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Briefly: Apple TV, QuickBooks warning, backdating suit, Triple Play


Apple TV is leading a pack of new retail-based Internet video devices, according to one firm. Meanwhile, Intuit screws up big time and issues an update to QuickBooks that caused data loss for some users. And Apple has filed for a trademark on the phrase "Triple Play."

Apple TV leads pack

A new breed of retail-based Internet video delivery devices has emerged over the past few years, lead by the $300 Apple TV wireless set-top-box, claims ABI Research. However, the firm notes in a new report that these devices have had difficulty resonating with consumers, largely due to their higher prices and competition from legacy set-top boxes, as well as confusion over the benefits they will ultimately bring to the buyer.

Overall, ABI Research believes that this new breed of devices will see shipments of 1.2 million in 2008.

“Since this category first emerged in 2004-2005 with the debut of Akimbo’s public Internet VOD product, vendors of these products have struggled with a number of hurdles that have so far made this market relatively unsuccessful,” said research director Michael Wolf. “The high cost of these devices, their reliance on the home network, the need for consumer self-installation, and the scarcity of content have all contributed to their lack of commercial success.”

Nonetheless, ABI believes that two factors offer new hope for these devices. While early examples lacked significant amounts of content, new models such as Vudu’s video device have significant libraries, including high definition movies. Additionally, the firm noted that consumers’ growing hunger for both user-generated and professionally produced content on the Internet could create greater demand for these new devices.

“This market will continue to be challenged by traditional set-top boxes, which are incorporating more VOD and public Internet delivery features, and by the emergence of VOD services on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and those such as the TiVo/Amazon Unbox offering,” Wolf added. “However, we believe that there is a possibility of a break-out success among these new entrants if they can create compelling content offerings, make consumer installation and management incredibly easy, and offer both the hardware and content at compelling pricing. We believe one way to achieve this is by incorporating some premium content using advertising support."

QuickBooks warning

Meanwhile, some users of Intuit's Mac QuickBooks software were blind-sided this weekend when an automatic software update to the accounting software wound up deleting the entire contents of their Mac's desktop folder.

Apparently, there was a problem with the update for QuickBooks Pro Mac for version 2006 and 2007 that displayed the following message: "there is not enough disk space to install." User's who agreed to proceed with the installation knowing they did have the required space subsequently found the contents of their Desktop folder missing upon restart.

Intuit claims to have identified and resolved the issue, removing the automatic software update from its servers. However, those users who have already installed the update should contact Intuit's technical support team, which has undoubtedly scurried into emergency damage control mode.

Pension fund to press forth with suit

The pension fund for New York City's public employees is pushing forward with its lawsuit against Apple, even though a federal judge's ruling suggests shareholders don't have a case against the company.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose granted Apple's motion for dismissal in the stock options backdating suit brought against chief executive Steve Jobs and thirteen other current and former members of the company's leadership, stating that shareholders hadn't suffered financial damages from the events because the company's shares continued to surge.

Fogel advised the shareholders to join a derivative suit, on behalf of the company, which would mean plaintiffs would not stand to receive payouts. However, the NY Sun reports that the New York City group decided not to heed the advice, and on Friday re-filed a new version of the suit seeking damages.

Apple seeks 'Triple Play' trademark

Finally, AppleInsider has learned that Apple recently filed for a trademark on the phrase 'Triple Play' through an overseas trademark office.

The filing, which remains under examination, described Triple Play as a "retail store services in the field of entertainment, namely, musical, audio and audiovisual works and related merchandise, provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks."

While Apple does not offer a distinct service under the "Triple Play" name, it does currently offer "3 for 2 Triple Plays" via its iTunes download service. Essentially a video discount deal, iTunes Triple Plays offer three music videos ($1.99 each) from select artists for the price of two ($3.99).