Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner has issued a behind-the-scenes report on the patent suits Apple filed last week against HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker. As noted by “Fortune” (http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/03/09/apple-talks-tough-to-handset-makers/?source=yahoo_quote), Reiner told clients:
“Starting in January, Apple launched a series of C-Level discussions with tier-1 handset makers to underscore its growing displeasure at seeing its iPhone-related IP [intellectual property] infringed. The lawsuit filed against HTC thus appears to be Apple’s way of putting a public, lawyered-up exclamation point on a series of blunt conversations that have been occurring behind closed doors.
“Our checks also suggest that these warning shots are meaningfully disrupting the development roadmaps for would-be iPhone killers. Rival software and hardware teams are going back to the drawing board to look for work-arounds. Lawyers are redoubling efforts to gauge potential defensive and offensive responses. And strategy teams are working to chart OS strategies that are better hedged.”
Why pick on HTC? “Fortune” says that Reiner feels that the earliest and most aggressive user of Android, HTC was the perfect proxy for Apple’s real target: Google. It helped that Apple and HTC didn’t have any supplier relationships that could be disrupted by a protracted legal battle, the article adds.