Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 16:36 UTC
Legal Today's "the day after". The day after Apple started a patent war with HTC and Google. Today, we have statements from both HTC and Google, and a number of other people have weighed in as well as to the possible ramifications of Apple's lawsuit.
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RE: Which history?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 23:16 UTC in reply to "Which history?"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

You don't understand what I'm saying.

I'm saying that users want two things: choice and cheap. Apple did not offer either in the PC market, and consequently, is now a niche player, and has been a niche player ever since. Despite all the pretty figures, Apple's worldwide marketshare is still only around 5%.

Apple is not offering either choice or cheap in the smartphone market either - and that WILL come back to bite them in the ass. This lawsuit proves - beyond a doubt - that they know this. HTC is the very EMBODIMENT of both choice and cheap. You can pick your software, form-factor, and price.

And rightfully so, Apple is scared of that. Even someone like John Gruber acknowledges that.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Which history?
by macUser on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 23:46 in reply to "RE: Which history?"
macUser Member since:
2006-12-15

You don't understand what I'm saying.

I'm saying that users want two things: choice and cheap. Apple did not offer either in the PC market, and consequently, is now a niche player, and has been a niche player ever since. Despite all the pretty figures, Apple's worldwide marketshare is still only around 5%.

Apple is not offering either choice or cheap in the smartphone market either - and that WILL come back to bite them in the ass. This lawsuit proves - beyond a doubt - that they know this. HTC is the very EMBODIMENT of both choice and cheap. You can pick your software, form-factor, and price.

And rightfully so, Apple is scared of that. Even someone like John Gruber acknowledges that.


Considering they're only offering one phone, then I suppose you're right about choice. In regards to "cheap" I think their offering is on par with competitors.

Saying that, I have no idea what Apple is doing. They are a cruel and calculating company and while at the surface it may appear to be a defensive move, I don't believe this strategy is out of "fear" in any way, shape, or form.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Which history?
by fatjoe on Thu 4th Mar 2010 09:13 in reply to "RE[2]: Which history?"
fatjoe Member since:
2010-01-12

Considering they're only offering one phone, then I suppose you're right about choice. In regards to "cheap" I think their offering is on par with competitors.


I think you chose to misunderstand this. This is not about the number of devices to choose from but in fact what to do after you buy a device. This is about not being allowed to run certain software on the device you have fully paid for...

Regarding cheap, I think you will find very very few (probably none) other offerings that are as expensive as Apples, once you include the monthly fees and such.

Edited 2010-03-04 09:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Which history?
by jackeebleu on Thu 4th Mar 2010 01:19 in reply to "RE: Which history?"
jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

I think you, especially, are missing the point. The issue here isn't fear, its innovation. Years ago, you navigated "smart phones" with jog wheels, plastic sticks, up down buttons. Apple comes along and spends millions in R&D and releases a product that says, look you guys missed this all along, look how simple you could have made it. And they were rewarded for it via sales. So "competition" comes now and everyone, all of a sudden are debuting touch screen gesture based phones. Don't try to pop the obvious argument here, cuz if it was so obvious, why didn't RIM, Palm, MS do it before Apple? What you are saying is, you want tech on your terms and you could give a damn about anything else. Apple spends millions in shareholder money building this thing and should let competitors use their invention against them? If it were you and Eugenia working for and with you decided, I'm gonna start a news aggregate site called OSNoteworthy Information and a layout similar, damn near identical to yours, reached out to your partners and undersold your ad rates, by charging them nothing for the same ad space, you'd be cool with that right? I mean its just competition right? And most importantly, your advertisers are getting what you want, cheap technology. Right?

The other issue is Google. Google sat on Apple's board and innovated from the board room. What Schmidt did is tantamount to corporate espionage. You dont sit on a companies board, setup sharing agreements to suit yourself and then take what you have learned and compete against the company you were responsible for helping guide. From encouraging Webkit to be open sourced and then using it for the basis of Chrome and saying look how much faster we are than them, when you are on the board of "them"? WTF? Google, do no evil? Really?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Which history?
by eulogy on Thu 4th Mar 2010 03:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Which history?"
eulogy Member since:
2009-02-15

From encouraging Webkit to be open sourced and then using it for the basis of Chrome and saying look how much faster we are than them, when you are on the board of "them"?


Apple had no choice in making Webkit open source. Webkit is based on LGPL licensed KHTML.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Which history?
by elsewhere on Thu 4th Mar 2010 08:25 in reply to "RE[2]: Which history?"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I think you, especially, are missing the point. The issue here isn't fear, its innovation. Years ago, you navigated "smart phones" with jog wheels, plastic sticks, up down buttons. Apple comes along and spends millions in R&D and releases a product that says, look you guys missed this all along, look how simple you could have made it. And they were rewarded for it via sales.


This is called first-to-market. Apple implemented touch in a way none of their competitors had thought of, they were rewarded for that with stratospheric sales, at the expense of their competitors. And there's nothing wrong with that, it's the way the market is supposed to work.

For Apple to say, hey, we thought of this first (which they didn't, since multi-touch interfaces have existed for decades, and pinch-to-zoom was demonstrated by a non-Apple researcher back when Macs were still cute little beige boxes with a monochrome screen), and then call out the lawyers to prevent anyone else from implementing and improving upon it, is not the way the market is supposed to work.

When companies introduce something something new and innovative, they earn the ability to profit from it. The product life-cycle model will reward them for being an early innovator, but success will eventually lead to commoditization, where other competitors can produce something similar without having invested the R&D to develop it, leading to diminishing returns for the original company. To compensate, the original company should be re-investing their initial windfall of profit into developing the next shiny new thing, so they can maintain their momentum and start the cycle over again with the next best new thing. That's the way the market is supposed to work. Companies innovate, others compete, companies are forced to invest in continual innovation to remain ahead, and consumers ultimately prosper.

When companies try to subvert this model by calling in the lawyers to try and block competitors from competing, it's a tacit admission that they are either not convinced they can maintain their lead with further development, or they simply want to block the commoditization model and protect their profits. Either way, innovation and the market suffer.

Patents exist for the sole reason of encouraging the sharing of new inventions. Patent rights were intended to encourage the creation of inventions, safe in the knowledge the inventor could negotiate terms for "rights" to their invention. The intent was for inventors to publish their creations so that others could benefit, while protecting the rights of the original inventor. They were intended to spur innovation, not block it, despite the abuse they frequently suffer.

So "competition" comes now and everyone, all of a sudden are debuting touch screen gesture based phones. Don't try to pop the obvious argument here, cuz if it was so obvious, why didn't RIM, Palm, MS do it before Apple? What you are saying is, you want tech on your terms and you could give a damn about anything else. Apple spends millions in shareholder money building this thing and should let competitors use their invention against them?


Technology doesn't exist in a bubble. Every advancement is built upon the work of others. That's the way it is supposed to work.

You ridicule the market that existed before Apple entered the fray, while ignoring the fact that Apple built their product on the years of investment and expertise that other companies have contributed. Apple created a clever user interface, but their platform is still driven by the work of other companies. Companies like Nokia, Qualcomm, Motorola, Erickson et al. invested billions in developing GSM tech. They, along with other groups like ARM, pioneered power/performance ratio technology. Bluetooth was created. Nokia drove camera tech to handsets and created the concept of a multimedia phone. RIM created the concept of a handset as being an extension of the desktop in terms of messaging and management. The list goes on.

Apple comes along, uses all of that collective foundation to build a handset, and you claim that they are somehow elevated to a higher level by virtue of an evolutionary improvement in interface? The iPhone wouldn't exist today without the billions of dollars and years of effort from Apple's competitors. And there's nothing wrong with that, it's the way the market is supposed to work. Apple saw an opportunity and seized it, as they are often effectively able to do.

Apple is entirely dependent upon the work of others. Their entire business is built around polishing and implementing existing concepts better than anyone else.
And again, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, their dependency on the work of others could very well come back to bite them in the iAss now, because they are sending a message to the other established players in the industry that they are drawing a line in the sand with regards to their software patents. There's two big problems with that; first, software patents in general are shady with no certainty that they will be upheld, and second, they are useless outside of the US, as opposed to many of the patents Apple's competitors hold.

Apple excels in user experience design, and as such should expect to be emulated. There is absolutely nothing in the iPhone that isn't built on previous ideas and work, it's just put together better than most have been able to accomplish. That warrants a market advantage, but not a legally enforceable one.

The other issue is Google. Google sat on Apple's board and innovated from the board room. What Schmidt did is tantamount to corporate espionage. You dont sit on a companies board, setup sharing agreements to suit yourself and then take what you have learned and compete against the company you were responsible for helping guide. From encouraging Webkit to be open sourced and then using it for the basis of Chrome and saying look how much faster we are than them, when you are on the board of "them"? WTF? Google, do no evil? Really?


First of all, Webkit was open source to begin with, Apple had no choice due to the licensing of the KHTML base they utilized.

As for corporate espionage, that's a far bit of a stretch. Schmidt didn't sit there rubbing his hands, twidling his non-existant moustach, and plot Apple's destruction. Many companies have directors that are from other organizations within the same industry.

Schmidt didn't undermine Apple, and he stepped down when he realized that Apple was moving in a direction that was no longer complementary to Google. Android and Chrome don't exist to compete monetarily with Apple, they exist to try and block Apple's strategy to absolutely control user experience with the internet. He probably stayed on the board longer than he should have, but he was there because of his previous relationship through Sun, and because the shareholders were happy enough to keep him there.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[3]: Which history?
by dragos.pop on Thu 4th Mar 2010 14:56 in reply to "RE[2]: Which history?"
dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

The other issue is Google. Google sat on Apple's board and innovated from the board room. What Schmidt did is tantamount to corporate espionage. You dont sit on a companies board, setup sharing agreements to suit yourself and then take what you have learned and compete against the company you were responsible for helping guide. From encouraging Webkit to be open sourced and then using it for the basis of Chrome and saying look how much faster we are than them, when you are on the board of "them"? WTF? Google, do no evil? Really?


Very bad example.
1) Webkit is a fork of khtml. This means that KDE people developed it AS OPENSOURCE, apple just forked it. So Apple just took it for granted.
2) Nokia and Google also contribute to it. Nokia was the first to port it to smartphones.

A lot of OS X (and IPhone OS) code is based on opensource code. Most of it BSD, so apple didn't even contribute back. So a lot of development money and time not spent.

About inovations: those are not so new and original, MS invested money in multitouch (remember Surface), while apple bought those software inovations.
Also WM was the first OS on touchphones.

Hardware wise, hardware manufactures invented the capacitive screen, that allowd apple to create the software. That was the revolution.

Plus, apple also took nokia's patents for granted and didn't want a patent agreement.

And finaly, it is not about multitouch, it is about other "special effects" (ex: minimize animation) or about comunication with hardware (ex: to stop the screen when the phone is on the ear). Most of this should not be accepted as patents by a sane patent process, they are to obvious.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Which history?
by Piot on Thu 4th Mar 2010 01:32 in reply to "RE: Which history?"
Piot Member since:
2009-09-17

@Thom
I understand perfectly what you are saying, I just disagree with you. There is a marked difference.

Apple's history in the PC market, with the Mac, bears no relation to today's smart phone market. (See Rim)
Apple's history in the PC market, with the Mac, bears no relation to the portable MP3 player market. (See 250 M iPods sold)

Apple is not suing HTC because their phones are cheap. Apple believes that HTC is using their patented technologies. Whatever you think about the US patent system, all the tech companies own numerous patents. Apple or Nokia or... anyone is within their rights to actively try and defend their patents.

"Apple is not offering either choice or cheap in the smartphone market" I agree. And in just over two years iPhone has gone from 0% to 17% of that market. Despite all the choice and cheap on offer. None of Apple's product lines could be labelled as providing much choice... or cheap.... and yet Mac sales growth has been higher than PC growth for a number of years and the iPod blew away most of the competition. Perhaps your understanding of the "consumer" is not quite as thorough as you think it is?

If Apple wanted to design and build as many smart phones as Rim (and offer more choice), then they could. If Apple wanted to sell cheaper phones (like HTC?), then there is nothing stopping them.

This latest case against HTC proves that Apple is willing to play a little hardball. It proves that Apple, either wants to stop HTC using Apple's tech (HTC simply has to prove it's not!) or it's a bargaining chip for some of HTC's (or perhaps Google's) tech. This case also proves that tech pundits and bloggers love injecting a little "fear" into their headlines. (I assume you have read Frommer's article via Gruber)

What this case does not prove is that Apple is scared of anyone that offers more choice or a cheaper choice. Hell everybody is cheaper than Apple.

PS. Don't put words into John Gruber's mouth. He doesn't agree with what Apple has done but I can see no indication that he agrees with you.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Which history?
by dougmms on Thu 4th Mar 2010 05:02 in reply to "RE[2]: Which history?"
dougmms Member since:
2010-03-04

Why can't it be both? I agree, Apple clearly wants to protect their IP. But surely they must be a bit scared: as smart phone growth continues to ramp up, clearly manufacturers big and small are going to produce Android phones in larger and larger numbers since Google is giving it away. Can Apple match the growth of HTC + Motorola + etc. etc.? What's more, is Apple going to catch on in China and India? It's clear that they're not going to dominate the smart phone market like they did the mp3 player (or media player) market with the iPod. I'm pretty sure the iPod's sales have already peaked (and may have gone down last year iirc). Gotta find new revenue...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Which history?
by cycoj on Thu 4th Mar 2010 07:11 in reply to "RE[2]: Which history?"
cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

@Thom
I understand perfectly what you are saying, I just disagree with you. There is a marked difference.

Apple's history in the PC market, with the Mac, bears no relation to today's smart phone market. (See Rim)
Apple's history in the PC market, with the Mac, bears no relation to the portable MP3 player market. (See 250 M iPods sold)

Apple is not suing HTC because their phones are cheap. Apple believes that HTC is using their patented technologies. Whatever you think about the US patent system, all the tech companies own numerous patents. Apple or Nokia or... anyone is within their rights to actively try and defend their patents.


Well the point is that almost all the big players so far have refrained from suing each other over software patents, because they know that they are infringing on each other. Hell looking at how broad almost all software patents are it is difficult not to infringe. Previously the only people suing have been patent trolls who had nothing to loose. The other things the big guys used software patents for (and it's actually very similar with hardware patents) is to prevent small newcomers from entering the market. There they usually don't sue but just knock on the door and wave the patents so the newcomer has to pay or goes broke, because they can't afford the battle.


"Apple is not offering either choice or cheap in the smartphone market" I agree. And in just over two years iPhone has gone from 0% to 17% of that market. Despite all the choice and cheap on offer. None of Apple's product lines could be labelled as providing much choice... or cheap.... and yet Mac sales growth has been higher than PC growth for a number of years and the iPod blew away most of the competition. Perhaps your understanding of the "consumer" is not quite as thorough as you think it is?

If Apple wanted to design and build as many smart phones as Rim (and offer more choice), then they could. If Apple wanted to sell cheaper phones (like HTC?), then there is nothing stopping them.

This latest case against HTC proves that Apple is willing to play a little hardball. It proves that Apple, either wants to stop HTC using Apple's tech (HTC simply has to prove it's not!) or it's a bargaining chip for some of HTC's (or perhaps Google's) tech. This case also proves that tech pundits and bloggers love injecting a little "fear" into their headlines. (I assume you have read Frommer's article via Gruber)


I don't know if fear is the correct word but Apple at least takes Android (this really is not about HTC) seriously, otherwise they would not be starting this "war".

It's also interesting to note that Apple is suing HTC and not Motorola or Google themselves. I think that this has two reasons
1. Motorola has probably a lot stronger Patent portfolio.
2. And I believe more importantly HTC is an Asian company. I think this case is also a lot about perceptions. Apple wants to be perceived as this terribly innovative company (and they have succeeded a lot of people associate Apple with innovation despite their relatively small R&D budget compared to a lot of the other players). Now suing an Asian company will be a lot easier to spin than an American company. I think we'll see the stereotype of the Asians who copy American innovation start popping up on sites soon, not officially from Apple but independent bloggers.

I think Apples PR is one of the best around, just look at the hype before the Ipad. Or when Nokia sued Apple, a lot of people got up and accused Nokia of being a patent troll because they could compete against the "innovative" Apple. Interestingly enough the same people deny that Apple is doing the same thing against HTC now.


What this case does not prove is that Apple is scared of anyone that offers more choice or a cheaper choice. Hell everybody is cheaper than Apple.

PS. Don't put words into John Gruber's mouth. He doesn't agree with what Apple has done but I can see no indication that he agrees with you.

Reply Parent Score: 5