When Apple wants to partner with a company can be the “kiss of death,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Potential and/or past partners accuse the tech giant of copying their ideas, but Apple says it plays by the rules.
From the article: Apple has tried to invalidate hundreds of patents owned by companies that have accused Apple of violating their patents. According to lawyers and executives at some smaller companies, Apple sometimes files multiple petitions on a single patent claim and attempts to invalidate patents unrelated to the initial dispute.
Many large companies, particularly in tech, have been known to scoop up employees and technology from smaller potential rivals. Software developers have given a name to what they describe as Apple’s behavior in such cases: sherlocking. The term refers to an episode about two decades ago, when Apple released a software product called “Sherlock” that helped users find files on its Mac computers and perform internet searches.
After an outside company built a tool that had a few more capabilities, which it called “Watson,” Apple released an updated version of Sherlock with many of the same features. According to the engineer who built Watson, which he subsequently sold, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs personally called him to defend the move.
Companies that allege Apple copied them fight back in two ways: complaining publicly to get attention from regulators interested in Apple’s market power, or filing lawsuits against Apple.
Here’s a list of apps that TechCrunch says Apple “sherlocked” at its 2022 Worldwide Developer Conference:
° Camo, which was sherlocked by Apple’s continuity feature that allows you to use your iPhone as a webcam.
° Remove.bg, which was sherlocked by Apple’s Visual Lookup feature.
° Figma’s FigJam, many others, which were sherlocked by Apple’s Freefrom collaboration app.
What’s more, app developer Blix claims that Apple stole its technique for anonymizing email addresses during online service sign-ups when the company launched its “Sign in with Apple” feature in 2019. Tile, the maker of object-tracking devices, accuses Apple of shellacking after the company launched the AirTag in 2021.
The 2023 Worldwide Developer Conference runs June 5-9. What, if any apps, will Apple “sherlock” then? Stay tuned.
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today