Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

Summary: Apple has been doing its best to beat the snot out of Android in the courts with intellectual property lawsuits. Now, with Google purchase of Motorola Mobility, Android's maker will have the patents it needs to retaliate.

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TOPICS: Legal, Apple, Google, Mobility
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Google s purchase of Motorola Mobility is looking like a sure thing and that spells trouble for Apple s Android lawsuits.

Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility is looking like a sure thing and that spells trouble for Apple's Android lawsuits.

There are two major kinds of patent lawsuits. On the one side, there are the patent trolls, like Eolas making fundamental Web technology claims . Here, the idea is to use flimsy patents to collect hundreds of millions from the businesses that actually use ideas to make a product or service. Then, there's what Apple has been trying to do to Samsung and other Android vendors: Sue them out of the marketplace. Apple's not been successful at this, but that hasn't stopped them from trying. Indeed, Apple is trying to block Samsung from selling the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, in the U.S. Apple's lawsuit happy ways may soon come to an end though. The European Union (EU) has cleared Google's proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Why would this make a difference? Because Google won't have the patents it needed to fight Apple until its purchase of Motorola goes through. Getting permission from the EU was the deal's biggest stumbling block. Now, it's almost a sure thing. And, in this second class of patent lawsuits, where software patents are merely ammunition for business wars. Google needed the Motorola's patent ammo to fight off Apple's patent claims.

To be specific, while Google will get thousands of patents from the Motorola acquisition, eighteen of them are already being used by Motorola lawsuits against Apple. They cover technology essential to the mobile-device industry, including location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touch-screen motions, software-application management and 3G data. The 3G wireless patents have already led to Apple no longer being able to sell some iPad and iPhone models in Germany.

Does Apple really want to face the chance of not being able to sell the forthcoming iPad 3 and its iPhones lines in the U.S.? Only if they're idiots!

Unlike Apple, Google has shown that they're willing to make patent peace instead of patent war. To make the EU happy, Google has pledged to license Motorola patents on ffair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) terms to other mobile manufacturers, even competitors, should the deal succeed. If Apple is smart, they'll stop trying to sue Android out of the marketplace, adopt FRAND practices themselves for their IP, and put all their attention back into delivering the best possible products. Spending more time and money on anti-Android IP lawsuits looks more and more to be a losing game.

Related Stories:

European Commission clears Google, Motorola merger

Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

Can Apple really beat Android in the courts?

Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

European antitrust regulators: Global patent battle could be 'used as tool for abuse'

Google and Motorola Mobility: It's all about the patents

Topics: Legal, Apple, Google, Mobility

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  • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

    Or, Apple could accept the FRAND terms for licensing Motorola IP from Google, and still be an anti-competitive bastard with their patent portfolio.
    samalie
    • Seriously... This guy doesn't get it.. Lol..

      @samalie Apple's patents aren't part of any standard.. they'd don't HAVE to licence them fairly OR at all for that matter.. Apple is just getting the price down on Moto and Samsung patents.. in fact EU started an investigation into Samsung for Anti-trust for trying to licence some of its patents to Apple for unfair rates.. when your patents are part of a standard you are obliged under contract to do that.. Apple is under no such obligation..

      Contrary to what SJV says.. I think this is what Apple has been dreaming of.. Since before Google didn't derive any revenue directly from Android
      it couldn't sue Google directly because there were no dorect damages no with Google becoming an android manufacture there will be.. they can now sue Google directly..

      Apple will NEVER enter into cross licensing agreements with these guys they will force Google to sell the licences at the FRAND rates as
      They are ovligiged to be sold at and continue suing..
      theFunkDoctorSpoc
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @theFunkDoctorSpoc They have found no basis for going after Google or they would have tried to cut the head off the beast! Besides, they tried to go after Moro and that failed... not only did it fail, when Moto went back after them, the 3G devices got banned in Germany!
        slickjim
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @Peter Perry.. yeah, they got banned for an hour.. lol.. they are now happily back on sale..

        Apple has found the right tactic.. 99% of these patents that these guys own are part of standard.. so as I said Moto, Samsung etc are obliged by law to licence these patents fairly and non-discriminatory or they will be investigated and fined like Samsung is on their way to being by the EU..

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577194503316197864.html

        Also Moto is trying to extract money from tech used on Qualcomm chips.. but there are in breach of their contract with Qualcomm because their licence is supposed to allow the users of Qualcomm chip to use them without having to licence them.. this is called exhaustion in the law.. if this wasn't there then we as users should all have to pay for use of this tech as well.. but we don't..

        http://www.pcworld.com/article/249841/apple_files_complaint_against_motorola_in_us_to_prevent_iphone_4s_litigation.html
        theFunkDoctorSpoc
      • Agree whole heartedly, Samalie

        @samalie: This is exactly what Apple has been suing Motorola for with the last several lawsuits.
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @theFunkDoctorSpoc

        It is not only Apple, but Microsoft and bunch others whose IP is infringed by Android code.

        If Google were any good, they would have cleared that questionable code long ago..
        danbi
      • On the contrary, it is you who doesn't get it.

        @theFunkDoctorSpoc <br><br>Apple has started a war that that some one else is going to finish for them. It will be a pleasure to see Apple get slapped down a notch or two...they deserve it as those patents are found to be unenforceable due to prior art.
        linux for me
  • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

    @Samalie They cannot do that. If I read google's statement well the agreement must be from both sides for example if google license it's patent technology to Apple then Apple must do the samething to google
    Chkaiban
    • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

      @Chkaiban <br><br>Then Googles going to get investigated by the EC, FRAND doesn't work like that, for things like 3G it has to license it doesn't have a choice
      the.nameless.drifter
    • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

      @Chkaiban Exactly, funk doc is talking out the wrong end, "fair and reasonable terms" can mean a lot of things including "if you want to licence my patents, you must agree not to sue any Android manufacturers. It does not need to be about money at all, it can be about marketplace behavior.
      bigpicture
  • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

    The notion of infrastructure systems, the cell system and the Internet are examples, being used by and built out by many players whose products MUST work together or the whole thing fails is the basis for FRAND patents. When standards bodies define how these shared systems are to operate they must do so in a way that will let everyone play, otherwise these systems - which owe their value to the fact that everyone can build equipment that runs on them - would be essentially worthless. And so the industry, and importantly the courts, have determined that patents covering these systems and the devices that connect to them must be available to all on a Fair, Reasonable And NonDiscriminatory basis. <br><br>Developing something that is not part of a shared infrastructure is a different matter. Patents on ordinary (non shared infrastructure stuff) are grants of monopoly for a limited time to the inventors of new things. <br><br>The tablet and phone industry folks who did not invest in UI R&D, did not make the effort to build anything more than the old 'feature phone' junk foisted on the public by carriers for years, now complain they should have full and free access to the fruits of Apple development and innovation. <br><br>Google has simply copied iOS with Android, and they haven't even done a really good job of it. Where is the significant insight into how users interact with the connected data of the web? Where are the new, Google invented features, methods, ideas that "reinvent the phone" all over again? <br><br>Google is on track to reinvent the car with their self driving vehicles. Great! And when they do, they should have the right to monopolize and monetize their breakthroughs. But Google, Samsung, HTC and the rest should not claim some "free and unfettered right" to Apple's innovations.
    z2217
    • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

      @z2217 Yeah yeah yeah. Apple invented the smartphone completely out of their own mind having never looked at anything that existed before. I guess they never saw a Palm, a Blackberry, or a Windows based phone or PDA. The smartphone is just a PDA that is also a phone. Springboard (I think that was the name) was doing that with Palm PDAs a long time before the iPhone came out. Did Apple do a better job with the iPhone than these other folks did? No doubt. But they built on other folks technology. My Palm had icons in a grid that you touched to activate. What a concept! And the whole 'reinvent' idea is pretty lame. Chevy and Ford didn't reinvent the car. All new technology is based on what has come before - tweak, refine, add new features, build on what others have devised.
      boomchuck1
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @boomchuck1 Very well said. I am so tired of the AAPL cultists incorrect statments that AAPL invented everything. All AAPL technology is just improvements of someone else's technology with much better marketing.

        Steve Jobs was the best Marketer/Brainwasher in history.

        For example, If AAPL is so innovative, why is IOS 5 just a bunch of Android enhancements?
        gatormba2003
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @boomchuck1
        Absolutly right. I hate to admit it, but I still use my Palm Tungsten E2. It boots instantly, has a good screen and with Word, Excel and a data base on it, it's still a pretty useful device. OK, so it does lack a phone, but I use bluetooth to connect to my PC for email.
        smichael9
        smichael9@...
      • Tunnel vision much?

        @boomchuck1: You know as well as I do that Apple looked at these things, saw all of their drawbacks and said, "This stuff is crap!" How many of those things you mentioned are still in production today? The Blackberry is the only one, and its market is shrinking rapidly because of its ridiculous complexity. When you have to go through three or four steps just to answer your phone, you're asking for trouble.

        No, Apple took their ideas, not their patents, and made something that was easy to use and as a result, attractive; I don't mean attractive in a 'style' sense either.

        Still, Apple did have to use existing technologies for the phone capabilities and quite honestly they chose to use an already-licensed radio chip for their cellular connections. Antenna designs are quite literally constrained by the frequencies used and have to fall within certain sizes and shapes, though with the iPhone 4 and up (so far) the frame itself is the antenna system which should be exempt from any antenna patents that do (but shouldn't) exist.

        Apple has changed the direction of phones world wide with the iPhone. Google 'stole' the concept by creating an Android that looked something like OS X on iPhone (now iOS). Had Google chosen to make it look different (maybe like Metro?) we probably wouldn't be seeing so much litigation today.
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @boomchuck1

        Apple invents almost nothing. They are however good marketers. With the attacks on Samsung, I would predict that Apple will have some serious problems by this time next year. It seems that Samsung makes the screens that Apple is using, and they have Patents on them. Apple is covered, as long as they buy their screens from Samsung, but, with the current monopoly attempts by Apple of using vague patents that can be 'stretched to cover almost literally anything, and actually cover nothing, Samsung isn't in any mood to renew the current purchase agreements.

        "Foist on his own petard" is the Phrase Shakespeare used to describe what is happening right now. Apple has angered many for it's legal shenanigans. It is entirely possible that in a year, Apple will not be allowed to sell in Europe or in the US. More likely, will be that losing the major lawsuits they have going on, with patents that don't really cover anything, Apple will be faced with owing the opposition for Millions of sales that are being improperly blocked. Since this was done diliberately, those costs will bear a triple indemnity. That could really hurt Apple.

        Oh, and only a few of the patents cited against Apple are under the Standards umbrella. Motarolla has thousands to use. Apple is like SCO in this. The cracks are starting to appear in the roof of their imaginary structure.
        YetAnotherBob
    • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

      @z2217, that was a long winded rant with nothing of substance. Apple did *not* invent the smart phone. Smart phones with icons on the screen to launch programs were around far before the iPhone. Web browsing? Ditto. Music playing? Ditto. Location based apps? Ditto. 3G data? Ditto. Texting? Ditto. Apps? Ditto.

      Apple invented NOTHING. What they DID do was take existing tech, make it pretty, easier to use and wrapped an ecosystem around it. I guess Palm and Microsoft should have had their way with Apple back then. Now Apple is more evil than Microsoft at their worst. The global thermo nuclear attack failed and now it is returning to home base to leave a mushroom. With Motorola's IP, Google will be unstoppable as it shares these with its partners. Sammy, HTC, Moto and LG are all going to be able to tell Apple where to go. And Apple will be forced to update their 5 year old interface to compete.
      MicroNix
      • Do you really expect Google to share everything?

        @MicroNix: Now that they have their own mobile device manufacturing capability, they don't need to do anything more than share the raw OS with the other OEMs. I expect the Motorola devices to be far more reliable and effective once Google finishes building that wall around its garden.

        Samsung is already looking at doing phones and tablets with their own mobile OS, HTC will stick to the bargain-basement market while LG will probably come out somewhere in the middle until they figure out quality is more important than quantity--as they have with most other devices they build.

        Apple, meanwhile, will continue as it has and is likely to become the first to change computing as we know it.
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

        @Vulpine,

        You seem to be confident in your ability to tell the Future. I would like to remind you of the famous quote from Yogi Berra "Prediction is hard, especially about the Future."

        Apple's problem here is that they have taken on most of the consumer electronics industries. The patent clauses they are relying on all have a clause that said something like 'void if you sue us over anything.' Now, Samsung and HTC will come in with Google. Google meanwhile isn't even being sued. But, they will come in with their own patents from Motorola. Apple will be boxed into a corner.

        The biggest problem for Apple is still to come.

        Apple makes nothing. They buy the components, and then have them assembled. This leaves them terribly vulnerable. All Samsung and HTC and some others need to do is refuse to sell to them, and Apple is out of business. That is the problem with these sorts of processes. In lawsuits, only the lawyers win.

        The Wright Brothers tried to sue Glen Curtis out of business until they ran out of money. They wound up selling their company to Curtis. Curtis-Wright is now a part of Grumman, I believe. It's an old story.

        We just saw most of the wind up of the SCO attempt to dominate the market by lawsuits. When they got to court, a jury got to see it and there was nothing real there. Bye Bye SCO. That took only a day for the Jury to decide. Like the guy from Chicago who in Texas who tried to say that he 'owned' the entire internet. That one took the Jury only about an hour to decide. Over half of all patents are invalidated when they reach a Jury. That's because the Patent Office gives out patents for nonsense things. Like Apple's claim to have invented the that people are using, and were using 10 years before Apple began as a company.

        It's called Prior Art, and it is the main reason that Apple will lose.

        In Australia and Germany, the Judges did grant an order stopping the sale of Apples competitors products, based on arguments from Apples Lawyers, and from the fact, generally omitted on reports from Australia, that the Judge was married to the lawyer for Apple. But, when the cases were reviewed, those stays were lifted, because Apple has a lot of arguments, but no case.

        It's all a stalling game now. When it ends, Apple will probably have what SCO and the Wright Brothers got out of it. They are suing their competitors, who are also their suppliers. Apple has nothing to replace the supply with. Nothing is what Apple will be left with in the end.

        As Walt Disney said "Zippity Do Dah Zippity Yay".
        YetAnotherBob
    • RE: Apple's Android nightmare: Google's Motorola purchase gets EU OK

      @z2217, that was a long winded rant with nothing of substance. Apple did *not* invent the smart phone. Smart phones with icons on the screen to launch programs were around far before the iPhone. Web browsing? Ditto. Music playing? Ditto. Location based apps? Ditto. 3G data? Ditto. Texting? Ditto. Apps? Ditto.

      Apple invented NOTHING. What they DID do was take existing tech, make it pretty, easier to use and wrapped an ecosystem around it. I guess Palm and Microsoft should have had their way with Apple back then. Now Apple is more evil than Microsoft at their worst. The global thermo nuclear attack failed and now it is returning to home base to leave a mushroom. With Motorola's IP, Google will be unstoppable as it shares these with its partners. Sammy, HTC, Moto and LG are all going to be able to tell Apple where to go. And Apple will be forced to update their 5 year old interface to compete.
      MicroNix