“We’ve Always Been Shameless About Stealing Great Ideas” –Steve Jobs
It was inevitable that the competition would catch-up to Apple’s iPhone, and its App Store eventually. My guess is that in the near future we will see an Android based equivalent to iTunes either built by, or endorsed by Google that will sync media from desktop or possibly the cloud to your hand held device. Think of Double Twist which exists already but it’s not endorsed by Google, and not yet widely adopted.
With the recent competition that Google has bestowed upon Apple’s handset business model by offering its own handset, and the industry’s rapid adoption of the Android operating system it was expected that Apple would respond quickly in order to protect its market share; but with a patent infringement lawsuit?
I understand that the lawsuit against HTC is a business strategy to block competition but at the same time, it is extremely hypocritical. A prime example is the graphical user interface (GUI) that Apple took from Xerox (ever watch Pirates of Silicon Valley?) and used as the basis of its personal computing business. The GUI put the company on the map and sold millions of Apple computers and now that someone uses what Apple perceives to be their intellectual property they turn around and file a lawsuit? Here is a company that had a complete disregard for patent law when it took the GUI from Xerox, yet now they turn to those same laws for protection to protect what they perceives to be theirs?
To me, it’s similar to the infamous conversation said to have happened between Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) and Bill Gates (former Microsoft CEO). After Apple released the original GUI Microsoft developed its own take on the GUI and was ready to introduce as Windows. Steve Jobs approached Bill Gates and said “You stole the windows idea from Apple. If you release Windows, we will sue” to which Bill Gates promptly replied “You stole the idea from Xerox, I’m simply using the idea that you stole from Xerox”. See the hypocrisy?
This is not to imply that Apple does not have a valid claim against HTC according to patent law, but don’t change your company’s ideals to protect your market share and hope to have the continued endorsement of the community that you created. Hello Apple, your community became your community because of your ideals.
On the other hand, we have the Android community to look to. A community that was created by innovation, transparency, and openness by Google. Google has shifted control away from the handset manufacturers and carriers and put the control into the hands of the consumer with the introduction of the Nexus One. You could say that the Nexus One is more than just a name for a handset, but the name for a business strategy that may just change the entire way the cell phone industry operates today. Now that’s huge.
Oh, did I mention that it’s said that Apple Headquarters used to fly a pirate flag in front of its building? Now that was money!
That was also a long time ago.
Update – It was just reported that Apple plans on coming out with “walkie talkie” functionality for the IPhone. Oh Sprint/Nextel, round up your lawyers. Hypocrisy!