Android now paying the price for iOS similarities

Android now paying the price for iOS similarities

Summary: Jobs wanted to destroy Android, and it seems that things haven't changed under Tim Cook's leadership.

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"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. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

This is what Steve Jobs thought of Android, as recounted in Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Apple CEO. Since these words were uttered, Apple has been involved in an intense legal battle with Google and other device makers over Android, and it seems that the courts are siding with Apple that Android is indeed 'a stolen product.'

The latest battle has been over this simple user interface element:

That 'slide to unlock' mechanism is a feature that was put into the Android mobile platform, and now a German court has ruled that Motorola's use of this on certain devices infringes on Apple's patent. This is bad news for Android because it could mean that Android device sales in Germany could be halted.

Note: The ruling doesn't apply to Motorola's Xoom tablet because that uses the Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" software and is unlocked by dragging a padlock icon out of a circle.

How Apple is approaching Android litigation is at polar opposites to the tactic undertaken by Microsoft. Microsoft is happy to license patents and collect royalties from Android handset makers, turning the platform into a cash cow. Apple on the other hand doesn't seem interested in licensing patents, preferring litigation to make life difficult for Android handset makers. Jobs wanted to destroy Android, and it seems that things haven't changed under Tim Cook's leadership. The company seems committed to waging a long-term war on Android.

Anyone who has used both Android and iOS can't help but notice how much of a similarity there is between the two platforms, and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that Android was, at the very least, inspired by iOS. And now Android is paying the price.

But Android isn't the only platform that seems to be benefiting from 'borrowing' ideas from Apple. What about the Windows 8 unlock screen? Every time I swipe to unlock, it reminds me of unlocking my iPhone or iPad ... and it's hard to imagine that folks at Apple haven't noticed this.

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the world back in 2007, and he said 'boy, have we patented it,' he wasn't kidding. And now Android is reaping the whirlwind of that patenting extravaganza.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Android, Apple, Google, Legal, Mobile OS

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266 comments
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  • Of course you know...

    ...preference to litigate a product out of existance is anticompetitive. :)

    So now who's the predatory monopolist again? (laughing)

    MS says "fine, go ahead and use it. Just pay us, no problem."

    Apple says: "NO! MINE MINE MINE! We shall destroy you utterly and salt the earth where your cities once stood!"

    Hmm...
    wolf_z
    • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

      @wolf_z

      This is how the patent system works. Don't blame the companies, blame the law. As a shareholder, you should be demanding that the company you've invested in do all they can within the law to improve their bottom line- this is a business, not a 'let's all hold hands and do only what's in the best interest for the consumers we love' sort of situation.
      Uninterested_Viewer
      • Ain't Corporate America wonderfull?

        Even if it means selling out to another country!
        kd5auq
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Uninterested_Viewer Wouldn't collecting money from licensing patents be more beneficial to the shareholder rather than spending money on lawyers?
        clcrockett
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Uninterested_Viewer ...and the lesson of the day is win, win, win at all costs. This is the problem with business today. Every victory must come at the destruction of your foe. Let's just patent breathing oxygen and sue them for the gall of attempting to do something so basic, yet "our property". I mean, seriously? Patenting "Slide to Unlock"? Seriously?
        davesuff
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Uninterested_Viewer
        That attitude is what has the human rights violations happening all over the world. Rich get richer, poor get poorer. Not really a sustainable model in my eyes.
        kstap
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Uninterested_Viewer Here is how the US patent system works: write something up, send in for patent with check to USPTO. USPTO cashes check, accepts idea regardless of how stupid or obvious. Why? Because the more patents accepted means more patents will be forthcoming. There NO WAY in hell the USPTO will ever shut off that revenue stream by beginning to scrutinize patents. NEVER.
        HackerJ
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Uninterested_Viewer
        How about I blame both? Sure the law may allow for such stupid patents to exist, but it's companies like Apple that have poured millions (billions?) of dollars into lobbying efforts to ensure the laws allow this.
        mcmurphy510
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Uninterested_Viewer You are asking us to put the cart before the horse. The law is the way it is because companies love to engage in patent battles regardless of the merits of their patents.
        mejohnsn
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @kd5auq-

        *bingo*
        HypnoToad72
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        And who keeps flagging responses that clearly do not violate the terms?!!
        HypnoToad72
    • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

      @wolf_z
      Apple, M$ and Oracle are different faces of the axis of evil software by bringing baseless lawsuits.
      Now Google has the means to put these goons out of business and the world would become a better place: http://techrights.org/2012/02/15/defensive-armament/
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @The Linux Geek Oh yes Google is our savior, you just have to sell them your soul first.
        clcrockett
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @The Linux Geek So it's "baseless" that Android was a Blackberry clone prior to the purchase of Android by Google, that is was a BB Clone while Eric Schmidt of Google was on Apple's board of directors during the development of the original iPhone and had access to the prototypes, the software, and other developmental data. It's "baseless" that after the huge success of the original iPhone (and every incarnation of it thereafter) that Android went from a Blackberry Clone to an iOS clone?
        athynz
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Pete Athens Android is not now, nor has it ever been an iOS clone! If you used the actual software as distributed by Google, you would see that it has way more in common with how BlackBerry does things than iOS.

        Crud, iOS might have as many features as Android does today, in about 5 years!

        You Die Hard Apple guys make baseless claims without any evidence to back them up! And don't pull out the phone slideshow as it is missing the phones that were completely touchscreen before the iPhone.
        slickjim
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Peter Perry You're correct. And Android is eating Apple for lunch which is why they are so paranoid. A whole bunch of phones will come with ICS or be updated to it this year so the slide to unlock fiasco will be a non-issue since the honeycomb unlock protocol was deemed to no violate the slide to unlock apple patent.

        And I'm sure Google is just waiting to give it back to Apple when they enforce their patent for the notification bar protocol that Apple introduced in iOS 5. Apple obviously copied Android did they not? You think Apple will ever come out with widgets on iOS 5? Apple will lose the war on this.
        mrxxxman
      • Yes, but Android SUCKS...

        @mrxxxman

        Android is reaching its apogee now. Fragmentation, the lack of a quality tablet experience and most important, the lack of a compelling reason to use an Android tablet (you certainly don't get a better MS productivity experience in the enterprise, and on a consumer level, it FEELs like a cheap knock-off) are all going to be the boulders that drag Android to the bottom of the deep and put it out of our misery.
        dcristof
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Mrxx<br><br>[i]And I'm sure Google is just waiting to give it back to Apple when they enforce their patent for the notification bar protocol that Apple introduced in iOS 5.[/i]<br><br>Please. Then Apple can get back at Google for cloning another iOS feature for ICS, the simple way one creates folders on their iPhones and iPads and iPods. All you can do is show one feature Apple supposedly took from Android? Maybe Apple did it on purpose because everyone was copying everythig Apple was doing.
        dave95.
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @Peter Perry

        Touch screen before the iPhone? Capacitive screen where you can swipe your fingers and not use stylus?

        By the way, it is fact that Linux is an UNIX clone. Not a branch, clone. The original "linux kernel" was copied from the AT&T kernel, etc.
        Because iOS (which is OS X) is an BSD UNIX derivative, one can definitely say that Android, which is an Linux based OS is a clone. :)
        Copying the APIs and user interface is additional to that.
        danbi
      • RE: Android now paying the price for blatantly copying iOS

        @dave95

        "All you can do is show one feature Apple supposedly took from Android?"

        Well, Newsstand, Notification Center, Wireless sync, Reminders, Cloud Sync, Widgets, OTA updates, Twitter integration, Tabbed browsing, and Voice control.

        www.ibtimes.com/articles/214268/20110915/10-android-features-ios-5-impersonated-apple.htm

        And, while they certainly bought Sri, you can no longer get it in the Android Market, which you could when Siri was a separate company. So, in a way, they did "take" Siri from Android. (Apple only went to Siri when talks with Vlogic broke down anyway)
        benched42