Patent Wars

Apple continues to fight the manufacturers of Android devices in court systems around the world, with some successes and some failures.

In watching part of the 2007 iPhone introduction the other day, these images remind me of why Apple has to fight for these patents in court.  Exhibit #1: This is what “smart phones” looked like before the iPhone…

I owned a Handspring Treo.  The Internet capability of the device was terrible.

Exhibit #2: This is what Apple brought to the table with the iPhone:

The iPhone feels so COMMON in 2012.  We’re used to multi-touch devices, not only on iPhones, but iPod Touches, iPod Nanos, iPads, and even devices from other vendors.  It seems like multi-touch should be a “shared” standard, but in truth, one company made it work (Apple).  And they patented it like crazy.

Now, if the world has changed (it has), and multi-touch is the standard (it is), those other companies should be paying royalties to Apple for its intellectual property–but they don’t want to do that.  It’s not a question of Apple asking too much for royalties, it’s an issue of those companies simply stealing the technology.

Apple’s chosen to go after hardware vendors instead of Google, as Google “just” provides an Operating System.  I wonder what will happen when Google enters the market with the Nexus Tablet later this month?

(Google did have their own branded phone at one point which was a terrible flop.  If you note, Microsoft and Google are getting on board with controlling the entire ecosystem of their products–software and hardware.  It seems that a company that has been criticized for this for years [but is insanely profitable, even with fewer devices sold] has had the right idea in controlling both the hardware and software experience).


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