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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. Doppler's Avatar
      Doppler -
      Quote Originally Posted by cpkirkley View Post
      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...
      Apple is within their right to sue someone for infringement. It's up to the courts to decide if a company has or has not. We can say "it isn't right" or "it is right", and it doesn't mean squat. Apple is still right to do what they feel they must do to protect their investment, patents, and copyrights. If the courts find HTC/Google doing it then they are in the wrong plain and simple. If the courts find they are not then they can continue doing what they are doing. No matter what we say has no bearing.

      I would also like to add. How they do business? So they are supposed to bend over and take it when another company is making money off their work? If EU says Google/HTC is committing infringement that is what you are telling them to do. As you said it yourself you gave up your iPhone so what does it matter to you other than you losing some features that belongs to Apple?Could some of those features make the Android less appealing? If it does then it certainly means Android platform has been making money off Apple's patents, and copyrights.

      I think it's within Apple's right to sue to ensure they protect what is theirs. There is no wrong in what Apple does in the case. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it wrong. They are backed by the law. If it was wrong Apple couldn't do what they are doing now don't you think? Case would have been thrown out the window as soon as it hit the judges desk. So Apple must have some merit in the case.

      They talk about 10 infringements, but there are actually 20. 10 are all that are listed. I wonder what the other 10 are about.
    1. chickenwings's Avatar
      chickenwings -
      Taking your view point Apple should pay Nokia, Apple have actually stolen technology and research from Nokia that is far more important than the patents they are suing HTC over - namely how a mobile phone works as a mobile phone. All major phone manufactures recognize Nokia for their work and pay to use their tech and research, Apple think they are above this and think its unreasonable yet they readily expect other companies who create similar products to pay them, Apple is angry and is using whatever means to try and disrupt the competition as they see Android and specifically HTC due to the up and coming release of some very good smartphones, so IMO Apple shouldn't sue but innovate, put money into new ideas to recapture the excitement of the first iPhone because atm Android is doing that.
    1. dg645's Avatar
      dg645 -
      Funny how an asian company has been in court with Apple regarding infringement on their touch technology yet the analy-proprietary Apple is cying and suing HTC for infringements. Seems like Apple is a scared pathetic little company that does not practice what they preach.

      For those that didn't know that....the rights to the touch technology is owned by an Asian company but Apple didn't bother paying them for stealing their technology, so now they're in court.

      I don't own an Apple, never will, can't do a damn thing with it because the anal propriety crap. No wonder MS dominates the world market. I do own an iPod, but that will stop when a more user-friendly device has surfaced by a better company with less fears.

      *NOTE: There are apps on the appstore and on jailbreak sites, some of these apps are violating privacy laws by sending your information without your knowledge to the author. This is how some apps are checking for cracked versions of their app. This includes email apps that store your email passwords where the app is coded to send information from your device to the author in the background. Some won't even function without a connection even if the app doesn't need one to work. Use FIREWALL IP or just be careful.

      EDIT: Google this: sues apple

      You'd be amazed at the lawsuits, I didn't know it but they even sued a school and a grocery company whose logo looked nothing like theirs.
    1. Doppler's Avatar
      Doppler -
      I guess you two didn't read everything I typed or understand what I type.

      I don't care if it's Apple, Nokia, RIM, Palm, and whatever company that wants to sue. It is within their RIGHT to sue anyone they believe is infringing on their patents or copyrights. Even if you don't not agree with it doesn't mean it's WRONG.

      No matter what we say it holds no bearings on what is at hand. Courts will decide and that will be the end of it. If you don't like a company for suing another company well then don't buy their products and don't support them. If you buy their products you are supporting them. They still get money from you.

      I don't care about the lawsuits, as all companies will do it from time to time to jockey for position. Honestly looking at some of the patents Apple has a case. Before anyone calls me a Apple Fanboy... I have 3 Android devices and 1 iPhone 3GS(sitting in it's box). I am calling it down the middle. Do I care if Apple wins? No. Do I care if they don't? No. I'd still use my devices I paid for. If I didn't like the devices how they are or I can't make the devices do what I want to do within reasoning then I don't buy them.

      Quote Originally Posted by dg645 View Post

      *NOTE: There are apps on the appstore and on jailbreak sites, some of these apps are violating privacy laws by sending your information without your knowledge to the author. This is how some apps are checking for cracked versions of their app. This includes email apps that store your email passwords where the app is coded to send information from your device to the author in the background. Some won't even function without a connection even if the app doesn't need one to work. Use FIREWALL IP or just be careful.

      EDIT: Google this: sues apple

      You'd be amazed at the lawsuits, I didn't know it but they even sued a school and a grocery company whose logo looked nothing like theirs.
      Sometimes it states information is being sent anonymously if you read the ToS. If you accept the ToS then you agree to it. If you didn't read it you can't blame the company if you just found out later on and say you didn't agree to it. Google's own ToS is a prime example. Some people just don't read.
    1. bengo's Avatar
      bengo -
      Nokia sure backed off... with the N900. Nokia is not afraid of Apple, they are already suing each other.
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      Quote Originally Posted by screamforme02 View Post
      Apple is a bunch of haters :P suck it apple should be happy you had the head start you've had
      WTF, dude, really? They should be happy? They basically bet the ranch on the success of the iPhone and iTunes as appliance and distribution for content. And it paid off in spades. They worked for it. MS was the company that 'lucked' and cajoled their way into success.

      Apple is a bunch of haters? They created a market where none had existed and a lot of people are making some serious bank off it (eg., there would be no Cydia or MMY were it not for Apple.)

      And, yes, this is not about scaring anyone who wants to come out with a new phone, with a new interface and a new way of doing things. It's entirely about protecting their IP -- that's 'Intellectual Property'. That's what they created. Would I be going out too far on a limb to suggest that you're in the 'software wants to be free' group along with all the other TPB leachers?

      If you came out with something that looked like a Mac, and called it a 'Wac', that ran 'X OS' instead of 'OS X', expect to get sued. Apple has a ton of patents relating to their products. You may think they've gone over the top with some of their patents (I think the patent office folks need some help to better weed out the frivolous and unoriginal ideas), but until they've been successfully challenged, those patents are something they need to and do actively protect -- for the same reason 'Coca Cola' sues anyone trying to use 'Coke' as a generic term: it's a brand name, it's their IP.

      So, I don't think there was anything wrong with what Cook said. If HTC wants to innovate and come up with something new that isn't in an Apple patent, they'd be set. But look at their history: they started out making other companies stuff (HP/Compaq) and when they started making their own branded stuff most of it was knock-offs of that, or Motorola, or Nokia, running WinMobile. Hardly innovative.
    1. chickenwings's Avatar
      chickenwings -
      The most HTC phones are innovated, new and very good, MS didn't 'luck' there way to the top, thats an ignorant statement, the is a reason why MS is the market leader and the standard used for across world both in the home and business, I'm not saying Apple hasn't worked hard but I don't like their tactics, I know all companies doe stuff like this but Apple seem to do it alot and expect others to bend over but refuse to pay themselves. Personally I wish HTC the best, Android at its current rate of growth is doing very well and could quite easily sneak up on Apple.
    1. Doppler's Avatar
      Doppler -
      Quote Originally Posted by chickenwings View Post
      The most HTC phones are innovated, new and very good, MS didn't 'luck' there way to the top, thats an ignorant statement, the is a reason why MS is the market leader and the standard used for across world both in the home and business, I'm not saying Apple hasn't worked hard but I don't like their tactics, I know all companies doe stuff like this but Apple seem to do it alot and expect others to bend over but refuse to pay themselves. Personally I wish HTC the best, Android at its current rate of growth is doing very well and could quite easily sneak up on Apple.
      What is Apple did pay up, but the company got greedy? Like with Nokia suing Apple? There are at times when a company agrees with another company to allow this patent for that patent to be used in a device. One company does well, and the other doesn't. Then backs out of the agreement. So what happens both companies sue each other for the patents used in each other devices. Sometimes these agreements are verbal.

      This is why no matter what we think or say doesn't matter we are not there, and have nothing on what's going on until everything is presented to the courts, and they reveal their findings.
    1. lilsundevil02's Avatar
      lilsundevil02 -
      I love apple products and the iPhone but I do feel that Apple is going a little over the top.