“We are not a party to this lawsuit,” a Google spokesperson told the website. “However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it.”
Of course, no one really believes that HTC’s hardware is the sole target in Apple’s suit -- after all, CEO Steve Jobs has said in the past that it’s the iPhone OS itself that is more important than the hardware it’s running on, so they likely believe the same regarding Android.
Apple’s lawsuit specifically targets HTC’s Android-powered handsets, including Google’s own Nexus One as well as the Magic/MyTouch 3G, the Dream/G1, the Hero and the Droid Eris. So why isn’t Google themselves named in the suit? After all, Apple didn’t seem to fire their opening salvo until Google turned on multitouch support one month ago with their Nexus One… so the timing seems a little fortuitous.
Meanwhile, AppleInsider is reporting that Apple likely has “better than 50/50 odds” in coming out on top of the legal battle with HTC. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf told investors in a note this morning that an Apple victory could result in the patent violators “being forced to change the user interface on their devices” or even having the offending devices banned from the U.S. market.
“Apple invested heavily and imaginatively in designing a unique, disruptive smartphone,” Wolf writes. “In our review, the company has every right to protect the iPhone’s unique features.”
Wolf predicts that Apple’s lawsuit is only “the first salvo in what could be a long and bloody battle” with HTC.