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  • Apple Sues HTC to Scare Competitors


    Apple is suing rival phone maker HTC - whose popular phones are helping drive the upswing in Android sales - in order to scare off other potential competitors, according to a financial analyst with ties to the mobile phone industry. Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer Research said in a report to his clients that his "industry checks" led him to the conclusion that the legal action is "meaningfully disrupting" manufacturers' plans for new phones.

    According to Fortune magazine's Apple 2.0 blog, Reiner traces the hardball Apple strategy back to a conference call early last year, where Apple number-two Tim Cook issued a blunt warning to any company thinking of making an iPhone killer. He said Apple "will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we'll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal," concluding - in a combination of corporate formality and mafioso-style threat - that "I don't know that I can be more clear than that."

    Reiner said that the warning had the desired effect on companies thinking of coming out with touchscreen phones: LG, Samsung, and Nokia all backed off. When Palm came out with its Pre, Apple pretty much turned the other way, since Palm sells so few phones compared to Apple. When the Motorola Droid and HTC Eris Android-based phones shipped at the end of the year, though, the strategy shifted. Reiner says Apple figured that if it didn't respond to the challenge, other competitors would consider it a "green light." So Apple pounced on HTC, which - unlike Motorola - works with different suppliers than Apple does, and which manufactures the Nexus One phone for the Cupertino company's hated rival: Google.

    Reiner says the strategy is working. Up until now, he wrote, companies have been mainly focused on avoiding making their mobiles too "iPhone-like" in terms of the user interface. Now, he says, they are looking at any technology that might come under a patent challenge. "We believe a lot of software and hardware is being sent back to engineering departments for work-arounds," Reiner told his clients.

    Apple sued HTC last week in both the US International Trade Commission and the US. District Court in Delaware, charging that HTC had infringed more than 20 patents on iPhone technology. The suit asks for HTC to be banned from importing and selling phones into the US, and demands triple damages and maximum interest.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Sues HTC to Scare Competitors started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 49 Comments
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Dammit, screw the iPhone. If companies stopped making interfaces like the iPhone the world would be a better place.

      BUTTONS AREN'T EVIL. Let's get some real buttons on phones... the iPhone was a step back in usability.
    1. dillonsmith9147's Avatar
      dillonsmith9147 -
      Hopefully apple sinks a bunch of money into a failed lawsuit and teaches them a lesson, everyone copies each other and adds a little bit of a better touch. Theres no way around it and patents only help if it is exactly alike, the slightest differnce will help you win. Go HTC! set apple straight and hurry up with nexus one for at&t
    1. Go Gators's Avatar
      Go Gators -
      I love my iPhone 3gs and my MacBook Pro but I have to say that I am getting sick and tired of the company Apple is becoming. They are a bunch of control freaks now that want to restrict their customers and control how we use the products we own. It's complete BS! For the first time in 3 years I'm seriously considering selling my 3gs on Ebay and buying the Nexus One. My friend has one at work and it is an awesome phone! Definitely better than the current iPhone 3gs.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      Dammit, screw the iPhone. If companies stopped making interfaces like the iPhone the world would be a better place.

      BUTTONS AREN'T EVIL. Let's get some real buttons on phones... the iPhone was a step back in usability.
      Seriously....? A step back? Wow, you should not own an iPhone.
    1. Williamdta's Avatar
      Williamdta -
      Quote Originally Posted by lolcats1 View Post
      erm, socialism simply means to have all industry owned by the government. socialism is the innability of companies to make any decisions at all, scaring off competition is unmoderated capitalism.

      kid, how old are you?
      your correct on the socialism thing,but what apple is trying to do is become a monopoly,which is specifically barred by us law
    1. JP101's Avatar
      JP101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by adp View Post
      Scare off competition? That sounds like socialism to me...wouldn't be much different to today's government though.
      I wouldn't say Socialism as much as monopoly. But even still, I disagree. If they were suing EVERY phone company that put out a phone, and were pushing more and more Apple phones on people until there were no other choices left...then yes.

      But this is a case of copyright infringement. That's a major no-no, especially in the US. Apple, is in the right. And besides. HTC blows major balls! I had the wing. WORST. PHONE. EVER! I have had free phones that worked better than that piece of crap. I hope Apple wins and gets everything they are after.
    1. MMSiphone's Avatar
      MMSiphone -
      Apple is totally in their legal right. They invested millions into the research and development of these technologies, and should be able to defend their investments.
    1. JP101's Avatar
      JP101 -
      I just have one question. If Google is the "Hated Rival" of Apple, why do they have Google Maps and Google Search on the iPhone?
    1. Tunerfreak's Avatar
      Tunerfreak -
      Quote Originally Posted by JP101 View Post
      But this is a case of copyright infringement. That's a major no-no, especially in the US. Apple, is in the right. And besides. HTC blows major balls! I had the wing. WORST. PHONE. EVER! I have had free phones that worked better than that piece of crap. I hope Apple wins and gets everything they are after.
      um how exactly is it copyright infringement just cause apple says so? its clearly a scare tacit because apple knows they have competition now and are losing ground. BTW just cause you had a bad experience with one phone dont mean HTC is bad, i mean my iphone broke i dont know how many times and i still thought of it as a great phone until i switched cause i got sick of fixing it

      Quote Originally Posted by JP101 View Post
      I just have one question. If Google is the "Hated Rival" of Apple, why do they have Google Maps and Google Search on the iPhone?
      maybe you have not payed attention lately but at one time they were friends and then went downhill after apple rejected google's app for not apparent reason, then apple started making their own mapping service that is speculated to come out in 4.0
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      Nobody beat them yet. But eventually somebody is gonna make a break though.
    1. mudrock1000's Avatar
      mudrock1000 -
      I don't see Apple winning, and anyone who thinks Apple is doing the right thing needs a kick in the balls...hard. I don't care what device you use, the iPhone is not the only phone on the market. If apple sues one, they have to sue every effing phone maker in the US, and Microsoft, and Google. Good luck Apple.

      I saw someone say Apple is protecting what is theirs. Ok there's one problem with that. APPLE DID NOT INVENT MOST OF THESE THINGS, and even if they did, how come HTC is the first one to be sued? IN fact, how come not Google? It is a Google branded phone.

      This is because the iphone is dieing and jobs is too damned afraid to let anyone mess with his phone.
    1. mavrik101's Avatar
      mavrik101 -
      Buttons on an iPhone? If thats what you want, get a different phone. I hate slide out keyboards or exposed keys. Just my opinion

      Hey, is that a pic of Musclenerd?
    1. wolverinemarky's Avatar
      wolverinemarky -
      good job apple cause ur gonna end up paying nokia so u might as well have someone pay u lol
    1. Doppler's Avatar
      Doppler -
      guys... there is no such thing as a monopoly... How many cell manufacturers are there? Pantech, RIM, Samsung, LG, HTC, and I know there's a lot more. Apple isn't the only company that makes cell phones. If you honestly don't like how they do business you can always go elsewhere and buy a different phone. Nothing is forcing you to buy the iPhone or going to AT&T.

      If you don't like it, don't buy it. This will do more than just buying it and then crying about it. YOU still BOUGHT it. Company makes money. Look at Sprint for example they used to be tops, and when people started leaving them due to pricing, bad customer service, and service in general. They almost had to sell, but they opted to try and change and try to be an innovator. They dropped their prices and their customer service is starting to get a little better, and they pushed out 4G. Do you think Sprint would have done what they done if nobody left, and kept fitting the bill?
    1. Tunerfreak's Avatar
      Tunerfreak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doppler View Post
      guys... there is no such thing as a monopoly... How many cell manufacturers are there? Pantech, RIM, Samsung, LG, HTC, and I know there's a lot more. Apple isn't the only company that makes cell phones. If you honestly don't like how they do business you can always go elsewhere and buy a different phone. Nothing is forcing you to buy the iPhone or going to AT&T.

      If you don't like it, don't buy it. This will do more than just buying it and then crying about it. YOU still BOUGHT it. Company makes money. Look at Sprint for example they used to be tops, and when people started leaving them due to pricing, bad customer service, and service in general. They almost had to sell, but they opted to try and change and try to be an innovator. They dropped their prices and their customer service is starting to get a little better, and they pushed out 4G. Do you think Sprint would have done what they done if nobody left, and kept fitting the bill?
      i would say that 90% of the people here agree with the fact that you dont have to buy it (see the users that replied supporting apple in this), i never liked apples practices but i still had an iphone for a while then left for android but its the people that buy their stuff because it is the norm and feel as if it is a status symbol to have such a device that keeps apple making products. these people cant think for themselves and just go with the flow
    1. chickenwings's Avatar
      chickenwings -
      To be honest you shouldn't be able to patent software, the EU don't allow it so really the whole idea of suing is stupid. Apple are pro profit not pro consumers so they don't care about competition.
    1. Doppler's Avatar
      Doppler -
      Quote Originally Posted by chickenwings View Post
      To be honest you shouldn't be able to patent software, the EU don't allow it so really the whole idea of suing is stupid. Apple are pro profit not pro consumers so they don't care about competition.
      Actually that's incorrect. Software can be patented in Europe. Should read the EU laws more carefully. There are instances where they can be patented. Also tell me one company that isn't pro profit. That's the point of a business is to make money. honestly if a company was pro consumer they'd be out of business. Especially in this time and age where everyone wants everything for little to no money.

      EU allows patents to software in conjunction with hardware or technical contribution. For example would be a X- Ray machine with new software that assists the X-Ray machine. The iPhone and iPhone OS.

      Some of the iPhone patents that Apple claims HTC has infringed on would fall under this one:
      an invention in which an increase in processing speed in a computer was achieved by a new and non-obvious method.

      There's a few others, but I won't go deep into it. Even though some stuff might not be patentable they still fall under copyright, and copyright infringement and patent infringement to me are the same. They are both wrong to do.
    1. chickenwings's Avatar
      chickenwings -
      Doppler, I'm not saying its wrong that they are pro profit for obvious business reasons, however you need to strike a balance and as for you X-Ray example I would hardly say the iPhone OS is the same and its funny how it isn't patented in the EU and thats why all these law suits Apple and throwing around only involve US imports etc. To be honest in my opinion Apple shouldn't sue, HTC are doing great things for the mobile phone industry and Apple feel threatened, Apple haven't really innovated with the iPhone since it was first released and if Apple expect HTC to pay etc then they should have to pay etc to Nokia for actually stealing how mobile phones work. All Apple are doing is alienating their customers however like previous posts people will still buy Apple iPhones but you shouldn't sue of the iPhone OS.
    1. 24trepid's Avatar
      24trepid -
      Aw, is poor little Apple getting scared of the competition ....
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      All you guys thinking that apple is just doing the right thing here, think about this for a second. Why is it that all the devices brought up in the suit are involving Android OS and not WinMo? HTC has been making devices with slide to unlock since the Manila Interface came out on the Diamond, which was also a Windows Mobile phone. Users at X D A have been making iPhone knockoff today screens on Windows Mobile since the OS was first shown off. No cease and desist letters, no acknowledgement whatsoever.


      *Looks at his recently purchased multi-touch, capacitive screen HD2, with gesture based unlock, that runs Windows Mobile*

      Apple is after Google, plain and simple. They are afraid of the momentum Android has picked up, which is justified. Theyve gotten complacent with their products and it has allowed a search engine company make a OS that has surpassed their own. What makes it despicable is their back alley approach to attacking the problem. I understand companies are created to make money, but the way in which they do such is as important to me as the product they offer. Glad I sold my 3gs and got back to a platform that is both powerful and open. Not to mention FAR superior to the iPhone in every technical aspect. I dont care about the lack of software, it has what I use, and as far as games, I can play every GBA game ever created, and can run Final Fantasy 9 at 60FPS, without needing to jailbreak. Real Racing? How bout GranTurismo with tilt steering...