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Thomas Claburn
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Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics

Apple should spend more energy innovating and enabling its developers to innovate and less energy on policing. That's how it will stay ahead of Google.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs believed Google's Android mobile operating system was a stolen product and said he was ready to fight to destroy it.

"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product," he said, according to biographer Walter Issacson. "I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

Apple has not quite gotten to nukes, but it has taken aim at Google and pulled the trigger. It launched patent lawsuits against Google's Android hardware partners, HTC in 2010 and Samsung in 2011. It challenged Google on its home turf, advertising, with the introduction of iAd. It began working with mobile carriers beyond AT&T in the United States to limit Android adoption in markets where it had withheld the iPhone. And it launched iCloud.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, the gloves came off. Apple revealed that Google would no longer provide the backend map technology for the iOS Maps app. The divorce affects all iOS developers who use iOS Map APIs: Apps approved for iOS 6 must use Apple's Map Kit API, which no longer utilizes Google's map services.

[ Take a look at Apple's updates revealed at WWDC. See Apple WWDC: 17 Cool Innovations. ]

Apple is not without allies in its war on Google. Microsoft has convinced most of the Android handset makers to enter into patent licensing agreements, which make Android more expensive to distribute. And Microsoft's complaints about Google's search business, along with complaints from like-minded Web companies, have regulators poised to punish Google for anti-competitive behavior. Oracle sued Google claiming that Android violated its patents and copyrights, but lost in court.

Nonetheless, Android continues to thrive. Google's head of Android, Andy Rubin, recently said via Twitter than Android activations had reached 900,000 per day, up from 850,000 per day in February.

And Apple's legal campaign against Android has suffered some setbacks. Last week, Judge Richard Posner, overseeing Apple's claim against Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, tentatively decided to dismiss the case because neither party had established a right to relief.

Apple claims Motorola's Xoom tablet and Droid violate its patents, and Google claims Apple infringes a Motorola cellular patent.

Apple caught a break on Thursday when the judge reversed himself and decided to hear Apple's arguments for an injunction. But Judge Posner's initial inclination to dismiss the case suggests Apple faces an uphill fight.

Earlier this week, Judge Lucy Koh, hearing Apple's patent infringement claims against Samsung, issued an order indicating that she would not issue an injunction to block Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone prior to its June 21 release.

Two weeks from now, Google will get to fire back at its own developer conference. Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean) is expected to be shown, along with an Asus-made Google Nexus tablet.

This isn't a war Apple can win by litigation. It may achieve some success in court, but patent infringement claims won't make Google, Android, or Google's hardware partners disappear. There's almost certainly a way around Apple's patents, as Google's victory over Oracle's claims demonstrated. And even if Apple had been successful in blocking the import of Samsung's Galaxy S III, phone models can be reconfigured so they don't infringe. Plus, there's always another competitor to step in when one is stymied.

Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to recognize that litigation isn't the way. Bequeathed Jobs' war, he has indicated he's less enthusiastic about fighting over Android than his predecessor. During Apple's Q2 2012 financial call, he opened the door to negotiating an end to the conflict.

"I've always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it," Cook said. "We just want people to invent their own stuff. And so if we could get to some kind of arrangement where we could be assured that's the case and a fair settlement on the stuff that's occurred, I would highly prefer to settle versus battle. But it--the key thing is that it's very important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff."

The thing is they don't. Technology companies build using other people's stuff. They stand on the shoulders of giants. That's not to say there isn't genuine innovation out there, innovation that deserves the protection of the patent system. There is. But most of what's being patented isn't genuinely innovative.

To fight Google, Apple has to change. Yes, Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world at the moment, but it is only one company. It seeks to control too much, and in so doing, it stands to lose out on the next big opportunity, the Internet of Things.

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Faye Kane, homeless brain
Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2012 | 2:27:44 AM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
You know, Belkin, sarcastic insults only work against someone who is wrong. You said:

"iBook Author... the ONLY requirement is that you cannot copy the format to use on another platform - NOT THE CONTENT, YOU OWN THAT - only the file format can only be used on an IOS device, wow, some restriction"

That's right, some restriction. I wrote an intense sex-slave porn story that I suspect will sell well because it really happened to me. Last week I had to decide what software to use to format and distribute it. After reading the e-publishing article David Carnoy wrote two weeks ago at C-NET, I discovered that there are two real choices when e-publishing: amazon and smashwords. Note that neither of them is iBook, which is only mentioned in passing.

Gū¦ Why in the WORLD would I or anyone else want to develop a book that can't be read at, by far the world's biggest bookstore?

Other commenters here are exactly right. When companies get big, they become infected with some kind of greed-rabies. It makes them deemphasize the creation of products people like, and instead, they allocate resources to damaging their competition, their customers, their reputation, and ultimately, themselves. IBM is the best example, but with Win8, Microsoft is clearly on the path to corporate suicide.

Now that Apple is powerful, damn if they aren't doing the exact same thing: believing that there's a difference between what's good for their company and what's good for their customers.

User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2012 | 9:16:11 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
You're defnse of Google and its business plan is cute but naive. Two things. OPEN is fine for the internet but every successful business model is based on a fencing of some kind - just like the difference betwen a national park with roads and rangers to shot if a bear attacks you. You might enjoy the complete open life & death space of the north pole - great for you but NO THANKS for 99.5% of us non-anarchists. Also, if you think Google is open, you are naive - Google only wants others to open their business. Where's the technology on search? Where is the openess there? Again, they only want open on businesses where they make no money (ie: anything other than search). You;re simply deluding yourself if you think open is any business model - it's the same as a pay as you decide what it's worth restuarnt - cute but not a long term plan. Google thought they could replicate the mozilla model with android - the only way they could hope to catch up to apple - leverage 35 corporate programming teams plus freelancers ... only unlike defeating explorer with mozilla, Apple is a much more nimble target. After 5 years, what innovations has android added? NOTHING. They started on a moral low ground by having Schmidt race back from board meetings to scribble on a whiteboard. Clealy open to you means no ethics either? Once you start there, they kept looking around for shortcuts and ultimately, you have 35 teams copying each other after they copy Apple. Slow? Android OS. wonky. Android OS? Weak IOS copy? Android. Can't beat Apple on resolution or screen quality - we'll keep the same pixels and just make the screen 4.99"! What could be more Google innovative than that? It's no wonder that after 10 years and hundreds of acquistions, Google makes 96% of it revenue from ad search links. They are a great one trick pony but compared to Apple, they are the classified ads of technology ... and either you;re an idiot or you purposely misrepresent the truth - iAd Creator and iBook Author are NOT ONLY FREE for ANYONE to use but the ONLY requirement is that you cannot copy the format to use on another platform - NOT THE CONTENT, YOU OWN THAT - only the file format can only be used on an IOS device, wow, some restriction - but of course, the actual truth doesn't gib with your misguided ramblings.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2012 | 7:23:02 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
As someone that has been in the computer business for four decades, I have seen this pattern often. Companies start out small, become large through innovation, and then start protecting themselves through litigation. Many of these companies are no longer around because litigation is a poor excuse for innovation. A prime example was Digital Equipment Corporation, king of mini-computers.

Apple is extremely innovative; they can compete with Google. They also have the advantage of homogeneous devices and software making integration of applications across platforms much easier. If Apple starts relying on lawyers, it will not serve them well.

The decision to drop Google maps is not good. They need to bring the best to their users. I was planning to change from an Android to an iPhone soon but now will have to evaluate how this affects maps and navigation. The Android is very good at this. However, there are many issues with Android: Constantly changing user interfaces, software applications that hang, and lack of integration between all devices such as the iPad and iPhone have. My Android reminds me a little of running Windows due to similar realtime operating system problems and update issues. I do not want to wake up in the morning and find I no longer know how to manipulate application icons.

Google is building a huge ego; look at what happened to Android Market; it is now Google Play. I woke up one morning to this change. Research showed that Google was getting worried about name recognition in the Andoid market and decided to change Market to Google Play. Google also needs to concentrate on innovations and not so much on Google ruling the world.

The single biggest thing that hurt iPhone was the lack of openness to carriers; I wonder where they might be if Verizon had come 6 months or a year earlier? Poor thinking is your worst enemy!

Apple has a great head start, wonderful integration and the iPad. I recommend that Apple keep working on their advantage, innovation and more competitive pricing. People will move to the best cost performance devices.

Innovation and competition are good for consumers and companies. Litigation only serves the lawyers and there are all ready too many of those in America.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2012 | 4:26:43 AM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Apple has the resources to fight both legally and through innovation.
Apple is already eliminating Google's income from the iOS platform by replacing Google Maps with Apple's own iMap app. Apple is also eliminating Google's primary income by replacing web searches with Siri voice searches. If this spreads to Windows, then Google stands to lose huge income when no one does web based searches anymore.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 10:54:09 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Thomas - you are so right! Apple does need to loose the reins. While people praise Apple for their super-successful iPhone sales, they forget that Apple initially only allowed iPhones on limited carriers globally which enabled their inferior competition to rise on other carriers. They did it so that they could put the pricing screws to the carriers for exclusivity, thereby birthing their nemesis, Android. Long term, their control lost them control and will continue to do so.

And now we see carriers starting to revolt under the pricing pressure from Apple. In the US, carriers are not allowed to alter pricing for iPhones - and carriers get charged more for iPhones than other similar phones (supposedly). Verizon recently added an 'upgrade' fee for new phones, but have dropped Android phones down in price - AND if you make a fuss when buying, you have a very good chance of getting them to discount an Android phone further. For example, the new 16GB Galaxy S III is $199 and the 32GB version is $249 on pre-order. Previously, before the upgrade fee was introduced, 32GB flagship Android phones were $299. Verizon has, in effect, increased the cost to purchase iPhones only. I just read a report this week that said the Droid Razr (and/or Maxx) outsold iPhone on Verizon... evidence that it is starting to happen.

I can hear Princess Leia saying to Apple - "The more you tighten your grip, Apple, the more smart-phones will slip through your fingers"...
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 9:41:24 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
I didn't read the words "Android is a stolen product" in the piece. It's fair to say that the idea for a UNIX/Linux based OS behind a resistive touch screen interface, as implemented by Google, was pretty darn similar to iOS.

There were many differences but hey, with Schmidt on the board and not recusing himself until Android became a reality who can claim that Google didn't copy just a couple of ideas? You can't copyright or patent an idea so Apple, ever frustrated, went after whatever patents it thought it could.

That said, Mr. Claburn is right. This is childish and it takes Apple's eyes off the prize. They've gotten to where they are by imagining the future, not by litigating the past.

It's a compliment that the feature set of the iPhone is now a sort of benchmark for what smartphones should have (aside from features like RIM's BES). Accept the compliment, license what you can and move on to the next killer idea.

Apple's branding is to design the future. If they do that they will never want for revenue.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 9:10:51 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Android is a stolen product? Sounds stupid when the core operating system on all of Apple's devices are derived from BSD.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 7:08:13 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
I guess I would sum this up as "Google innovates, everyone else litigates". It's hard to argue against this by looking back at events of the last 4 years. Apple and Microsoft seemed almost fearless in the past when it came to rolling out fresh ideas and new technologies, now they are but tired parodies of themselves. They have become what everyone hated about IBM back in the day.

Tom Claburn
Tom Claburn,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 7:08:08 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
I'm not saying Apple should not defend itself at all. Rather it should spent less time in non-productive conflict and circling its wagons. When Microsoft invested $150 million in 1997, Steve Jobs had to explain the cessation of hostiles with Apple's arch-enemy at the time. As recounted by Wired, he told Mac supporters, "We have to let go of a few notions here. We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose." Tim Cook might try substituting the word "Google" for "Microsoft" in that sentence.

And as for the copyright at the bottom of the page, I have no say over that. It might as well not be there though since InformationWeek articles are routinely copied in part or in whole and re-published without permission. That's the Internet for you. Having a copyright notice does very little to stop copying.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 5:29:02 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Two things. First, it wasn't an "armistice treaty with Microsoft--when Microsoft bought $150 million in preferred Apple shares in 1997--helped Apple survive long enough for Steve Jobs to turn things around." Rather, Apple had caught Microsoft stealing Quicktime code. Rather than years in trials and Microsoft eventually paying Apple billions, they agreed to cross-license certain patents (you didn't know about that and ignored it) and MS paid off Apple by keeping Office available for the Mac and giving Apple some chump change.

Second, I'll accept your idea that Apple shouldn't defend their work and let others simply steal it when you delete the "Copyright -¬ 2012 UBM TechWeb, All rights reserved." found at the bottom of the page.

Or are you really just a hypocrite telling others to do what you won't?
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