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Google letter criticizes Apple, Microsoft patent hunts


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Google letter criticizes Apple, Microsoft patent hunts

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Google senior VP and chief legal officer David Drummond has published an open letter criticizing the rush on patents in the mobile industry. "Android is on fire," he writes. "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 thatÃ*s yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers. But AndroidÃ*s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other compan...

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ahhhh the mutually assured destruction of the patent wars Google's upset that they didn't get the patents for the 2.6mil they bid... nothing more.

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Hardly worth the read alas.

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Drummond is 100% correct on this, but there was no need to publish it - the Department of Justice looks to be well on its way to doing a fine job on its own.

The original blog post is here, in case anyone would rather read what Drummond actually wrote without clicking through the MacNN article.
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He's absolutely right, the patent system was meant to drive innovation. Getting paid for coming up with original ideas that change industries is a huge motivator.

And that's exactly why I'm with Apple on this one. Before the iPhone came on the scene, "smart" phones looked nothing like they do today. The iPhone was a paradigm shift and it put the entire industry on its ear. Those of us that criticize Apple now apparently have very short memories.

Call them bogus patents if you will, but Apple's multitouch gestures, UI changes with orientation, zooming and scaling as well as their on-screen keyboard (that actually worked well) were absolutely unique and game changing. Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find another smartphone that doesn't have most, or all of those features.

If Apple had them patented, I'm all for suing anyone who is producing copycat products into oblivion. Call it anti-competitive, but to say that Android isn't a complete rip-off of iOS is disingenuous at best. At least Microsoft had some original thinking in terms of UI to differentiate itself.

Seriously, one has to wonder if Android would look anything like it does today if Eric Schmidt hadn't sat on Apple's board during the time the iPhone was under development. This letter is nothing more than sour grapes on Google's part - and as much as I like Google, I think it's completely shameless.

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Would you then support Google suing Apple for copying Android's OTA updates, notification center and cloud syncing capabilities in iOS 5? Do you think iOS 5 would have most of its new features if not for Android? I can't support patent whining the way it's been going on for the last couple years - if every patent holder sued every time someone made something with similar features, there would be no innovation. Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what everyone's been doing lately, driven mainly by Apple, who owes much of the original iPhone design to the LG Prada anyway. And if corporations forming trusts to bid on patents for the sole purpose of screwing over one competitor doesn't raise an eyebrow for you, I don't even know what to say. I'm confident this will get sorted out fairly, though - Apple can only play the role of old Microsoft for so long before suffering the same consequences.

I do agree that publishing this blog post was in bad taste, though - taking the high road would have been to simply chug along silently with more professionalism than Apple, Microsoft and Oracle are displaying.
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His bellyaching is sour grapes. Nothing more. It's funny how they call these patents "dubious" despite having bid over 3 billion dollars themselves for them, and are out buying up other patents. And never mind how, according to Microsoft, Google was invited to join them and Apple in the joint bid for the Nortel patents, and they declined the invite. How can they even begin to claim that MS and Apple are being anti-competitive in light of that? It would seem that Google has been extremely negligent in paying attention to patent law and otherwise doing their homework, and now it's coming to bite them in the rear. I agree that patent law is broken and severely in need of reform, but until that happens, you have to play by the rules.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discerptor View Post
Would you then support Google suing Apple for copying Android's OTA updates, notification center and cloud syncing capabilities in iOS 5?
If they're patented, absolutely. Although I'm fairly confident that one could find prior art at least in terms of OTA updates and notifications. Cloud syncing is fairly new territory.

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Do you think iOS 5 would have most of its new features if not for Android?
Yes. Mostly because they've been demanded by the customer base pretty much since the iPhone first launched.

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I can't support patent whining the way it's been going on for the last couple years - if every patent holder sued every time someone made something with similar features, there would be no innovation. Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what everyone's been doing lately, driven mainly by Apple, who owes much of the original iPhone design to the LG Prada anyway. And if corporations forming trusts to bid on patents for the sole purpose of screwing over one competitor doesn't raise an eyebrow for you, I don't even know what to say. I'm confident this will get sorted out fairly, though - Apple can only play the role of old Microsoft for so long before suffering the same consequences.
Not sure about you, but I clearly remember watching the keynote when the iPhone launched. I remember being dumbstruck (and I was fairly new on the Apple scene - I wouldn't have characterized myself as a Kool-Aid drinker at the time). I don't recall having seen anything that even vaguely resembled the iPhone, LG Prada or not. All I'm saying is that if a company comes out with a revolutionary product in a particular category - something that changes the way that entire category works - then they should be entitled to the fruits of their labor. And if someone else comes up with a blatant rip-off, then yes, that company should use every weapon in its arsenal to defend that innovation.

I agree, that competition almost always benefits the consumer. But compete with your own original ideas, not by creating a "me too" product.

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As it happens, I ran across this little gem this afternoon:

File:Android mobile phone platform early device.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That looks a heck of a lot like a Blackberry knock-off to me. Note the date; 2008... just a year after the announcement of the iPhone.

Funny how much Android changed in such a short time. I wonder what influenced that?

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For anyone interested, here's Microsoft's response: Google Threw A Punch, Microsoft Fires Back With A Missile | TechCrunch

Looks like Google should have thought this through before starting this argument.

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If you really don't see how much iOS 5 copied Android with virtually all of its new features while asserting that Android is a rip-off of iOS, I'm not even going to continue talking about this. That's selective criticism at its worst - at least I'm acknowledging both parties copying each other. I just don't think that's a bad thing so long as each one brings something substantially new to the table. It's what drives competition. And given how much iOS 5 is taking from Android, I think it's safe to say Apple agrees that the platform brought some pretty good stuff the table.

And of course Google posted an update to the blog post proving Microsoft is full of crap, complete with a DoJ ruling that forced Microsoft to sell those patents and the winning group to give a license to the open-source community because it was a move designed to stifle competition and innovation. So as I said initially: Drummond is correct on this, but he really didn't have to state his case since the Justice Department agrees anyway.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
As it happens, I ran across this little gem this afternoon:

File:Android mobile phone platform early device.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That looks a heck of a lot like a Blackberry knock-off to me. Note the date; 2008... just a year after the announcement of the iPhone.

Funny how much Android changed in such a short time. I wonder what influenced that?
It's totally a Blackberry knock-off. But you know what's really interesting from that photo? I've always thought it was rather bizarre how Android phones have dedicated hardware buttons for back/forward/home. That's just WEIRD! But look at the Android prototype. It has those same buttons! And they make more sense in that form factor, which makes me think they hastily switched Android to a touch screen interface and had to leave those hardware buttons in for some technical reasons.


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The buttons in that photo appear to be Menu, Home, Back and Favorites. The current Android hardware buttons are Menu, Home, Back and Search. As a result, I'm not so sure about the buttons needing to be there for technical reasons. I sometimes find myself frustrated with the lack of a Back button in iOS, and a universal button for the current app's Search function is pretty useful. That said, the tablet version of Android (Honeycomb) makes those buttons all soft keys on the touchscreen, not even keeping a Home button like the iPhone/iPad. It certainly seems like the buttons were left as a holdover from the pre-touchscreen incarnations of Android, though -- remember that Android has been around behind closed doors since 2003, so it has had to evolve as the popular form factors for smart phones have.
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Why Google lashed out at Apple and Microsoft - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech


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It seems Google's statement may have been more of a warning shot than anything else in hindsight. Since they are now acquiring Motorola Mobility, companies that get too fanatical with ridiculous patent lawsuits can get hit with a patent nuke.
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