Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Google: Apple attempting to “strangle” Android rather than build new features, devices

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Google Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond has written an open letter to Apple and others (namely Microsoft) for the latest trend of going after smartphone patents by buying up others companies patents. Drummond notes that Apple and Microsoft “have always been at each other’s throats” and “when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on.” Google’s Drummond is referring to the two technology heavyweights “banding” together to win the Novell and Nortel’s old smartphone related patents. As revealed just a few weeks ago, a Consortium of Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle payed $4.5 billion for the aforementioned Nortell patents.

Drummond outright calls this “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.” Drummond also says that the approach to acquire patents and file patent lawsuits is Apple’s (and others’) way of showing that they “want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices.” He also says that Apple and others are going after these patents and filing complaints “instead of competing by building new features or devices.”

Drummond also says that Google feels that Apple and Microsoft’s take over of the Nortel patents is unlawful:

Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop.
Drummond ends by saying that Apple and Microsoft’s moves could potentially hurt Android and they are obviously looking into ways to stop this.

Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.

I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on. Here is what’s happening:

Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers. Android and other platforms are competing hard against each other, and that’s yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers.

But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.

This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth. Microsoft and Apple’s winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop.

We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.

We’re looking intensely at a number of ways to do that. We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means. We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.

*thanks 9to5mac*

Cross posted on 24/7Droid.com

Well sorry to say this however googles crying like a 5yr old who took someone else's cellphone and has been using it and not paying the bill. If you can't make your own innovations then don't make anything! If you have to use other companies patents without licensing them then don't cry when it comes back to bite you in the backside! Google need to hire more people and create something more original, not just copy other people/companies ideas, and just slap a different look on it hoping they won't relies what google did.

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Electronic Arts founder: Apple to decline because Steve Jobs is irreplaceable, and other stupidities

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Well, talk about a FTW moment. First Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello lavishes praise on Apple and paints iPad their fastest-growing platform as gaming on traditional consoles is on a decline and today the super publisher’s founder Trip Hawkins tells IndustryGamers that Apple is heading towards decline:

If you look at any institution in history – look at the Roman Empire – anything in history, and what it looks like when it’s peaking. Look at Apple, and how can you say it’s not peaking? The CEO is still alive, let’s start there. They invented this tablet thing that’s going to be really big. They’ve done really well by reinventing the phone. They breathed new life into the Mac. They’ve got this super-high marketing. All these things are about as good as they ever can be – how much better can it really get? The thing is, it may take another year or two before it starts to decline, but it has to – everything does. Everything revolves so much around Steve, and no matter how good his lieutenants are, they’re not Steve. None of us is going to live forever, though I hope he lives for a really long time.
He then launches into the obsolete Flash argument:

They’ve created this outlet and they had to have an excuse to keep you there, so they’re like, ‘Oh it’s nothing against Flash; we just prefer HTML5’. Well, Flash can actually make a really good game, and with HTML5 you can’t do that. But give HTML5 another few years to mature, and that could solve the problem. Or Apple could be more generous about deciding to support more de facto standards like Flash, or at least let it run its course.
Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin was recently told that Steve Jobs, on a medical leave since January, “calls in regularly” but is no longer micro-managing the company. Hawkins may have read too much into that report or he thought his company’s CEO had been out of line boasting about iPad. After all, Electronic Arts still depends on sales of entertainment titles distributed traditionally, on physical media. Either way, Riccitiello is up for a reality check because it is no secret that Steve Jobs has been gradually phasing himself out of the view. Plus, there’s just one slight problem with the “Apple to decline” thing…




Ever since he first announced a surgery to remove cancerous tumor from his pancreas in mid-2004, Jobs has been gradually removing himself from public view and allowing other executives to step into the limelight. Jonathan Ive, Scott Forstall, Bob Mansfield, Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and other top dogs have all been making regular on-stage appearances alongside Jobs and are regularly featured in Apple’s product videos. Of course Steve Jobs is irreplaceable – he’s the best CEO on planet - and yes, he will not be at Apple’s helm forever. That being said, Apple will do just fine without him even with shares taking a temporary hit. Why? Because Apple’s boss has surrounded himself with capable individuals and he’s been grooming them over the years to take control of Apple when the time comes. And about that decline thing: Apple has plenty of room to grow, especially with the Mac’s single-digit market share which only recently passed the ten percent mark in America. That’s an ample growth opportunity in my book. Mobile devices? Currently 220 million of them sold and growing, with iPad being a phenomenon in and of itself. And don’t get me started on iTunes and App Store numbers. Apple TV? Still a hobby, but doing better than the other guys and increasingly looking to crack open the mass market TV market as the company is reportedly prepping a networked television set and building super data centers around the world to essentially become the 21st century broadcaster. None of this is taking into account Apple’s next big thing and other unreleased products in the pipeline as Apple completes its transition from a niche computer player into a global consumer electronics powerhouse akin to Sony in its golden days. So yes, Hawkins needs some straightening up. That’s not to say Apple won’t be on a decline some day – corporations can only grow that much – but that day is not on the horizon yet. And yes, what’s with the Roman Empire analogy, anyway?


*thanks 9to5mac*

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Apple, Google, Samsung and everyone else eyeing InterDigital patents

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Over the past few weeks, the patent arms race has been accelerating and the latest comes in a Bloomberg story that has old frenemies – Apple, Google and Samsung – locked in a fight for InterDigital’s patent portfolio. Samsung is said to be interested the most in InterDigita’s intellectual property their CEO claims is “stronger” than the 6,000 Nortel patents the Apple-led consortium recently acquired for $4.5 billion. People familiar with the matter tell the publication Samsung has been “approached to make a bid”:

Samsung is looking at the patents along with Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG) and other potential bidders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. InterDigital, which holds patents related to mobile technologies used to transfer information, said last month that it hired bankers as it considers a sale.
InterDigital’s patent portfolio covers technology for high-speed cellphone networks “now used by the world’s biggest handset makers”, including Apple’s iPhone as well as BlackBerry and Android phones. The portfolio includes 8,000 patents in total and is estimated to be worth $5 billion or more. “To hedge the risk, Samsung could go ahead with bidding, although they may have to pay a big premium”, says Shinyoung Securities Co. analyst Lee Seung Woo.

Kodak on Monday put ten percent of its patent portfolio, or 1,100 patents, on sale, among them the image-previewing patent Apple and Research In Motion are being sued for. Google is fresh off acquiring 1,100 patents from IBM after they had lost the Nortel bid. HTC paid $300 million for S3 Graphics (really its patents) to gain some leverage in their pending lawsuit with Apple. Cynics might observe that patent holders around the world are looking to cash in on pending lawsuits as everyone is suing everyone in the mobile space.

*thanks 9to5mac*

Cross-posted on 247Driod.com
Send us a story or tip @ TipsForLimerain.com@gmail.com and follow our pages for the latest limera1n, rubyra1n, and all tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @iphonepixelpost or @limerain_com
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