When Tim Cook led the big Apple Event last month announcing the new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, a lot of comparisons to his predecessor were made. Almost universally, it was declared once again that Tim Cook lacks whatever magic Steve Jobs had on stage. However, perhaps Tim Cook will do a better job of not breaking future patents with his lack of stagecraft; sometimes the ability to project a powerful "reality distortion field" has unintended consequences.
The so-called Patent War has been raging for years, since Steve Jobs described Google's Android operating system as "grand theft" and notoriously declared his willingness to "go thermonuclear war" to "destroy Android, because it's a stolen product." Those are fightin' words, make no mistake. Instead of calling out Google directly, however, Apple targeted the handset manufacturers. There have been dozens of lawsuits filed, and even more appeals, and following the headlines can get rather confusing. Some have even gone so far as to say no one is winning yet, but they are flat-out wrong. Without question, Apple has been simply dominating these Patent Wars, and here is why.
A basic rule of employment is that you pay your employees for the time your require them to be at work. Generally, courts don't look too kindly on companies that force you to stay at work and refuse to pay you for it. Especially if you're keeping them there, off the clock, just to make sure they're not stealing from you, which is apparently exactly what Apple's retail store policy does. Now a couple of former Apple employees are taking on the vaunted Cupertino legal team to make it right. A class-action suit representing over 42,000 employees could get pretty, pretty, pretty expensive. And if that's not enough for Apple to worry about, the company is back in the ring with Google, bickering about negotiating tactics. All in another week of Law & Apple!
The European Commission smacks Motorola for using patents as leverage rather than tools for innovation (cough, cough), a major Taiwanese University is suing Apple in Texas, and Apple is begging the court for a peek at Android's goods. Another week, another round of courtroom drama in Law & Apple.
If the world could vote on the patent wars, no matter which side you support, we suspect most would vote for them to just go away. Providing, of course, that there was some way to keep companies from slavishly copying each other. But, since we don't get to vote on that particular initiative, the best we can do is follow along at home, and there seems to always be something new to follow. This past week, Apple got the door slammed on one lawsuit while trying fatten up another one. The pollsters never seem to get these things exactly right, do they?
Losing a court case is never fun, and it is decidedly less fun when the loss results in having to write really big checks. Surely, a company that finds itself on the wrong side of a ruling has every right, and responsibility, to mitigate its losses, but do they have to be so nasty about it?
In the aftermath of Apple's billion dollar courtroom win against Samsung last week, many people are wondering just what this means for the future of the smartphone. Some stores are already reporting a massive dropoff in Android device sales since the ruling. But is Apple really the winner in this case? Let's break it down.
Jury deliberations finally begin today in the super-trial between Apple and Samsung. True to form with the case, there was drama and surprises right up to the final statements.
Meanwhile, and just in time for a much hoped for iPhone 5 launch, Google's Motorola filed a new patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington.
WWDC 2012 week is winding down, which means things should get back to normal next week ahead of the July release of OS X Mountain Lion. Then again, Google could pull a rabbit out of its hat at its own I/O developer conference coming at the end of the month, so we have that to look forward to as well. For now, let’s get a dose of tech news for this Thursday, June 14, 2012.