Microsoft and Apple unleash thermonuclear war on Google and Android

Microsoft and Apple unleash thermonuclear war on Google and Android

Summary: Former Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs promised to "destroy Android" because it was "a stolen product" and said that he was "willing to go thermonuclear war" on the platform. This could be that war.

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TOPICS: Android
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Former Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs didn't like Android and told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he would "destroy Android" because it was "a stolen product" before going on to say that he was "willing to go thermonuclear war" on the platform.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion the money that Apple held in the bank at the time] in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs told Isaacson.

Though Jobs is not around to see it, that thermonuclear war may now have been unleashed

The Rockstar Consortium, a joint venture owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony, have kicked into motion a barrage of lawsuits against a raft of defendants that include Google, Samsung, LG Electronics, HTC, and Huawei. In other words, all big players in the Android market.

Rockstar bought the patents being used here during Nortel's bankruptcy auction. At the time it was clear that Google understood the value of these patents because the company bid as much as $4.4 billion in order to get its hands on them. Rockstar outbid the search giant with a $4.5 billion bid.

The lawsuit charges the companies with a number of patent infringements, the most damaging of which may be that Google infringes patents by matching search terms to relevant advertising on mobile devices. This could have a huge effect on Google because the company's game plan with Android relies on giving away the operating system in order to make money via advertising.

The Rockstar Consortium, which is what is known in the business as a non-practicing entity, or, less generously, a "patent troll," is a company created specifically to buy and sell patents, without creating any actual products or innovations themselves. And while it has been quiet for the past couple of years, it seems that it has been spending that time reverse-engineering Android devices with the express intent of finding patent violations.

These latest barrage of lawsuits seem to be the fruits of that effort.

These lawsuits are particularly damaging to the Android machine because they target it on two fronts:

  • First, there's a precision attack on Google, one that targets the company's revenue source from Android. If Google can't find a way to make money from Android, the project becomes a huge liability.
  • Secondly, it hits the hardware OEMs, going after them for potentially more money in the form of Android licensing fees. Microsoft is already extracting cash from Android OEMs in the form of royalties, earnings that are estimated to grow to $8.8 billion annually by 2017. The more the OEMs have to pay out per device, the smaller their margins become, and the less viable Android is as a business. Even the litigation stage is likely to be painfully costly.

Apple and Microsoft might seem like a very unlikely pairing, but as the old proverb goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And right now Android is a major thorn in the side of both the Cupertino and Redmond giant. 

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Topic: Android

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191 comments
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            • It's ridiculous

              that there is malware in the Play Store. That just shouldn't happen. It's a monetized package manager that can't be trusted more than the ones that operate without seeking profits.
              srkelley5
              • malware

                It depends on just how good the hacker is. Sometimes they are just to fare ahead of the gatekeepers to be stopped.
                hayneiii@...
  • Users

    The discrepancy here is with the users. Don't trust them, they are usually the weakest link in any security setup. Not that admins are invulnerable but they're less likely to be as careless or ignorant of risks than regular users. They're also paid to keep stuff secure, their focus isn't on just consuming/using.
    srkelley5
  • Sadly, a common misconception

    That some software is open source and/or freely available does not make it free of IP issues.

    You may have an piece of software that uses patented algorithm. That algorithm can be patented in some country and not in another. You are therefore forced to obtain license to use the algorithm where it is patented, which in the case of a mass distributed product, means -- everywhere.

    Commercial distribution and obtaining a license is not the same as using the patented algorithm for your own use, which most often is covered under non-commercial license. So you might be able to use free, open source software for your private non-commercial use, but can't for commercial use, unless you obtain a license.

    It all depends on the license. Unfortunately, most people just ignore the fine print.
    danbi
  • Industrial espionage is not nice, Mr. Schmidt.

    Let's hope Google gets what they have coming for ripping off iPhone strategy.
    Userama
    • thats just noise ...

      .. given the amount of cash MS makes from Android - why on earth would they kill the cash cow? I guess they just try to get a bigger piece of the cake.
      Kristoth68
    • Ahh yes

      The old, "Let's sell smartphones" - apple invented that.

      Or was it the icons on a screen? - Yep, apple invented that with the iphone

      Or was it the rounded rectangle shaped phone, because we know apple invented that.

      The list of apple inventions is endless, how dare anyone sell anything.
      Little Old Man
      • And the first company to put that all together and "change the game" was..?

        Hint: Not Google.
        Userama
        • So apple made a pretty smartphone and that's a strategy now?

          Apple improved smartphones in the evolutionary sense of the word; previous phones had touchscreens, edge access, apps, icons on the screen etc etc etc but they were more techy.
          They didn't invent the smartphone, they didn't really invent anything at all, they packaged various improvements. That is not strategy, that is evolution. Outside of the RDF of course.

          So no, I don't agree anyone copied the apple strategy, it was the same strategy as all phone makers were following, apple just had a better marketing dept.
          Little Old Man
          • Apple didn't make a pretty smartphone.

            The completely remade the smartphone.

            This is what the Blackberry founder thought.

            "To Mr. Lazaridis, a life-long tinkerer who had built an oscilloscope and computer while in high school, the iPhone was a device that broke all the rules. The operating system alone took up 700 megabytes of memory, and the device used two processors. The entire BlackBerry ran on one processor and used 32 MB. Unlike the BlackBerry, the iPhone had a fully Internet-capable browser. That meant it would strain the networks of wireless companies like AT&T Inc., something those carriers hadn’t previously allowed. RIM by contrast used a rudimentary browser that limited data usage......Publicly, Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Balsillie belittled the iPhone and its shortcomings....Internally, he had a very different message. “If that thing catches on, we’re competing with a Mac, not a Nokia,” he recalled telling his staff."



            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/the-inside-story-of-why-blackberry-is-failing/article14563602/?page=all
            yoshipod
          • Nice try - a totally limited comparison

            So it was better than BB? So? So BB didn't have full internet browser? So what? The phones running win mobile or whatever it's name was, did have. I had a £360 phone bill for non-wap internet access. So that disputes everything in the above quote other than in relation to BB.

            I can assure you, if you were using smartphones before the iphone, the iphone was not tech-shift product you're making it out to be. If it had been, I would have jumped in with both feet. While I had something comparable, what was the point?
            Little Old Man
          • What did you have that was comparable?

            Because I sure don't remember anything else like the first iPhone.
            yoshipod
          • That's because you have a closed mind

            It's quite evident from your previous comments.

            Just look at the devices running the windows mobile versions. Tell me what they didn't have that the iphone brought to the table. We had touchscreens, full screen 'real estate', downloadable apps, cameras, full internet access and, as it happens, a proper file system, removable storage, and choices for apps such as mp3 players etc.

            So the iphone packaged it better, was an update with the newly available technology. It was an incremental improvement on previous phones. I don't think anyone argues it was the first smartphone anymore do they?
            Little Old Man
          • Palm, too

            Also the Palm products could tick most of those boxes. The iPhone was a great step forwards, more of a leap, actually, but there was nothing fundamentally new in it. Just a far better presentation than any of its competitors.

            We should give Apple credit where it is due - for presenting existing technologies and concepts in a brilliant new way; NOT for innovating new technologies or techniques.
            Thack
          • Who has the closed mind?

            Simply naming a checklist of features that are scattered across multiple devices is meaningless. See...heres one with a camera, this one has a large screen, that one has a touchscreen, this one comes with a low end browser.

            I don't recall any windows phone having anything like multitouch, allowing users to zoom in and out, rotating to change from horizontal to vertical, software touch keyboard that could change based on the app, they did not have a desktop class browser, nor the class of apps (like google maps) that were on the iPhone.

            You can try and show how some feature was available first on a different platform, but the iPhone was the first truly usable, elegant, functional smartphone, that integrated everything into a seamless experience.

            Don't take my word for it, go read stories from the executives at other phones companies who were blown away at what the iPhone was. I linked the blackberry one, someone did Nokia. I am sure there are many more.

            The iPhone changed the way we view and use smartphones. End of story. It was a revolutionary device, not a simple incremental update as so many anti-apple people like to make it seem.
            yoshipod
          • End of story?

            Why because you say so?

            We have a name for people like you, think of brick but spelt with a p.
            How old are you? You sound somewhere between 12 and 16. Why would two quotes posted on here override my experience? You clearly weren't around at the time, judging by your comment so are relying on something from a first page google search.

            I was using the phones of the time, I was there. So no, 2 quotes about specific other companies do not cut it. At best your argument is still apple took current technologies and put them in one rounded rectangle. You have no grasp of what a revolution would be.

            You love apple, you can't get enough and you wear their products like a badge of honor. We get it, we don't agree but we get it. I'd hate to be around you when you finally step out of the RDF.
            Little Old Man
          • Lets see....what carries more weight.

            Some anonymous posting on a web site forum from someone who used a couple of phones, or quotes/stories from two of the top executives at the top two smart phone makers back in 2007.

            If one of the founders of Blackberry and a top executive at Nokia say that the iPhone changed the game, then I will most certainly support their views over whatever you can come up with.

            All the name calling, other personal attacks, and the old "RDF" are always a sign that you have no real argument.

            As I said, you can find elements of features from a number of prior phones, but there was nothing at all like the iPhone before it came out. If all you can see is that Apple "took current technologies and put them in one rounded rectangle", then you are really the one living in a bubble. The iPhone was a revolutionary device.
            yoshipod
          • Would both of you just go play

            on the freeway or something? The article was about Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony joining together to become just another patent troll. Sony, at one time everything was Sony, now in most markets they are a hasbeen.. BB is about the same, Ericsson was at the top once.. not so much in the consumer mind, and MS and Apple seem to want nothing but conflict between consumers and every company that might offer competition to them. An bunch of hasbeen's trying to keep going not by innovation or invention but by litigation. Even if they lose they gain by costing everyone (meaning YOU) money, the consumer always has to pay when the companies fight. The only ones that win are the lawyers.
            Putertechn
          • FO and bother someone else

            Are we any more interested in what you wrote. Hmm, bit of a rehash of what's already been said, hours before.

            You'd be better off playing on the motorway.
            Little Old Man
          • Irony

            Is when someone tells someone "end of story" while stating they have no argument. Hmmm, yes Yoshi, your are obvious the 'winner' as you said end of story.

            I'll re-iterate my point - I was there, you managed to find to random quotes to tell you a story about a time you know nothing about. That, right there, is why your two quotes mean nothing to me. Please do yourself a service and provide the full context of those quotes, the publication, the title of the article, all surrounding text. Oh, you do know that you can manipulate a subject by extracting just the text that agrees with you? No, oh okay, maybe you'll learn that in next year's school year.
            Little Old Man