I’ve been reading the recent news about Apple’s dealings with HTC and Google’s subsidiary – Motorola mobility with some amusement.
The general theme of these articles was that Apple’s ‘thermonuclear war’ against Android might be coming to an end.
Here are a few of the posts in question:
[quote] The settlement with HTC, the first company Apple sued for violating iPhone patents, suggests Cook will take a softer line than Jobs, who vowed before his death last year to wage all-out war against smartphones powered by Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software. The agreement may also serve as a blueprint for Apple to negotiate patent accords withSamsung (005930) Electronics Co. and Google’s Motorola Mobility business, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc.
Apple Inc. settled all global lawsuits with HTC, signaling a new willingness to resolve patent disputes without resorting to the “thermonuclear war” stance favored by co-founder Steve Jobs.
Apple, which had accused HTC of copying features that made its iPhone unique, “will continue to stay laser-focused on product innovation,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a statement yesterday with HTC, which surged as the companies announced a 10-year licensing deal. HTC had claimed the maker of iPads and MacBooks infringed wireless patents.[/quote]
[quote] First Apple settled with HTC. Is Motorola up next? A Bloomberg report on Friday indicates that Apple and Motorola are discussing using arbitration to resolve their longstanding dispute over mobile patents. If they did, a settlement of all of their court battles in the U.S. and abroad likely wouldn’t be far behind.
The news that Apple is seeking arbitration with Motorola, now owned by Google, was revealed in a court document filed by Apple, which noted, “The companies have been exchanging proposals on using binding arbitration to reach a licensing agreement over patents that are essential to comply with industry standards on how phones operate.”
The filing also stated that “Apple is also interested in resolving its dispute with Motorola completely and agrees that arbitration may be the best vehicle to resolve the parties’ dispute.”
In other words, Apple wants to get this thing over with. What’s not clear yet is if Motorola — and Google — agree.[/quote]
Here is the thing, Samsung might believe they stand a chance after Apple signed a 10-years deal with HTC. The same HTC that is now a spent force went it comes to Android and one of Samsung’s competitor. Lets not forget that Apple has also done similar deals with other company such as Microsoft, with clauses stopping these companies from making copycat products. In these dealings the Cupertino-based company has been very careful in licensing patents that are not critical to their differentiation strategy.
Another way I see this is that Apple ‘thermonuclear war’ cannot stop Samsung from producing Andorid products and completely destroy Android operating. Apple’s strategy is to make Android (supposedly free operating system) less attractive to vendors due to the high licensing fee that comes with it.
After all, Apple tried to strike a similar deal with Samsung, giving them so-call preferential rates on licensing fees because they were business partners.
Here is what AllThingsD had to say in relation to this proposed deal:
[quote] Apple executives have testified the company was “shocked” when Samsung debuted its first Galaxy phones. But, considering the Korean company was a major supplier, Apple apparently was also willing to make a deal with its rival.
In October 2010, Apple offered to license its portfolio of patents to Samsung provided the Korean company was willing to pay on the order of $30 per smartphone and $40 per tablet.
“Samsung chose to embrace and imitate Apple’s iPhone archetype,” Apple said in an Oct. 5, 2010 presentation to Samsung. “Apple would have preferred that Samsung request a license to do this in advance. Because Samsung is a strategic supplier to Apple, we are prepared to offer a royalty-bearing license for this category of device.”
Apple also offered to give Samsung a 20 percent discount if the Korean company cross-license its portfolio back to Apple. Apple also sought royalties on Samsung’s non-Android smartphones, including those running the Symbian and Bada operating systems.[/quote]
Now let me point you to a more realist take on this Apple vs Google situation, since at the end of the day Apple real target is Google’s Android not samsung.
Here is Groklaw take on Apple’s supposed willingness to strike a patent deal with Motorola:
[quote] Hmm. So Motorola is disarmed for six months, while Apple is free to do whatever it wants with its stupid design patents and utility patents and its non-royalty claims and defenses? And Apple reduces the price it owes by offering to cross license with its SEPs? Does it have any comparable to Motorola’s that would justify valuing them equally? How unlikely is that, considering Apple is Johnnie Come Lately to cell phones?
Its offer is like you and I meet at dawn with pistols. I have a pistol. You show up with a pistol plus a machine gun. And you say, “Hey, let’s not shoot each other with pistols. Let’s agree that neither of us can shoot the other with a pistol, and we agree to figure out a talk solution. We agree nobody can pick up a pistol while we are talking.” How stupid would I be to say, “Sure” while you still have a machine gun that you are free to use while I now have nothing?
That’s exactly what this whole FRAND battle has been about. Apple and Microsoft want to disarm FRAND patent owners, set a low price and take away injunctive relief, so they can mow them down with design and utility patents. Why? Because they don’t have a lot of FRAND patents while Android vendors like Motorola and Samsung do. And both Microsoft and Apple are infringing them and have been for years.
So here Apple suggests that Motorola lay down its standard essential patents and the injunctive relief they offer, worldwide, while Apple still gets to use its weapons and shoot at will? And notice that while Motorola’s suggestion was to use arbitration to decide the price Apple should pay, Apple now wants to throw in its standard-essential patents and cross license, with the obvious effect of reducing its obligation to pay. That’s not what Motorola suggested, but it doesn’t dismiss the thought altogether.[/quote]
So there you have it. Apple’s war against Android is far from over. How do you survive against a man with a machine gun who is out to destroy you?
Image Credit: iFoneApplication