Without radical change in patent law, Android's ecosystem will die

Without radical change in patent law, Android's ecosystem will die

Summary: Only the invalidation of Apple's utility and design patents will save Android from possible extinction as a widely-used mobile device platform.

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Which brings us to a side topic: the fate of Research in Motion and the BlackBerry platform, and whether or not Windows Phone will emerge as its natural replacement.

Strong Windows Phone adoption would damage RIM, because the core of what RIM is trying to do is secure enterprise messaging and Windows Phone 8 has that same core functionality.

One might think that Apple's victories in the courts would make RIM's platform more viable, but that would be a very foolish line of reasoning.

RIM would derive very little benefit from Apple's patent victories other than the fact that Apple doesn't see them as a major blip on their radar screen.

RIM is still going to go down the toilet at the same accelerated rate as before, unless by some miracle, BlackBerry OS 10 is a crazy hit with consumers, the developers take to building QNX apps like flies on dung, the PlayBook rises from the dead like <insert your favorite religious icon here> and the enterprise reverses course on dumping their BlackBerries like yesterday's fish wrapping.

Still, I cannot predict what goes on in the complex minds of consumers. I can only analyze industry patterns and see if there are common trends that emerge.

But I don't think there is really room for three or four major platforms, there's room for two at best, especially given the horrendous economy we're all saddled with. I've made that argument in the past and I continue to stand by it today.

I think that the new Nokia products that were just introduced, the Lumia 920 and 820 look like excellent products and the PureView photographic technology that they are bringing to the table is phenomenal, which may give them an advantage.

But I am not sure the Finnish handset manufacturer can generate enough sales in a rapid enough fashion in CY 2013 to keep them above water.

We'll see how Samsung's Windows Phone 8 offerings do next year.

Topics: Android, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung

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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349 comments
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  • Wow

    You guys have to be the worst writers on any tech site when it comes to logic. There is no way, this stuff is going to stick and California already refused to choose sides by telling both Apple and Samsung Patents aren't there to prevent competition. As soon as an entity foreign to the US entered into a Suit they were found to have compromised Apple's intellectual property.
    slickjim
    • Oops

      California told both Apple and Google that patents aren't to prevent competition and then proceded to whack samsung on the very next trial.
      slickjim
      • But this is only because Apple versus Samsung case was so blatantly obvious

        You can not prevent competition, but IP theft is wrong, too.
        DDERSSS
        • It was not obvious to professional Judges.

          Apple could only get injunction for Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet over design patent.

          Jury ruled that Samsung do not make such thing.

          So if there was anything fairly obvious, jury did not agreed.
          przemoli
          • Read Samsung's memo

            It's clear what their intentions were when iPhone came out.
            ASPNET
          • Nope

            Did in it say "We need to copy iPhone 1:1"?

            No.

            They did say that they need to focus for new design type of devices. And they had done that _before_ iPhone was presented to anyone (for even Samsung).

            IPhone is full of copied designs and ideas from other companies, what have had them even in one smart phone.

            But hey, everyone are copying everyone and no one can not make a big screen touch screen device in other style.

            But, in this case it is about graphical design in some parts, what Samsung added, what Android does not include at all.

            It is Apple vs Samsung and not Apple vs Android.

            When OEM adds things to Android what does not exist it otherwise, it is OEM actions, not Androids.
            Fri13
        • Obvious? No one said it was obvious, only you who wasn't there

          is saying it's obvious.

          I guess I can say that it's obvious Apple would win this, only because it's hard to get the Apple owning, Apple investing jury to damage their most revered brand by voting honestly.
          William Farrel
          • Yep and...

            Jimmy Kimmel showed that many Apple fans can't even tell when their own phone is being sold to them as a new model!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rdIWKytq_q4
            slickjim
          • unbelievable!!!

            I think we can close this discussion once and forever. iPhone 4S is definitely faster, lighter, thinner than iPhone 4S.
            pupkin_z
          • I still have to ask (and I saw the video) Apple fans, or just...

            'Man on the Street'. I'm sorry, most 'fans' would have known by looking that it wasn't a 5 by too many factors. The simple fact that it's metal frame is still silver and not black is one of them along with the placement of the antenna breaks. Even I wouldn't acknowledge a single one of those asked as a 'fan' (though some of them may have been users of older models).
            DWFields
          • The last guy in the video said he owned a 4S.

            Enough said.
            laequis
          • Just because someone owns an Apple product doesn't automatically...

            make them a 'fan'. I will admit to being more of a 'Fan' as I have used Apple products for over 30 years and personally believe them the most reliable and most functional devices of their type on the market--more from experience than any form of hearsay. I, personally, would have known the difference. But then, I also pay far more attention to the tech world than most users.
            DWFields
          • Because these people know what color the new one is right?

            I don't know anyone outside of this industry who knows what color scheme the new one will be. Most people expect it to look exactly the same as the last model , but with better performance.
            mrefuman
          • Hmmm..

            Just so I'm following you here...

            Are you saying fans would be able to tell the subtle differences between iPhone 4 and 5?

            With that logic in mind, is it reasonable to also assume that these same core consumers of Apple products would also be able to tell the difference between a Samsung product and an Apple product (which are FAR less subtle)?
            PolymorphicNinja
          • As I've said more than once...

            The average consumer simply couldn't care less. They don't buy for specs; they buy for functionality (not necessarily 'features').
            DWFields
          • funny but says more about the people than the phone...

            Do the same thing with a Samsung and I bet you get the same result!! People are just funny :D

            For the record though, I own an iPhone, but I am strongly considering moving away. I don't intend to keep giving my money to a company that registers bogus patents and then make money off the so-called infringers (I just made a new word...). Even though technically and legally correct, it doesn't make it right. The great thing is that us users can vote with our feet.

            More fundamentally, the US patent system seems to be broken. How ever did MS get Windows TMed? Windows are general things, used in everyday language, and you're not supposed to be able to TM general terms or words...

            In a similar way, Icons have been around for a long time, they're all more or less square and fit onto grids, that have been around forever. Now that Apple has patented it, are they also going to sue MS, etc etc??? Back-dating over how many versions of Windows?

            It's what happens when you adhere to the letter of the law and forget the spirit it was written in. I've seen that somewhere before ;)
            Bazzie
          • First you have to assume the patents are bogus

            And since they were issued, then at least somebody thought they were valid. Only when they are challenged and revoked are you going to definitively say they are bogus.
            DWFields
        • Okay Mr Ignorant

          Clearly, you cannot see beyond the RDF Eminating from your iOS devices so, I'll ask you this...

          How is it that Google / Motorola had many of these same features and the judge clearly told them they are not allowed to use patents to limit competition? Yet that same court system whacked Samsung for just that?

          Could it be because Google and Apple are both American Companies and Samsung is not?

          I have a Galaxy Note, I'm very pleased with the phone and have no desire to buy a phone that does less! If Apple had their way, we would be forced to buy a phone that does less, the iPhone 5! I guess Jobs wanted Orwell to be right all along huh?
          slickjim
          • Absolutely wrong!

            If Apple had their way you could still buy whatever phone you wanted as long as it didn't infringe on Apple's IP. Of course I am sure you would be more than happy if any of Apple's products were banned because they infringed on somebody else's IP but when the shoe is on the other foot it's anti competitive right?
            non-biased
          • If Apple Wins

            They may very well become the only viable smart phone on the market. If that happens I will make do with with a dumb phone. These anti-competition lawsuits from apple have left a bad taste in my mouth. I will never consider buying an apple product again.
            cuulblu