Welcome to the next logical step in the world of patent warfare: mutually assured destruction (MAD).
For those of you who didn't grow up during the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union, here's how MAD worked.
In MAD-driven foreign policy, the U.S. and the Soviet Union never let things get too ugly between the superpowers because if one of them went too far, the other could bomb the other into the Stone Age and vice-versa. So, yes, there were all kinds of wars from the '50s through the '80s -- Afghanistan, Angola, Korea, and Vietnam -- but the great powers never launched nukes at each other.
MAD was a cold, hard policy; but it worked.
Apple decided to go after Android, in the form of leading Android smartphone vendor Samsung, in what Steve Jobs called "thermonuclear war." Jobs may have been a great leader and a brilliant thinker, but he was no Henry Kissinger when it came to business partnerships and lawsuits.
This new lawsuit though doesn't have the FRAND fallout shelter. If Google gets its way with the ITC, there might not be any Phones, iPads, and Macs on store shelves sometime soon. Apple never should have gotten into this all-out patent war with both Google/Motorola and Samsung.
Jobs insisted on making it a winner-take-all grudge match and, for some reason, Apple's current chief executive Tim Cook has stayed the course.
Sure, Apple has just become the most valuable company ever, but how long will they stay that way if Apple loses big at any of these patent lawsuits or ITC hearings? Remember, this isn't really about Apple paying megabucks to its rivals; it's about having the iPhone, iPad, and Mac being banned from sale.
How much will Apple be worth if it can't sell the iPhone 5 in the US in September? How much will Apple be worth if Apple can't sell its products in the 2012 holiday season?