Why Apple should abandon its 'thermonuclear' war against Android

Why Apple should abandon its 'thermonuclear' war against Android

Summary: As Apple and Samsung continue to be at loggerheads, rumours rumble that top executives of the two are trying to settle the ongoing, global war on patents.

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TOPICS: Apple, Android, Google, China
48

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook plays by a similar but different rule book to that of the late Steve Jobs.

The before and after of Steve Jobs' death in the secretive and complex Apple tapestry could be comparable to the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible. That's not to say that that Steve Jobs plagued Apple with rhetoric, hailing down of "tsunamis of nunchucks" or "valleys of haematoma" for that matter, despite his occasional torrent of verbal abuse.

It could be that the patent war that Jobs began could be signed to surrender by his successor.

Reports emerged this morning of top Apple executives and Samsung executives meeting in a neutral, demilitarised zone, in a bid to settle once and for all a global patent dispute that has spread to over four continents and dozens of cases, reports Bloomberg.

Barrett writes: "Cook does not seem to share his predecessor’s passion about laying all foes to waste. Cook appears to view litigation as a necessary evil, not a vehicle of cosmic revenge."

It comes after Apple and Samsung engaged in a bitter war over patents, initiated by Cupertino. The revelations in Walter Isaccson's biography followed where Jobs described how he wanted to "destroy Android, because it's a stolen product", with him willing to wage "thermonuclear war" on it.

Cook went to China, where Jobs refused. Cook ordered Apple to give a dividend to investors, where Jobs distanced himself from such a move.

Jobs' reign was just a different style of leadership to that of mild-mannered Cook.

Throw Jobs into a room with an Android developer with a gun and a bullet, and you'll hear no gunshot, but open the door and you'll find still a blood-smeared wall. Cook, on the other hand, may sit the developer down and hold them close into the bosom of the Apple family.

But while Apple and Samsung continue to fight, with some winning in jurisdictions over others, while vice versa elsewhere, Barrett concludes that Apple's case is rocky at best, and on the verge of exhausted.

"In the short run, the tech giants could save themselves considerable legal fees and distraction if they were to lock their lawyers in a hallway of conference rooms and refuse to release them until they had crafted a series of comprehensive cross-licensing pacts," Barrett says.

One of the key complaints we've seen throughout the legal tit-for-tat scrapping is that Samsung "copied every aspect" of the "distinctive and minimalist trade dress" of the iPhone 3GS, according to Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling, speaking to Barrett.

As described by Business Insider, "Every smartphone looks like that now. And a lot of phones looked like that before the iPhone."

ZDNet's Jason Perlow said to me earlier: "The North Korea vs. South Korea situation will resolve itself quicker."

He may not be wrong, but he certainly may not be right.

Apple will eventually have to bite the bullet and accept that it makes business sense to admit defeat, struggle with a slight dip in their extremely high share price for a couple of days --- a week, maximum --- and face some short-lived embarrassment.

Though Jobs has passed, Cook could still have the words Jobs said in his biography rattling around his head at night: "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong."

Except, that is, it's $100 billion cash in the bank, and Apple could still lose every penny if it continues to fight an unwinnable war with its closest hardware rival.

Image source: Josh Miller/CNET.

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Topics: Apple, Android, Google, China

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48 comments
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  • Apple was always "personal" to Steve Jobs

    As one would expect from a co-founder that led Apple to its current success. Whereas, Apple is just business with Tim Cook.

    Agreed. It's time to end the global, mobile patent war as its not good business for it to continue.

    P.S. It was always easy for me to understand Steve Job's sense of betrayal from Google and its CEO, Eric Schmidt. [i][s]Eric Schmidt should have resigned from Apple's Board of Directors immediately upon Google's acquisition of Android.[/i][/s]

    [i]Edited per bdowey's comment below. Thanks, bdowey for the correction.[/i]
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Supposed "antagonism" between Cook's and Job's management is overdramatized

      ... in this article.

      For example, Cook repeated quite stern message about Apple's IP being stolen. He said that both before and after Job's death.

      Also, even what seems to be the biggest change from Jobs' times, dividends/buyback program, in reality is very minor, basically cosmetic measure to shut up some whining shareholders. Apple will only spend $15 billion per year, while earning three-four-five times more than that. The cashpile will grow like crazy each year anyway.

      [quote]"As described by Business Insider, ???Every smartphone looks like that now. And a lot of phones looked like that before the iPhone.??? "[/quote]

      Business Insider is incompetent tabloid publication. There was no smartphone like iPhone (3G, 3Gs) before it was released. The design is strikingly specific.

      So when Samsung does this (2012 models of Galaxy Ace Plus, Galaxy Y):
      http://cdn.techpp.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/galaxy-ace-plus-iphone-3gs.jpg

      ... there is no way to settle it unless Samsung will stop copying Apple. [b]They copy everything -- cables, charges, package and even some of UI design.[/b]
      DDERSSS
      • show me

        where does the 2012 models of Galaxy Ace Plus, Galaxy Y copies the iphone?
        felibertofaria@...
      • Copy what?

        1. The bevel on the iPhone is recurved, the galaxy not
        2. The corners on the galaxy have a larger radius curve.
        3. The button on the Galaxy is wide and rectangular, the iPhone is round.
        4. The iPhone has a chrome trim, the Galaxy is black.
        5. Camera locations and styles are different.

        If this is a copy, it is a very poor one - one that any customer could spot right away. It is no more similar than a Honda and a Chevrolet - same basic form and shape, different details.

        And what the heck are you saying about cables? The iPhone ahas a stupid proprietory cable, the Galaxy uses mini-USB. As for charger - you cannot charge the phones with each others chargers - the iPhone again uses that stupid proprietory connector, the Galaxy uses USB. As for the UI design - I hear endless criticism by Apple fanbois about how the Android UI is inferior and needlessly complex. Is it different and inferior - or is it the same? Make up your minds!

        For the most part, you are just making shit up.
        dimonic
      • Minor tweaks were done only to not be called manufacturer of forged product

        dimonic: this is why there is concept of "trade dress". Products which are "too similar" are illegal.
        DDERSSS
      • HA

        Apple saying that Samsung (and every other smartphone manufacturer) copied their design is like Ford telling Chevy, Dodge, etc that they copied their design.
        to_be_announced
    • Results of 30-second fact checking

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      While I agree that Schmidt should have resigned from the Apple BoD sooner, the facts are that:

      Google purchased Android in 2005 and Schmidt was elected to Apple's board of directors on August 28, 2006.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Schmidt#Apple
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_google
      bdowey
      • FACT CHECK: Android was a very bad clone of the Blackberry

        ... for YEARS before the iPhone came out.
        wackoae
  • Sooner Than Later

    I hope.
    Remove these distractions and let the companies get on with the development and rollout of great devices and services.
    I am sure there will be the occasional lawsuit but this would be a great step forward.

    Jason's comment may be more applicable to the fixing of the patent laws. ;)
    rhonin
  • Who knows what is going on behind closed doors?

    Maybe Samsung realizes it in the long run will spend a lot of money on a loosing proposition? Maybe a "quiet" settlement will save face? Apple's money position is strong and as another blogger stated months ago the cost of these cases is nothing compared to what Apple is taking in not even a drop in the bucket. I know Samsung is no chump when it comes to monies either but one side has to do the business thing and realize that to invest money in a loosing battle is foolish. The question is this which side has come to that conclusion?

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • Sameness of cellphones

      It's illogical to assume that if two products look similar, that one stole from the other - that actual theft must be proven in court. Products - like life forms - undergo "convergent evolution" in which they start to become more similar because in order to survive in an environment, they have to adapt to it. No matter how different they start out being, each generation will adapt better and better and become more similar. This is why birds (which descended from reptiles) and bats (which descended from mammals) look very similar and have similar body structures. Every cell phone will be rectangular, thin and light, have a bright hi-rez screen, and a minimum of multipurpose buttons on it, together with stylish coloring and trim dictated by current trends. Clearly, that's going to make them look similar!
      enovikoff
      • When a company copies everything ... even the box design ...

        ... there is very little doubt that IP theft is involved in the process.

        No other Android OEM has "cloned" so many feature of the iPhone like Samsung has done. You look at HTC and Motorola and their phones didn't look as "clones" ..... but Samsung's phones even had an exact copy of the minimalistic shipping box (which is actually patented) of the iPhone and some models even contained the same icon as the iPhone.
        wackoae
      • Try as I might...

        I can't see a single Samsung phone that looks like an iPhone. They all have bigger screens, better color, are thinner, have beautiful organic shapes, and they have 4 (Android) buttons. In comparison the iPhone with it's little boxy screen and sharp edges looks like an antique.
        enovikoff
  • apple must capitulate to the superior Foss software

    Only trolls are suing the FOSS companies and Apple will lose its $100 billions if it does not stop now.
    The FOSS community always wins because its people are more innovative than apple's.
    The Linux Geek
    • How do you come to that conclusion?

      And what innovations have FOSS companies made?
      athynz
      • linux and android

        just to name a few.
        The Linux Geek
      • lol

        I could see that coming.
        bmonsterman
    • Speaking of trolls

      Enough said.
      non-biased
  • I agree with Pagan Jim and disagree with Zack

    Zack believes Apple will lose, on balance. I don't. Pagan Jim believe it makes better sense to offer a strategic partner a face saving way out of this litigation war. I agree.
    kenosha77a
  • Stolen

    Jobs is right to say that android is a stolen product. Eric Schmidt should have left Apple board when they purchased android, insted he hanged in their with his 'do no evil' princple. Shame...
    owllnet