Microsoft loves it when Apple cries Uncle

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner did cartwheels of joy down the corridor — he claims — when Apple’s legal people called him a few weeks ago demanding he stop the “Laptop Hunter” ads, where penny-pinching punters opt for cheaper PC machines over more costly Macs.

“We’re going to keep running them, and running them and running them,” Turner said at a Microsoft conference on Wednesday, relishing a clear blow in the fistfight for customers.

Watch Turner’s spirited performance here — scroll the bar onto 2:57:45 for the Apple segment.

Apple didn’t reply to a request to confirm Turner’s story.

In case you missed the Microsoft ads, or would like to relive Apple’s pain, here’s the first one again:

Independent app store hits its own milestone

While you may not have heard of GetJar — especially if you’re in the U.S. — the London-based outfit announced its own milestone Wednesday, as it passed the half-billion app download mark. Yes, GetJar is an app store, albeit one a bit less famous than Apple’s, which yesterday announced 1.5 billion app downloads in its first year of operation.

GetJar has been around since 2004. It features close to 50,000 applications — such as Google Maps and the Opera browser — and works on all major platforms. The company is backed by Accel Partners and says it’s profitable. It has around two dozen employees.

Chris Drury, VP of president product management for GetJar, said all the hype that has accompanied Apple’s App Store has benefited his company. “You see an ad for the Apple App Store on TV, if you’re like 98% of people you don’t have an iPhone, and GetJar is the only place you can go to get apps for everyone.”

Updated-Apple boasts 1.5 billion App downloads

(Updated to reflect that Apple was referring to application downloads, not application sales.  Many iPhone apps are free.)

Apple Inc impressed the tech world with the rapid take off of its applications store, announcing on April 24th that it had sold 1 billion apps downloads in just 9 months to users of its iPhone and its iPod Touch.

That was just for starters. Now it says it has sold seen another half a billion apps downloaded in around a third of that time, showing that its growth is speeding up despite the fact that its rivals have all opened their own apps stores.

App developers appear to be taking notice too as Apple says it now has 65,000 apps available in its store ready for download to the 40 million iPod Touch and iPhone devices it has sold.

Google exec says Chrome isn’t the end of Android

Google’s vice president of engineering has dismissed the idea that plans to bring out a new computer operating system, Chrome OS, will mean the end of Google’s existing operating system for mobile phones, Android.

As soon as Chrome was announced earlier this week “all the press and speculation started, ‘Oh, the Android is doomed,’” said Andy Rubin at an event with T-Mobile in San Francisco to show off the latest Android iteration, the myTouch 3G phone, manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in Sun Valley yesterday that Chrome OS is a separate product from Android, but the two products are closely related and could eventually “merge even closer.”

Analysts question T-Mobile’s choice of myTouch over Hero

 Some analysts worry that T-Mobile USA may have missed a trick by opting for a new Android device, myTouch 3G, which is mostly the same as HTC’s first one, the G, except for its slimmer shape and lack of a physical keyboard.

According to T-Mobile USA Chief Technology Officer Cole Brodman, the No. 4 U.S. carrier currently has no plans to sell Hero, another HTC phone that runs Google’s Android but has an updated user interface that looks similar in some ways to Palm Pre.

From today until July 28, T-Mobile USA customers can order the myTouch online with the potential to have their phones deliverd before its national launch stores on Aug. 5. Brodman says myTouch, with its nifty travel case, personalizable covers and T-Mobile recommendations for hot applictions, will appeal to a broader audience than G1. The idea is that myTouch’s sleek shape and Android’s straightforward user interface will encourage T-Mobile customers who had never bought a smartphone before to now consider this one.

Apple’s Steve Jobs steals the show

New colors, video camera, price cuts. Whatever. The Apple show belonged to Steve Jobs.

So how did he look? Rail thin, as you can see from this picture (see below or click here for a bunch more shots of the 54-year old chief executive). That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given he’s recovering from a liver transplant.

Even looking frail, however, his presence pumped up the crowd. “Steve Jobs making an appearance was definitely a pleasant surprise,” said Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Brothers. Another analyst, Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech added, “I was surprised to see Steve. It’s great to see that he’s doing well.”

Apple reports some iPhone 3GS shortages

Haven’t got your hands on Apple’s new iPhone 3GS yet? In certain parts of the U.S., you may have to wait just a bit longer. Apple says retail stores in some states (such as Utah, Oregon, Alabama) and certain cities are sold out of the new device, which went on sale on June 19.

The full breakdown by location can be found here. The company notes that “shipments of iPhone 3GS arrive most days” and availability is updated hourly. The device can also be purchased at AT&T, Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores.

The news provides further evidence of healthy demand for Apple’s third-generation iPhone. The company sold more than a million of the devices in the first three days alone.

Recession? Liver transplant? Nothing bothers Apple

A good day for Apple — or a bad one? Judging from the early reaction in the stock market, investors seem to have already gotten used to the idea that Steve Jobs underwent a liver transplant two months ago,  as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Saturday. Shares of the company opened a touch higher.

One reason might be that — for most investors — certainty is also preferable to uncertainty. Know the risks and you can deal with it. And until this weekend, there was very little information on the nature of Jobs’ health problems, which began in 2004. (Apple, by the way, is not commenting on the WSJ report, other than to say that the company’s leader will return by the end of the month, as planned).

Another reason for the stock strength may be more basic: business looks pretty good. Apple said this morning that it had sold more than 1 million units of its newest iPhone in the first three days of its launch, a big number in the context of the current economy.  The device, which offers faster speeds, longer battery life and the ability to take videos, hit stores on Friday.

iPhone 3GS sales kick off

Hollywood has its blockbuster openings, and Baseball has Opening day: the gadget world has cellphone debut days — in particular iPhone launch days.

While the latest iPhone 3GS has not drawn the crowds that flocked to previous Apple phone debuts, a handful of shoppers were lining up a couple of AT&T stores in New York before dawn today.

AT&T employees at this store near Grand Central said that pre-orders would be satisfied at 7 A.M. and those walking in off of the street would get theirs at 8 A.M. if supplies last.

Braving stormy weather for iPhone: well, sorta

Braving a downpour at Apple’s New York flagship store in midtown, three college students were already lined up waiting to be first to nab the new iPhone 3GS when it goes on sale on Friday.******Oddly enough, none of the trio planned to buy an IPhone: two already had the iPhone 3G, and the other was saving up for a Palm Pre. Hunkered under broad umbrellas graciously supplied by Apple, they were holding a place for another buddy, Sidney Sanmartine — who was still at work. He owned the original iPhone from 2007, and is eligible for the lower priced upgrade.******”It’s more evolutionary than revolutionary,” said Matt Dodd, 18. “But for the kid who’s getting it, it’s a big deal — he’s going from 2G to 3G.”******Perhaps by 7 a.m. Friday, the line will look as long (and dry) as it did about a year ago when the iPhone 3G debuted. Until then, Keith Hobin, the lone rain-soaked student/shopper left when his two buddies took a break, seems pretty upbeat. (Only 15 hours to go…)******