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GUEST BLOG: Forget Apple v Samsung, coming soon it's Apple v Google

Jonny Evans | Aug. 28, 2012
Apple succeeded in its mission of proving its Korean partner a copycat. It seems inevitable Apple will bring the fight to Google next.

Don't be evil

Samsung versus Apple may be a major victory (pending the predictable dramatic appeal) in this battle, but you shouldn't confuse the event as marking the end of the war. The war will continue.

The phrase, "Don't be evil" comes to mind. It's meaningless, of course. After all, evil is a concept the meaning of which differs between different people, cultures, religions and times. Just because a firm thinks what it is doing is good doesn't necessarily mean it is good for anyone outside of that firm. I'm sure Microsoft thought it was doing things as a force for good until it finally got told it wasn't all those years ago.

Is Apple being evil too? 

Illustrating my above point, your position on this depends on your chosen belief system rather than any universal constant. Perhaps history can provide a guide?

Look to Apple's history and you'll recognize that it lost the desktop GUI wars to Microsoft following a sequence of events and many poor decisions which almost led to the company's collapse. With those events woven into Apple's historical DNA, it's hard to see how it could do anything other than try to fight its corner. 

The fact Apple has prevailed in the recent US case against Samsung suggests its moves to defend itself are justified. However, like the concept of evil, the legal system is also far from being a universal constant, so Apple can't -- and doesn't -- expect to win every battle in every jurisdiction.

When it comes to the inevitable battle between Google and Apple, there seems to be only two likely outcomes:

  • Google and it's Android partners sign licensing deals for Apple's technology. This is my favored option, because the focus for industry conversation could then move from avoiding use of each other's IP to one in which all players can deliver a forest of innovative devices. Consumers most benefit from innovation, and product prices always decline once manufacturing achieves economies of scale.
  • Google refuses to reach a deal and these tedious court cases wend through the legal system for years and years with innovation stymied as all sides attempt to avoid copying each other and making things worse. At some point in this process, Google -- it seems to me -- will be found to have abused some Apple patents. Its FRAND-based counter-arguments will eventually be dismissed, once governments force a standard agreement on all players in that space. All these decisions will cost millions of dollars and millions of hours of time, time which could be better spent on creating new devices -- to the true benefit of consumers.

Please, end this madness


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