Greg's Bite: Apple's problem with 'thermonuclear war'
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's Bite: Apple's problem with 'thermonuclear war'

By Greg Mills

The late Steve Jobs famously stated that he intended to make "thermonuclear war over Android" since it was a stolen product.

Since then, untold millions of dollars on both sides have been spent trying to hash out Apple's valid smartphone and touch screen tablet patent rights. As Apple has become painfully aware, enforcing patent rights around the world is a very costly and highly unpredictable process. Radioactive fallout blows both ways in nuclear war.

Apple's patent litigation has sparked a bidding war the last few years over any patent remotely related to cell phones and mobile computing. Apple has patented everything patentable they can in the US and many other countries. A lot of intellectual property comes out of its R&D efforts. As the old order of dumb cell phone manufacturing companies fail, the legacy patents they hold are often the greatest asset left over when the dust settles.

The prospects for RIM and Nokia are looking particularly grim these days. Both companies tried to compete with Apple and Google in the smartphone operating system sector with proprietary operating systems. Nokia gave up on their smart OS that was in development and embraced a snake in choosing the Widows Mobile OS over Android.  

Microsoft has not been as helpful as advertised and even destroyed Nokia's chance to sell some of their first round of Windows Mobile phones.Announcing months ahead of time that the next Windows OS incarnation would not run on existing Nokia smartphones effectively made obsolete the current Nokia Windows phones a long time before the new phones could be launched. When you shoot yourself in the foot you figure you had it coming. When your software partner shoots you in the foot, it tends to sour the relationship.  

RIM has announced that the long overdue OS needed to operate their latest and greatest smartphones will come out in January. Only then will we know what major gaps there are in that platform. RIM is not likely to be around much longer as it continues to shed market share to Apple and Google. Their patent portfolio may offer investors some consolation as stock prices plummet.  

The truth is, that there just isn't enough market out there for more than two or, Microsoft hopes, three mobile operating system platforms. Apple has shown that the infrastructure required to succeed in the smartphone market is based on three legs: a decent touch screen operating system, good hardware and lots of apps.  Even with decent hardware, a flaky operating system and almost no apps may doom RIM's new products before they are even launched.  

Apple pretty much attacked the handset makers rather than Google head-on in the legal nuclear war since a lot of actual infringement is due to modifications to the open source Android OS. The military concept of "divide and conquer" seems to be working for Apple. Despite Google's stated plan for defending Android handset makers from Apple's onslaught, Samsung and the others can now see that Android is far from free. By the time you pay Microsoft and Apple off for their intellectual property, the Android OS cost factor will be noticeable on their bottom lines.

The notion of nuclear war is that you take no prisoners, you just ignite your enemies with a blinding flash of released energy and they are dead, the war is over, just that quick. The sanitized version of nuclear war seldom takes into account the spread of radiation that blows back your direction. The doomsday aspect to nuclear war has actually protected the world from it as it would certainly take a mad man to set it off. 

While I doubt Steve Jobs would easily have settled for royalties in Apple's battle with HTC, Cook is more of a pragmatic leader and he sees the long term reality that Android is here to stay, patents not withstanding. Even billion dollar judgments are not going to stop Samsung and the rest. It is better to collect cash royalties than be distracted by a costly holy war that isn't going anywhere anyway.  

All of this goes to prove that product development secrecy is a far more practical solution to the copycat problem than patents alone. By the time a patent is allowed these days, the window of technical usefulness of the technology is at least half over. Technology is advancing far faster than the intellectual property rights system that is supposed to protect innovators.  

All a patent gives inventors is the right to sue in Federal Court. The US Federal Courts move with all the speed of a glacier, and it costs so much to litigate that only the world's largest companies can do battle there. That is why the international trade commissions have become the de facto quick fix for patent disputes.   

While the actual deal between HTC and Apple was intended to be kept confidential, already tidbits are coming out that for less than US$10 per phone, Apple is blinking. For HTC's part, the money is well spent. Apple has the money and attorneys  to beat them to death, win or lose, and to keep uncertain future product development.  

Apple can possibly even block HTC's right to even sell its products in the US. The Samsung win has to be on the minds of all the Android gang. Even if Samsung is able to overcome the judgment against them, a retrial would likely come out the same way.

I suspect that had Apple been willing to have made cross-licensing patent deals earlier, the other Android handset makers would already have settled as well. Look for Samsung, Motorola and the other Android handset makers to settle with Apple. The royalty cross-licensing deals that are quite lopsided in Apple's direction will be the only hope of justice Apple is likely to see.  

The legal nuclear war is probably just about over, and while Apple didn't destroy Android as Steve Jobs hoped, it is likely that Apple could see $2 billion dollars a year coming in from Android licensing deals. This will put a lot of patent attorneys out of work.  

On another sour note, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that Surface sales had been "modest." That is Microsoft spin language that means, in plain English, devastatingly morbid.  The guy at Microsoft responsible for Windows has just been canned. Reviews of their critical new Windows PC OS have been very negative as well. Numerous large companies have already stated that they intend to "sit this PC OS upgrade out." Sounds like the Microsofts Vista 2.0 debacle.

I hope Microsoft is not able to hire Scott Forstall. He might actually be able to fix Windows for them.  

Finally, a good note to end on; while Google has placed my street in the "later on" category for getting the super fast 1Gig Internet service installed, I caught installers from Atlantic Engineering, the contractor installing Kansas CIty's high speed Internet fiber, stringing that magic black cable three doors down. That has to mean we will get service sooner or later here. Sooner would be fine.  

That is Greg's Bite.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

iClock Pro 3.4.7 - Customize your menuba...
iClock Pro is a menu bar replacement clock for Apple's default clock. iClock Pro is an update, total rewrite and improvement to the popular iClock. Have the day, date and time in different fonts and... Read more
PhotoDesk 4.1.5 - Instagram client for p...
PhotoDesk lets you view, like, comment, and download Instagram pictures/videos. (NO Uploads! / Image Posting! Instagram forbids that! AND you need an existing Instagram account). But you can do so... Read more
Capo 3.5.1 - Slow down and learn to play...
Capo lets you slow down your favorite songs so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played. With Capo, you can quickly tab out your songs atop a highly-detailed OpenCL-powered spectrogram... Read more
HandBrake 1.0.2 - Versatile video encode...
HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. Features Supported Sources VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted... Read more
Sound Studio 4.8.6 - Robust audio record...
Sound Studio lets you easily record and professionally edit audio on your Mac. Easily rip vinyls and digitize cassette tapes, or record lectures and voice memos. Prepare for live shows with live... Read more
HandBrake 1.0.2 - Versatile video encode...
HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. Features Supported Sources VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted... Read more
PhotoDesk 4.1.5 - Instagram client for p...
PhotoDesk lets you view, like, comment, and download Instagram pictures/videos. (NO Uploads! / Image Posting! Instagram forbids that! AND you need an existing Instagram account). But you can do so... Read more
Sound Studio 4.8.6 - Robust audio record...
Sound Studio lets you easily record and professionally edit audio on your Mac. Easily rip vinyls and digitize cassette tapes, or record lectures and voice memos. Prepare for live shows with live... Read more
Capo 3.5.1 - Slow down and learn to play...
Capo lets you slow down your favorite songs so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played. With Capo, you can quickly tab out your songs atop a highly-detailed OpenCL-powered spectrogram... Read more
Google Earth 7.1.8.3036 - View and contr...
Google Earth gives you a wealth of imagery and geographic information. Explore destinations like Maui and Paris, or browse content from Wikipedia, National Geographic, and more. Google Earth combines... Read more

Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »
Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »
Z-Exemplar (Games)
Z-Exemplar 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook on s...
Amazon has the 2016 12″ 1.2GHz/512GB Space Gray Retina MacBook (Apple model #MLH82LL/A) on sale for $1299.99 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP. Read more
Twelve South Releases RelaxedLeather Cases fo...
Inspired by the laid-back luxury of burnished leather boots and crafted in rich tones of taupe, herb and marsala, RelaxedLeather cases deliver smart, easy protection for the iPhone 7. Each genuine... Read more
Week’s Best Deal: New 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz Mac...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.0GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for a limited time for $225 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro, Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1274.99 $225 off... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished Mac minis fr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Apple Ranked ‘Most Intimate Brand’
The top ranked ‘”intimate” brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, the largest... Read more
B-Eng introduces SSD Health Check for Mac OS
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based independant Swiss company- B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check 1.0, the company’s new hard drive utility for Mac OS X. As the... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
4-core 3.7GHz Mac Pro on sale for $2290, save...
Guitar Center has the 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro (MD253LL/A) on sale for $2289.97 including free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Their price is a $710 savings over standard MSRP for... Read more
128GB Apple iPad Air 2, refurbished, availabl...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad Air 2s WiFis available for $419 including free shipping. That’s an $80 savings over standard MSRP for this model. A standard Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* macOS Systems Integration Administra...
…most exceptional support available in the industry. SCI is seeking an Junior Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Deer Pa...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Technician - nfrastructure (United S...
Let’s Work Together Apple Technician This position is based in Portland, ME Life at nfrastructure At nfrastructure, we understand that our success results from our Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**467692BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000602-Columbia MO-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.