The war between Apple and Google has been a long time coming. Last year Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors. Why? Apple rejected the Google Voice app from their App Store. Google complained to the FCC. The FCC opened a formal investigation. Eric Schmidt resigned. Connect the dots.
Perhaps we should ask why Google’s CEO was on Apple’s Board in the first place. I hold to the generally accepted theory that for quite some time, Apple thought that “that enemy of my enemy is my friend”, or maybe “keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.”
As soon as Google became a threat as large as Microsoft, Apple couldn’t keep him on the board, and some would see Schmidt’s seat as a conflict of interest.
Various carriers released the G1/Dream, myTouch 3G, Hero, Eris, and Nexus One, all made by HTC. All of these devices are capable of multi-touch, but to-date only one or two have multi-touch enabled.
Other manufacturers have released Android phones, but none have enabled multi-touch (yet). Though multi-touch isn’t the only complaint, it seems to be the proverbial “last straw”.
So, finally, Apple threw down the gauntlet by suing HTC and filing a complain with the United States International Trade Commission.
Although Apple has alluded to 20 patents that HTC is violating, I could only find ten cited:
Patent No. 7,362,331: “Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States”
Patent No. 7,479,949: “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics”
Patent No. 7,657,849: “Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image”
Patent No. 7,469,381: “List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display”
Patent No. 5,920,726: “System And Method For Managing Power Conditions Within A Digital Camera Device.”
Patent No. 7,633,076: “Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices”
Patent No. 5,848,105: “GMSK Signal Processors For Improved Communications Capacity And Quality”
Patent No. 7,383,453: “Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor”
Patent No. 5,455,599: “Object-Oriented Graphic System”
Patent No. 6,424,354: “Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods”
What Does This Mean to You
Patent disputes are common in the tech arena. Most take years to resolve. Many are settled well before they go to court, sometimes with one party changing the way they do things to work-around the infringing portions, other times by simply licensing the technology from the other party.
Should you be worried about buying and Android phone (or any phone from HTC)? No, go ahead and get that HTC Desire, Nexus One, or even the very hackable G1. The only real point of concern could come from the ITC’s actions and whether or not they block the import of “infringing” HTC devices (which is an even better argument to get yours right away).
This story is still unfolding, and will likely take quite some time before all parties are satisfied, but stay turned to pocketnow.com, we’ll keep you up-to-date.