Tim Cook tells competitors to invent their own stuff -- Apple is not the world's developer

Apple to pay Motorola for push e-mail patents relating to iCloud

Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked during Apple's Q2 2012 conference call how he felt about ongoing patent litigation, and whether he might be more open to a settlement or resolution than his predecessor, Steve Jobs might have been. Cooks answer was pretty much the same now as it was before he became CEO -- he doesn't like litigation, but he also doesn't like other companies using what he feels are Apple innovations to sell competing products. Cook also took it a step further, saying Apple cannot become the developer for the world. Although he didn't elaborate, it seemed to be along the same theme as previous statements -- he believes Apple competitors should invent their own stuff rather than copying Apple.

Apple is currently engaged in lawsuits with Android manufacturers including Samsung, Motorola, and HTC. The late Steve Jobs seems to have taken particular, personal offense at Android using what he felt were Apple innovations and giving them away "promiscuously". According to Jobs' biographer, Walter Isaacson:

[The Microsoft Windows situation was] almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. It wasn’t a matter of money. He said: ‘You can’t pay me off, I’m here to destroy you’.

This followed Jobs' famous scorched-earth vow:

I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. [...] I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.

Some have hoped that Tim Cook might bring a different temperament to the situation, and indeed he will be meeting with the head(s) of Samsung to discuss points of resolution in their case.

However, based on his statements today, it doesn't sound like he's making any drastic policy changes at this point.

(Nor is he addressing examples of Apple using Google and Palm-style elements, like Notifications, in iOS.)

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Tim Cook tells competitors to invent their own stuff -- Apple is not the world's developer


So the company that was run by a man who had no problem stealing other peoples ideas all of a sudden wants people to stop stealing their ideas?

The apple fanboys in this blog will come up with some excuse that disproves your statement. Just you wait and see. I am dying to read it.

To be fair, if it wasn't for the iPhone Android problably wouldn't be what it is today and most cell phones wouldn't look so "iPhone"ish. It's undeniable that Apple set new grounds in technology and then "magically" all these companies have competitor products that practically mimic the hardware and the software of iPhone and iPad.

Look familiar? That was 2002. Grid of icons and touch interface, similar to iOS.. Every one of your statements can substitute Palm for Apple and Android for Apple. Technology has always been built on innovating over prior ideas.
Let's stop arguing over old arguments based on Steve Jobs' warped sense of history and just enjoy the great innovations both Apple AND Google are bringing us.
The fact that Cook didn't bring up Apple blatantly copying Android's notification pull down or iMessage being a rip of BBM is telling. Apple is hardly the "world's developer". If anything, they are stagnating and iterating on prior designs rather than bringing new innovations to market.
I think they need Android to keep them on their toes and they both push the industry forward in their own way.
The existence of Android should not in any way diminish the enjoyment of your device. No one company should have a death grip on the mobile market.

Exactly! When the iPhone first came out, I honestly didn't understand the buzz around it. My Palm had a very similar OS and far superior capability. Granted, Apple immediately overtook Palm in terms of quality and stability, and of course capacitive touch was superior to resistive, but it took them YEARS to match the functionality that Palm had been offering for some time. Once they did, Palm offered too little too late to continue competing.

The question posed to Tim Cook was about patent litigation. The statement was not about "idea" theft. You cannot protect a mere "idea." A basic understanding of intellectual property informs us that an "idea" is not protectable. It is free to be, taken by anyone. Call it stolen if you want it makes no difference. What you can protect is the "tangible expression of an idea." And that is all that Tim is responding to. That is what litigation covers. Patents do not protect an "idea."

I agree. It's not who came up with the idea first. It's who executed the idea well and made it somewhat of a "standard" that everyone just imitated.

Kind of like how Apple invented the notification system in iOS.. They should go after Google for that..

"I’ve always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it,”
What a hypocrite. Why didn't you stop it, when you hate it. Patent for a rectangular screen?. Insanity
Thanks God, Apple don't produce microwaves, refrigerators, TVs, tables. chairs,...... etc.

Here we go with rectangles again. Can't people come up with something less stale? Clearly there is more to the case than a rectangle otherwise it would have been tossed by all of the courts a long time ago.

Apple is running out of ideas.
Developers for the world ? Hardly.
Sure iPhone was cool. But hasn't developed much since first release as the main interface is 90% the same as it was 5 years ago. Anything else added was stolen from others. That's not developing ;)
Cook , you don't have a chance in this industry if you're gonna be this cocky without having facts to back you up.
Jobs had vision and he was modest and charming. Without him, Apple is nothing. They're just surviving on his ideas for another couple years.

While there are aspects of iOS that needs to be updated, the interface (while so many years old) and the OS in general is still ahead of anything else in most ways. Why jack with something while it's still unmatched? It's odd that something so "old and simple" has yet to be duplicated. You can't point me to a single Android device out there that performs as smoothly has iOS.

I don't know about Android devices, but have you ever used a Windows Phone 7 device? It is not only just as fluid and responsive as iOS, but it looks much, much, much better. Going from WP7 to iOS makes one really feel the age of iOS, and how it really never evolved.

Why jack with something if it's still unmatched ? To develop further and stay ahead of the competition ;)
If you just stick around with the same and don't worry about staying ahead , then you'll end up like the rabbit who lost the race to the turtle ;)

I own both an iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Nexus and ICS runs just as smooth as the iPhone and is arguably more beautiful in its implementation. I say arguably only because beauty in design is a personal taste rather than a cold hard fact. In my opinion, it blows it away.
Android is much more functional than iOS in terms of customization and utility and its design has come a long way from where it was only a couple short years ago, whereas iOS has the same tired design that has barely changed at all.
If you dislike the design of Android, that's fine, but don't argue your opinion as a fact because design is not a quantifiable, measurable metric, much like art.
IOS is far from perfect and has its share of bugs. No device or OS is perfect, but ICS is very fluid and well designed.

Just like art, design has visual standards, and ID adds human interaction standards. So just like art there are basis (facts) by which to make judgements.

Yeah, it is feeling old and limited. I really wouldn't even consider iOS itself a strong feature right now, Apple is relying on hardware and ecosystem.

I don't think Forestal is going to sit around and do nothing. If anything he will have more freedom under Cook than Jobs.

Well if.that's how they feel. Then they better not use widgets, live wallpapers, opening the camara or automatically send a pre written text from the lock screen, true multitasking and so on. I love how they don't see anything wrong with adding notifications and a bbm like message system. Seems like Apple likes to steal, but can't stand to be the victim.

Umm... the product that results from combining all of those elements together? Virtually everything about the iPhone is original, minus the stupid, generic traits like "touchscreen", "cellphone" and "OS".

and there is our first fruit fanboy!
why don't u put that in mathematical equation and show what's original minus generic traits!

oh wait..let me add few more stupid traits..
siri = google copied siri and created google voice
notificaiton = google shamelessly copied apple there
OTA Updates, Wifi Sync, iMessage and the list goes on......

Apples greatest creation was and is their ability to spin the press and bloggers info speaking/writing about their products non-stop... not to mention the millions of fans who also believe Apple can do no wrong. So far it appears no other company has been able to copy that act.

I am pretty sure that if Apple wanted, they could even make Blackberries sell like Hotcake! "Oh look, full QWERTY device with a small screen, you won't need anything bigger than that, coz your fingers won't reach"

This cultish mentality apple fanboys have is quite intriguing I've never seen it anywhere but with apple where average consumers that have zero input and no profit and absolutely no worth to apple promote and advertise for free basically give a company free labor it's remarkable!

The amount of hubris in that statement is unbelievable. As if Apple is the only company that innovates, or has a slew of patents.

Unless some of you can come up with a miracle solution on how to deal with patents and simultaneous innovations I suggest we remain silent because there aren't many sensible things to say actually. May the best win !

It's hilarious to see all the tiny minds on this site arguing about all the copied little features and missing the point of what was being said completely. The steady increase of dunning-kruger since the idiot portal links at the top of the page are worth the price of admission alone.

I have owned a BB and an Android phone. Both times within weeks i was itching for something. I wasn't sure what it was. But I knew I wasn't happy. iPhone 4 comes to Big Red and bang! I have been happy with it for as long as I have had it. the BB is just plain worthless. unless you like plain and boring. the Android has an app store with apps that appear to be made by children. patent stealing or not. copying or not. iOS and the iPhone are better. End of story.

Correct me if I am wrong, most commonly used apps are made by the same devs for android and iOS? I don't know coz I don't own an android. But your argument hardly makes sense to me.

Many android apps lack professional design, and silky smoothness...your probably just going to claim that I'm an Apple fanboy so my opinion doesn't really matter anywayss

True, however don't mistake smoothness for speed and efficiency or imply that all iOS apps are better than their Android counterparts on all Android phones.

Apple certainly isn't the world's developer. Someone needs to remind Cook of this. One only has to look at the iphone to consider how much IP from competitors is in it.

Do people really think android devices aren't smooth? How about I show you an 2 year old phone that is smooth as butter on CM9? Did I mention it only has a 1GHz CPU and 512mb of ram?

Oh here go apple again with the we created everything...funny thing they were never 1st with anything just 1st to make it popular.

Most of the things they claim to have created all have prior arts lol...his probably vexed that he may have to pay up to moto

The statement is 100% true - only it need not be taken literally.
Apple is not the world's developer - they only make better other's technologies, make it popular and call it their own, forgetting where it actually came from.
Surely, competitors need to invent their own - otherwise where will Apple get things to copy/ make better from?
Somebody needs to remind Mr.Cook the origin of all the technology Apple products use! Apple is spoiling the whole game of technological innovations with all these lawsuits.

it is absolutely unfortunate that when talking about iphone the only other os they mention is android completely leaving out operating systems like windows phone 7 due to market share you if not for lack of developers making quality apps for windows it is easily on par with iphone in terms of fluidity and functionality as much as you like your iphones guess what they are far from perfect and anyone who would give a leg or an arm for them for no gain is a moron im sorry thats they truth IMHO i use a lumia 900 does that make me stupid for buying something i enjoy more than your precious apple.... technology will cease to advance because of all the litigation and it seems all you fools are for it... stop defending they stupid lawsuits and defend advancement in tech

WP 7 is pretty slick, however I wonder how many people look at it and say "I can't use my pictures as wallpaper" and dismiss it without even really trying it.
Never overestimate the average consumer's likeliness to buy what would best meet their needs. They like shiny. They like gimmicks. That's the core of Apple's success in the mobile world.

i absolutely agree i guess it just comes down to what useful/useless things they do with their phones i guess

I can't believe we're still having this argument. The iPhone is obviously far superior to any other phone, Steve Jobs said it is so it has to be true. Android has always been copying ios, they even stole ios's notification center and then RIM comes along and makes up this BBM thing, obviously a rip off of iMessage. The iPhone is the best even though I've never used any other smartphone and have nothing to go on except what i heard from my apple fanboy friends who heard it from their fanboy friends. Its the fastest, its the best, its 100% original and nothing else even comes close, if the iPhone doesn't have 4g and a 4" screen then I don't need them.
Out of the distortion field and back to reality... there are some things I miss from my 3 android phones before i switched to my 4s and there are some things I like more about iOS. Honestly, I'll probably get bored with it and go try a windows phone in a year. I won't bash anything I haven't tried and I'm almost ashamed to own an iPhone simply because i don't want to be considered an apple fanboy. The cult following behind apple is ridiculous.

its all a matter of preference. people get caught up on what they think is their side, but really, its just an industry trying to make money off of everyone. being a 20 yr cellphone user, i've stuck to brands for yrs, cause they were the best made, offered the most features, or were leading the way to new innovations. Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Samsung, BB, Apple, w/ numerous versions of each along the way. currently, i'm very happy w/ my ip4, & waiting to see what this year brings. Just remember, people aren't stupid for liking something that you don't. its like arguing about the scissors your barber or hairdresser uses. if your happy w/ your choice, awesome, if not, fine. But its more helpful to everyone to view all of them fairly. don't knock one if you haven't truly tried it. Some people are still using Motorola's original razr's, & if that's the experience they are happy with, who are we to tell them they are wrong.

No, i disagree apple can't patent such simple ideas like multitouch etc. especially hardware because nowadays let's just face it... all phones are almost exactly the same, in terms of hardware because all they are are massive touch screens especially with tablets. However i do agree that android copied iOS from the start but for iOS to develop and get better to compete with android apple stole some idea off android and put in iOS. But overall I think the patent system should be completely re-thoughtout. but honestly i think windows phone will win once it has more apps, because it definetely hasnt copied anyone and has come up with a new, unique, simple and easier to use design than the other 2.

if you believe android copied then you need to look at the products again truth is everyone rips everyone no reason to say apple did everything first the notification center is God given proof of that clearly they added it because people felt like it was needed..

The vast majority of software IP is unprotectable, because once someone sees it it becomes obvious. Not that government won't try to back such protections.
Convergence was always going to happen. People have been writing about it for years. Pretty much everything you do with a mobile device, connected or not, is straightforward. Issuing IP protections is ludicrous.
Check out the story of how Richard Feynman got his patent on the nuclear submarine. That alone should tell you something about how silly the whole system is.
I think they should fire all the lawyers and all just shut up and build better products.

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