from the fulfillment center.

In case you missed it: Bitcoin soars, Tencent’s 1 billion users, Android-iOS revenue gap, Samsung’s advertising splurge, and more

iOS vs Android shopping usage

Business Insider reports on the difference between iOS and Andriod usage for shopping during the holidays.

Adobe tracked visits to over 2000 US retailers’ websites on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

iOS-based devices drove more than $543 million dollars in online sales, with iPad taking a 77 percent share. Android-based devices were responsible for $148 million in online sales, a 4.9 percent share of mobile driven online sales.

…iPads drove the vast majority of online sales with $417 million while iPhones were responsible for $126 million. In comparison, Android-based phones generated $106 million, Android-based tablets $42 million in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

This sums it up.

However, this is still a jaw-dropping gap in usage between the two platforms. It suggests that the focus on smartphone market share misses a bigger picture about how the platforms are actually used.

Android owners I’ve come across so far use their devices mainly as glorified video players.

Apple’s iPhones take the top 9 spots of Japan’s top 10 smartphones ranking

BCN’s list of the top 10 sales ranking of smartphones in Japan.

The tenth ranked product was a ZTE phone. It is surprising that none of the local brands appeared in this list.

Soon you can install Sailfish on your Android device

Talouselämä Magazine reports that Sailfish will soon be available for installation on Android devices.

”There is no such culture in these parts of the world [Finland], but there are people that are installing new operating systems on their devices. In China it is mainstream. About half of the smartphone buyers are upgrading their older or cheaper devices with a better version of Android.”

“For us it is a possibility to distribute our operating system especially in China. There are websites that already distribute [OS] software and the Chinese customers are doing it ­so we don’t have to teach them. We just have to get Sailfish to those websites – and to make sure that Sailfish will run on different kind of Android devices.”

A group of ex-Nokia employees launched the Jolla phone earlier this week. It runs on the Sailfish operating system that allows installation of Android apps.

Apple goes red for World AIDS Day

MacRumours reports that Apple is recognising World AIDS Dayin its retail stores and on its website.

Every day, 900 babies are born with HIV. (RED) works with companies like Apple to fight for an AIDS‑free generation by creating (PRODUCT)RED merchandise. A percentage of gross profits from the sale of those products goes to the Global Fund to help fund AIDS programmes in Africa. Since its introduction, (PRODUCT)RED has generated more than $215 million for the Global Fund — more than $65 million from Apple alone. You can help make an impact by purchasing a (PRODUCT)RED iPod or (PRODUCT)RED accessories for iPhone and iPad.

US stolen smartphone database complete

The Verge reports on the completion of the US database that blocks activation of stolen phones.

Though most smartphones already offer tools to let you locate lost phones, only Apple has managed to offer a feature which satisfies SF and NYC prosecutors’ desire to deter theft. The Activation Lock feature of iOS 7 can not only remotely wipe a phone, but keep it from being reactivated without the owner’s credentials.