Google: Go tell Apple to shove it.

Google: Go tell Apple to shove it.

Summary: I was surprised to hear of recent confirmed reports that Apple confronted Google management and insisted that they refrain from implementing a similar "Multi-Touch" UI feature in their Android device OS -- or else. Not wanting to harm their relationship with the company, Google relented, and released Android without the feature.

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I was surprised to hear of recent confirmed reports that Apple confronted Google management and insisted that they refrain from implementing a similar "Multi-Touch" UI feature in their Android device OS -- or else. Not wanting to harm their relationship with the company, Google relented, and released Android without the feature.

Naturally, I have a whole bunch of problems with this.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Firstly is the sheer audacity of Apple to demand of anyone producing a competing device or system that it has some exclusive right to Multi Touch technology -- if you read the Wikipedia article on Multi Touch, you would see that Microsoft is using this technology in Surface which will be integrated in Windows 7, and the UI interaction methods were documented as far back as 1983 at Bell Labs.  The only thing Apple can truly claim is they used it in a smartphone device first, but I hardly think that they would win any protracted litigation based on prior art. The newly announced Linux WebOS-based Palm Pre also uses Multi Touch, and Apple has recently been rattling sabers that perhaps some litigation may be in the future with the company.

Palm, of course, is hardly prepared from a financial perspective to be assaulted by the Infinite Loop iAttorneys -- they've recently stated that they believe they have no patent issues to resolve with the company, but everyone is expecting for the shoe to drop. However I seriously doubt Apple would actually have the balls to follow through with a long protracted litigation against a much larger company with litigators to match, such as Microsoft or Google.

I'm disappointed that Google bent over backwards for Apple and stunted Android's capabilities -- mainly because I know that Apple will not stop at Multi-Touch when it comes to some perceived exclusivity they have on any technology or look and feel. I mean, what's to stop them from  saying that the Android Store resembles the iPhone App Store too much in a future release? Or that Android's music player is evolving too quickly and threatens the iPod? Exactly where do you draw the line? When do these demands stop? Clearly, the more popular that Android gets, the more pressure Apple is going to put on Google to make some feature less compelling or not as good as one of their products.

If I were Google's senior management, I would nip any further complaints and bullying from Apple in the bud and tell them in my best New Jersey, Tony Soprano accent to go shove their iPhone up their collective asses, starting with their ailing CEO in absentia.

I would further elaborate on this creative use of the iPhone with a caveat that any further threats would be met with an immediate cessation of the development of native iPhone applications by Google, such as the yet-to-be-released iPhone version of Google Maps with the integrated Latitude function, as well as cessation of all activities to optimize Google's web properties for the iPhone's embedded Safari browser.  Boy, that would make Apple iPhone commercials a lot less interesting.

"If you want to go find a Chinese restaurant within 500 feet away from you which serves Kung Pao Gai Ding... theres an app..  oh $%&@, there is no app for that anymore."

But perhaps what Apple underestimates the most is the resilience and intolerance of the Developer community to bullying. Apple also forgets that unlike the iPhone, the Android environment is completely open source, so it would be fairly easy for a carrier or device manufacturer to add extensions into Android to implement multi-touch in their applications, by virtue of being able to alter the OS to their specific needs, or if the community creates a modular extension architecture to allow for plug-in modules to do whatever Google leaves out for fear of Apple reprisal.

Should Google stop writing native applications for iPhone and optimizing their sites for Apple's competing smartphone device? Or should they give in to pressure and hold Android's capabilities back whenever Apple deems it? Talk Back and Let Me Know.
[poll id="5"]

Topics: Apple, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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81 comments
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  • You got one thing half right

    [i]the Android environment is completely open source, so it would be fairly easy for a carrier or device manufacturer to add extensions into Android to implement multi-touch in their applications[/i]

    They could but Apple would go after them with their flotilla of lawyers.

    [i]or if the community creates a modular extension architecture to allow for plug-in modules to do whatever Google leaves out for fear of Apple reprisal.[/i]

    This is far more likely. When there is no one to sue, Apple can threaten all they want and we will just sit back and laugh and laugh and laugh! This is exactly what MS is coming to grips with when it goes up against Linux.

    Of course, the [b]ideal[/b] situation is that someone like Google or Microsoft stands up to the new 900lb gorilla (either directly by suing Apple for infringing on one of MS's many multi-touch patents or through Palm, perhaps donate a few million $$$ for legal fees) and Apple's patent is trashed just like it deserves to be. Remember folks, Apple hasn't just patented multi-touch, they've patented single touch as well (they make several reference to people using one or more fingers). We need someone with deep pockets to annihilate Apple for this and show them that they can't get away with this type of bullying.
    NonZealot
    • Hey! Google has deep pockets!

      I couldn't wait for 3G supported Android in the
      backwoods where I live... I had to submit and
      buy an iPhone. I hope that Google and Apple
      will continue to play nice... I need more than
      a music player and "fart" applications on my
      iPhone.

      bbneo
    • Or Apple is leagally in the right and even with

      deep pockets the others loose. Something they do NOT want too
      chance I think. After all once a court case is won by Apple it goes
      from a 900lb gorilla to a 1800lb one and that you my friend don't
      want too see...:P

      Me I'm cool with it:)

      The real question is in the end does Apple own this or not? If not the
      patents should never have been granted and someone should fight
      this on priinciple alone. If Apple does legally own this tech or IP then
      companies should start paying royalties too Apple to use it and all will
      be good. That is how business is done in this country. If Apple does
      not allow royalties to be paid in other words they refuse to allow
      others too use it then again Apple should be sued and a court can
      decide the end results I think Compaq back in the day did something
      like this. They used IBM's IP/Tech and IBM sued Compaq but what
      Compaq did was in every sale they put aside money to pay IBM
      royalties and when the law suite was settled Compaq did owe IBM a
      boat load of money in terms of royalties but they already had said in
      the bank.

      Simple really.......

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Prior Art

        Apple doesn't own multi-touch. I'd recommend that you go look at the patent summary and claims. After reading a little bit, you quickly realize that Apple's claims are a lot narrower than the press and iManagement are attempting to portray them.

        Apple didn't patent multitouch, they patented mutlitouch on a smart phone using a glass screen and specific software methods. As long as Microsoft, Palm and others use a different method of detection Apple will lose badly.
        ___________________________

        <a href="http://www.oak-tree.us/blog">Oak-Tree.us/Blog</a>
        Rob Oakes
        • Actually MS, Palm, etc lose

          That's the whole point Apple is making...don't use multi-touch on a
          mobile phone to navigate like the iPhone.

          Microsoft, Palm, Android, etc. are all coming after Apple; not vice-versa.
          They all want to have their own iPhone and the only way to do that is to
          copy the iPhone. And that's where Apple will fight and win...and
          rightfully should.

          For Pete's sake, mobile phones have been around for 20+ years and
          smartphones for 5+ years. So Apple is at fault for these others failing to
          recognize a better way to improve the user experience?!!
          pairof9s
    • You're truly pathetic Liquid Nitogen.

      To be the first poster for so many Apple-related threads indicates that you must hover over your keyboard all day, just waiting to pounce with your inane, asinine comments.

      Pathetic and sad really.

      To criticize for wanting to protect your IP and what makes your product unique (and innovative) confirms your new moniker of Liquid Nitrogen

      ...
      MacCanuck
  • RE: Google: Go tell Apple to shove it.

    very very interesting article, I respect apple to come up with great products but to keep exclusivity they go beyond limits and sometimes do plainly stupid things.
    pv_shah007@...
  • RE: Google: Go tell Apple to shove it.

    regardless of the arguments in this article, i have to ask a simple question.

    Just how old are you? you sound like a child. Everything from the title of the article to the poll, Yes, Apple is a bully and bullies need to have their faces kicked in. (86%)

    How mature and adult of you
    richvball44
  • Re: Fun

    Funny Article and Interesting COMMENTS, but
    RIVAL's clash is more interesting

    Cheers,
    Kathiravan Manoharan
    http://kathyravan.blogspot.com
    http://paisamechanic.blogspot.com
    m.kathirav@...
  • Apple has no patent on "multi-touch"... please get a clue!

    i'm not going to write a response to such a pathetically
    uninformed, unresearched article...

    i'll just point readers to Gizmodo and Engaget that
    surprisingly have actually done some real analysis, got
    comments from patent lawyers etc... of this issue... the writer
    of this article has no idea what he's talking about, no grasp
    of the important issues at hand and this results in this
    shallow, pathetic article... don't waste your time.
    doctorSpoc
    • You just did write that response...

      ...and quite unconvincingly, too.
      flatliner
      • like i said.. if you want a REAL article head over to Engaget or Gizmodo nt

        ...
        doctorSpoc
        • that was another response

          :D
          massivegas
    • Nice Try!

      "I'm not going to write a response to such a pathetically uninformed, unresearched article... (followed by response) "

      <sarcasm>
      At least you stand by your convictions.
      </sarcasm>
      Metronome49
    • Are you even reading the same article, or is this just being an attack dog?

      The article's only mention of patents seems to be:

      "Palm, of course, is hardly prepared from a financial perspective to be assaulted by the Infinite Loop iAttorneys ? they?ve recently stated that they believe they have no patent issues to resolve with the company, but everyone is expecting for the shoe to drop."

      The author of this column doesn't seem to be claiming that he thinks there are patent issues, he's simply stating that someone ELSE stated that there weren't.
      Snark Shark
    • You must be...

      ...Gizmodo's owner! Yes, that's it!
      I loved the article, and APPLE can shove their patents up their colective asses!!!

      Oh, and you're pathetic and wasting your time and the time of every person that reads your garbage. XD
      Jediguardian
  • RE: Google: Go tell Apple to shove it.

    As an Android user I have to say I'm surprised by Google's gutless approach. There has to be more to it than just AAPL legal grandstanding. If this had been Redmond raising such a fuss, Google would've scoffed at backing down. Perhaps Apple threatened to deny Google further access to the iPhone???

    However, it IS nice to see that Apple's legal team still has their collective undies in a bunch. Continuity is such a comforting thang.
    flatliner
    • Access to iPhone? They don't care, they're Google.

      If it came to a clash between Google and Apple, Apple would lose badly. It would look like the early 1990s all over again.

      Apple is a hardware manufacturer, Google does web services. What value does the iPhone bring to Google's web services? Services, by the way, which are accessible from any computer, browser, or other smart-phone?

      Rather, it's Google that makes the iPhone look attractive. Google maps with street view, GPS, and directions? Cool! Free imap access? Nifty! See the trend?

      If Google decided to withdraw its service support from Apple and Mac, that would be very bad for Cupertino. Very, very bad.
      __________________________________

      <a href="http://www.oak-tree.us/blog">Oak-Tree.us/Blog</a>
      Rob Oakes
  • Practical reasons

    There may be practical reasons to not have the OS require multi-touch screens. They may want companies to be able to build low cost devices that will invariably use resistive touchscreens (cheaper, doesn't support multi-touch). Or they may want companies to release Android powered netbooks, which may not even have touch screens.

    We also forget that Android isn't just Google's operating system. It is being backed and/or developed by 48 different companies. There could very well be pressure from within the OHA for Android to officially support multi-touch, in particular from handset manufacturers.
    Theli
    • support doesn't mean REQUIREMENT...

      if you REQUIRE a hard drive, then it will not work without a hard drive...

      by contrast, if you SUPPORT a blu-ray drive, it doesn't mean you must have one! top end video cards *support* blu-ray video playback... but they can still run without it... they can even run without a specific video card driver! (lok into VESA for more)

      if Android SUPPORTS multi-touch, the providers who make the hardware don't have to use multi-touch!
      shryko