Greg's Bite: is Apple a patent bully?
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's Bite: is Apple a patent bully?

By Greg Mills

Recent interviews with Google executives have pandered to the notion that Apple is doing something inherently evil asserting patent rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Without the ability to gain an advantage over competitors in making a profit from new ideas, innovation will not be sustainable.  

Rather than being a "patent bully," Apple has led the flock in the electronics segment for so long, somehow the followers have come to think stealing Apple's best ideas are in the public interest. That is nuts. It is in the interest of the companies that waste billions of dollars on R&D or have management that can't see the future when they hold it in their hands.  

Samsung struck a similar note when they said that Apple wanted to limit innovation. The opposite is actually true. Innovation costs money -- lots of money -- and there are ideas that copycats like Samsung don't have the right to steal. 

Research and development is an interesting thing from a corporate management angle. Spend too little and your competition will beat you to the next big thing and freeze you out. Spend too much foolishly and you will see your market share and market cap decline. The one thing Apple has is focus. Once they decide to do something, stand back.

The advantage of being able to choose the product ideas that have the most merit early saves billions of dollars in wasted R&D funds. Steve Jobs said that choosing what not to do was more important that choosing what to do. Ideas are cheap; brilliant ideas are more costly, but focusing on only a few good ideas is what makes Apple thrive.

Companies that are known for innovation have policies that encourage thinking outside the box. I have been to 3M Labs a number of times to discuss some of my ideas. They have a policy of allowing R&D employees time each week to play with interesting ideas that might lead to new products. Post It Notes are one such idea that took off and make 3M a lot of money. Monetizing good ideas is something 3M excels at. There is a quotation from the founder of 3M above the door leading to the labs that reads "buy it by the inch and sell it by the mile."  

Simply having good ideas isn't enough; you also have to choose the ideas that fit the company and have the potential to make money. Back when copy machines were the big thing, Xerox had money and loads of great ideas that never found a pathway to development within the company. Steve Jobs had what the leaders of Xerox didn't have: vision. The rest is history.

I read an article on "fixing Microsoft." Frankly, any plan to fix Microsoft that doesn't start with firing Balmer is doomed to failure. Missing the boat on the next big thing is now culturally engrained at Microsoft. The "it wasn't invented here so it must not be a good idea" syndrome has put Microsoft several years behind in all the categories they should have been leading in. PC operating systems, mobile OS, touch screen tablets, smartphones and cloud computing technology are all being done better and sooner by Apple.

The punishment for not innovating in the electronics sector is brutal. Microsoft, once the most valuable company in the world, is now worth less that Apple's iPhone business alone. Microsoft has lost half its market cap since Gates retired.  Microsoft is now in the position where others must fail to allow them to succeed.  If Android fails, Windows Mobile might be the only viable alternative. Bill Gates once stated that "the company that fails to obsolete its own product is doomed to see its competition do it." The slide in market share for the PC, and the rise of Apple's OS and iOS, is a case in point.  

Samsung and Google have made their bed and now they must sleep in it. While Apple still buys tons of parts from Samsung, the patent infringement situation may well be behind a shift to alternative suppliers. Apple's anger regarding Android has soured the situation between Google and Apple for the long term. Maps is only the beginning of that story. Even Google knows Siri is a shot across the bow of the search business that makes the money Google spends on everything else.  

Apple's advantage is that they can hook Siri up to use any search engine they want and users will go along. Just as Apple has gone their own way with Maps, the search engine business is potentially a giant money maker.  

Having gotten into advertising, we will see Apple leverage that into its products and services. Microsoft has spent a bundle on Bing and still spends money trying to get it working from the standpoint of making money. Yahoo is also floundering.  Hopefully, their new CEO can turn Yahoo around.  

Sprint is another company that has floundered by making bad decisions. Selling the iPhone has been both a boon and blunder for them. While they are capturing new customers with an aggressive unlimited data plan, the ClearWire, Nextel and 4G cellular network mistakes have made Sprint stock virtual junk.

I have speculated that if Apple spent only the profit on the iPhone sold to Sprint to simply buy the company, the stock would double over night in value. If Apple owned a major cellular network, they could push the iCloud connection for everything they sell.

Some consolidation is likely with Apple growing and key competitors and potential takeover targets out there. So far, most of Apple's acquisitions have been small potatoes. That may change.  

That is Greg's Bite.


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Planet Diver guide - How to survive long...
Planet Diver is an endless arcade game about diving through planets while dodging lava, killing bats, and collecting Starstuff. Here are some tips to help you go the distance. [Read more] | Read more »
KORG iDS-10 (Music)
KORG iDS-10 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: ** Debut Discount: 50% OFF! Sale Price US$9.99 (Regular price US$19.99). Other all Korg apps are also 50% OFF until Dec 28! **... | Read more »
World of Tanks Generals guide - Tips and...
World of Tanks Generals is a brand new card game by the developer behind the World of Tanks shooter franchise. It plays like a cross between chess and your typical card game. You have to keep in consideration where you place your tanks on the board... | Read more »
TruckSimulation 16 guide: How to succeed...
Remember those strangely enjoyable truck missions in Grand Theft Auto V whereit was a disturbing amount of fun to deliver cargo? TruckSimulation 16 is reminiscent of that, and has you play the role of a truck driver who has to deliver various... | Read more »
The best GIF making apps
Animated GIFs have exploded in popularity recently which is likely thanks to a combination of Tumblr, our shorter attention spans, and the simple fact they’re a lot of fun. [Read more] | Read more »
The best remote desktop apps for iOS
We've been sifting through the App Store to find the best ways to do computer tasks on a tablet. That gave us a thought - what if we could just do computer tasks from our tablets? Here's a list of the best remote desktop apps to help you use your... | Read more »
Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade guide - How...
Warhammer 40,000: Freebladejust launched in the App Store and it lets you live your childhood dream of blowing up and slashing a bunch of enemies as a massive, hulking Space Marine. It's not easy being a Space Marine though - and particularly if... | Read more »
Gopogo guide - How to bounce like the be...
Nitrome just launched a new game and, as to be expected, it's a lot of addictive fun. It's called Gopogo, and it challenges you to hoparound a bunch of platforms, avoiding enemies and picking up shiny stuff. It's not easy though - just like the... | Read more »
Sago Mini Superhero (Education)
Sago Mini Superhero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KAPOW! Jack the rabbit bursts into the sky as the Sago Mini Superhero! Fly with Jack as he lifts impossible weights,... | Read more »
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes guide - How...
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is all about collecting heroes, powering them up, and using them together to defeat your foes. It's pretty straightforward stuff for the most part, but increasing your characters' stats can be a bit confusing because it... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

World’s First USB-C Adapter For MacBook Suppo...
Innergie, a brand of Delta Electronics, has announced its official release of the world’s first USB-C adapter supporting four DC output voltages, the PowerGear USB-C 45. This true Type C adapter... Read more
13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for...
B&H Photo has 13″ and 11″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $819 $90 off... Read more
13-inch MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 o...
Take up to $150 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ MacBook Pro at B&H Photo today as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only. These prices are currently the... Read more
13-inch 128GB MacBook Air now on sale for $79...
Best Buy has just lowered their price on the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air to $799.99 on their online store for Cyber Monday. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale... Read more
Best Buy lowers 13-inch MacBook Pro prices, n...
Best Buy has lowered prices on select 13″ MacBook Pros this afternoon. Now save up to $200 off MSRP for Cyber Monday on the following models. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if... Read more
Cyber Monday: Apple MacBooks on sale for up t...
Apple resellers have MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and MacBooks on sale for up to $250 off MSRP for Cyber Monday 2015. The following is a roundup of the lowest prices available for new models from any... Read more
Cyber Monday: Apple Watch on sale for up to $...
B&H Photo has the Apple Watch on sale for Cyber Monday for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - Apple Watch Sport: $50 off - Apple Watch: $50-$100 off B... Read more
Cyber Monday: 15% off Apple products, and sto...
Use code CYBER15 on Cyber Monday only to take 15% on Apple products at Target, and store-wide. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-... Read more
iPad Air 2 And iPad mini Among Top Five Black...
Adobe has released its 2015 online shopping data for Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. The five best selling electronic products on Black Friday were Samsung 4K TVs, Apple iPad Air 2, Microsoft Xbox... Read more
All-in-one PC Shipments Projected To Drop Ove...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments may drop a double-digit percentage on-year in 2015 due to weaker-than-expected demand, although second-largest AIO make... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* New Products Tester Needed - Apple (...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, continues Read more
Software Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple (U...
# Software Engineer, Apple Watch Job Number: 33362459 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Jul. 28, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Join the Read more
SW Engineer - *Apple* Music - Apple (United...
# SW Engineer - Apple Music Job Number: 40899104 San Francisco, Califo ia, United States Posted: Aug. 18, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Join the Android Read more
Sr Software Engineer *Apple* Pay - Apple (U...
# Sr Software Engineer Apple Pay Job Number: 44003019 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 13, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Apple Read more
*Apple* Site Security Manager - Apple (Unite...
# Apple Site Security Manager Job Number: 42975010 Culver City, Califo ia, United States Posted: Oct. 2, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Apple Site Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.