Yes, it sucks Apple has gotten an import ban on the Galaxy Nexus, but...

Get angry at Apple over Galaxy Nexus ban, but get angrier at Google

In case you haven't been keeping up with World War Patents, Apple has successfully gotten the U.S. courts to impose an import ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, and you can no longer buy it online, and stores likely can no longer stock it once U.S. supplies dry up. Google is apparently working on a software update to remove the parts of their search interface that infringe on Apple's Siri patents, but a better remedy might just have been to leave it on the shelves, allow the update, and up the damages owed Apple. That way Google pays, not consumers.

My counterpart over at Android Central, Phil Nickinson, has a fantastic editorial up on the matter. If you haven't already please stop reading this now, go read his editorial, and then come back here.

Okay, so now many Android enthusiasts are absolutely livid at Apple over this ban. They claim Apple is litigating instead of innovating. Unfortunately, Apple is doing both. Either way, that conveniently sidesteps something incredibly important:

A lot of Android's problems are Google's fault.

Sure, it's easy to cast Apple, Microsoft, Oracle et. al. as the bad guys. They're giant, nasty for-profit corporations, after all. And fair enough.

But so is Google.

Frankly, I'm flabbergasted Android enthusiasts aren't angriest -- Vader- and Hulk-level angriest -- at Google over all this.

Don't be evil cliches aside, Google had systematically and recklessly displayed such indifference to the intellectual property of others -- from huge corporations to private citizens, as to border on contempt.

While the courts might ultimately let Google get away with it, there's no good reason Google couldn't have made a licensing deal with Sun for Java. Given Google's then-CEO Eric Schmidt's previous ties to Sun and the Java team, it's almost unthinkable that they didn't go to pains to do make sure there wasn't even the hint of impropriety.

Likewise, with Eric Schmidt on Apple's board of directors when the iPhone was developed, there's absolutely no excuse for Google not to have done everything possible to avoid stepping on iPhone patents when re-engineering Android from a Blackberry-type device to an iPhone-type device. That's just smart business.

Google's not a bunch of kids anymore, and even if they were, there's no excuse for so big and powerful a company to act this way, let alone to act this way over and over again.

Even if we agree patents are silly, and discount the record-setting amount of patents Android seems to be infringing, that doesn't discount -- Stealing books, muscling partners off Skyhook, misappropriating Wi-Fi data, not protecting privacy with Buzz, suing/counter-suing competitors using FRAND patents, etc. By themselves they're worrying, taken as a business plan, they're disturbing as hell.

So yes, for Android customers it sucks when phones or tablets get taken off the market. For Android enthusiasts, it sucks that Apple doesn't want to license patents to make Android more expensive the way Microsoft does, but to force them to remove features to make it less attractive. Just like the no one can force you to rent out your car, no one can force Apple to license non-FRAND patents. (Would you really want to live in a country that could?)

It completely sucks. But Google has to take responsibility for part of that suckage as well. Otherwise, Google is powerless to do anything about it, and that's not the Google we want on the market.

Android manufacturers, retailers, users, etc. deserve a properly licensed, less legally exposed OS to build their businesses and run their devices on.

So fine, be angry at Apple. But if you really love Android, be angry at Google as well.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter,, Google+.

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There are 155 comments. Add yours.

Jonesy27 says:

I read somewhere that Google has a motto in there head quarters that reads "DON'T BE EVIL".
I think it needs to be changed to "DON'T BE SO STUPID".

urkel says:

Deflecting evil is fun. Google is the bad guy. Samsung is the bad guy. Microsoft is the bad guy. But Apple? Well, they're just trying to run a business out of their tiny garage and they can't do that properly if all these bullies keep picking on them.
As a CONSUMER, (people always forget that we are merely consumers and nothing more), then it sucks that the lawyers are running the show because the competition between MS, Google and Apple just started getting exciting. Yes, ideas are being "stolen" but this stuff happens all the time and its not a one way street out of Apple. EVERYONE steals and everyone is evil but if the end result are competitive products that force down prices and increase functionality then I dont pity any giant corporation.

i-less says:
Yes, ideas are being "stolen" but this stuff happens all the time and its not a one way street out of Apple. EVERYONE >> steals and everyone is evil but if the end result are competitive products that force down prices and increase
functionality then I dont pity any giant corporation.

Therefore, by your reasoning, theft is good because it lowers prices. True, the thief, who paid nothing, gets it for free. I wouldn't recommend buying products from thieves. The rightful owner may want their property back.
People used the same rationale when they participated in music "file sharing". Stealing music was ok, it reduces my cost! Theft always does.
Finally, anyone who is short sighted enough to state that Apple doesn't innovate, should read the history of personal computing. Looking at history It is reasonable to argue that Apple has contributed more to the advancement of personal computing than any other company. And they didn't do it by stealing from thier friends and partners.

okli says:

U're right JH...
Googlevil's moto: Don't be evil is same as thief shouting catch the thief

Kujroh says:

"Apple has contributed more to the advancement of personal computing than any other company. And they didn't do it by stealing from thier friends and partners."
Hahahah WHAT!? What about everything they stole from Xerox?
Here are two quotes from Steve Jobs himself:
"Good artists copy, great artists steal."
SO MUCH of what made Apple what they are today, had everything to do with stealing.
"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."
....GOOD people don't talk like this. Evil hypocrites do.

WrlsFanatic says:

Don't forget, Apple's first product was a box that allowed people to steal from the phone companies by mimicking dial tones that phone techs used so that people could make free phone calls.

WrlsFanatic says:

I'm joining this conversation WAY late, but I'm going to join anyway. I won't argue that theft is good, my frustration is with the IP that Apple patents. Hiding a scroll bar? That's an utter joke. More importantly, there is a ridiculously easy workaround (make a 3-pixel-wide bar that's barely even there), but it's absolutely ridiculous that you can patent such a tiny thing. There are several patents Apple has challenged Android phones with that were done by the Treo (universal search, clicking a link to open an app, etc.), but because they took the time to patent it or put a minor improvement to it, nobody else can use it. IP judges and lawyers have spoken against the way Apple is abusing the system, so you can defend it all you want, but the fact is, this is going on ONLY because Congress won't take the time to fix it, not because it's right.

Nicholas says:

You do know that Apple steals too. They stole the mouse (computer mouse) from xerox. And where on earth do you think that they got the idea for "Notifications Center"? Everyone here is the bad guy, and they should all stop acting like a bunch of three year olds. They should do what Nokia has done with the Nexus 7. Mention that it infringes on their patents and offer them a chance to either fix it, or pay the royalty. Not sue everyone and ban their products,
And you CAN NOT sit there and honestly say Apple is "just trying to run a business out of their tiny garage". They have more money than Poland and could buy Google, and RIM if they wanted to.

okli says:

Ya...right... to buy Googl or RIM would be as useful as buying Poland :)

Cornerstar31 says:

The notifications where already on the Lisa in 1984. So it's from Apple. Also the widgets where there already and where called desktop tools.
The modern. Version of the notification center was made by Growl back in 2002 for the Mac of course. When Tiger was introduced in 2004 the Mac got the modern widgets as we know them today in Androids and jailbroken iPhones. It's called the Dashboard. Since Lion it is in Mission control.

p-man says:

If Apple can patent a "unified search" that has been around for decades, and even in use in Android prior to Apple filing a patent for it, I think Google has a good chance at getting their Notification Center patent.

Fr3d says:

Finally someone who isn't blinded by the shiny armor that Steve Jobs "wore". Apple is threatened by Android because it disrupts their master plan to dominate the PC/Tablet universe.

Rob says:

One day I hope you invent something really great...then your friend steals it and copies it from you. i'd like to see if you'd take any legal action...

okli says:

needs to be changed to: DON'T BE GOOGLEVIL

j0150 says:

since Steve Jobs is gone, is it possible that I am typing this with one of the last great apple products. The standards are already going down.... will they stop before its too late

Eli says:

What I don't get is how can people call out Apple's Steve Jobs with his famous qoutes when HE and Xerox worked out the Deal on the park project..... THATS NOT STEALING maerly advancing something that was there and making it better . That project would've not been used to the fullest potentail if it were not for SJ - people forget that SJ had the no how and resources to bring computers to every home. Bill Gates worked with Apple on the Mac project and he came out with Windows (Thats stealing in a technical sense ),Since he did not have right to that.Now years later and Windows is still playing catchup with Mac software .....not installed basewise but on stability and what it does..Google is a me too company that REINVENTED search . Thats all I give Google credit for Maps was there but it never felt reinvented until the 3d maps came out fron C3 last year. Google likes your info and trys to plant itself in your life one way or the other ....They have alot of services for free because they sell your info to advertisers/unknown hackers and call it target advertising. I dont like them ...
To me its not Dont be Evil its Get out of my life ..... I dont Gmail G+ or Android ......... Too bad that Youtbe is soo cemented in the Web . Aside from Youtube I rarely use anything they have to offer. I want another Linux to step up and take over the market

WrlsFanatic says:

And what would Apple be if instead Xerox said, "Pay us $500 for every mouse attached to a computer, or we'll sue you into oblivion." If they think a disappearing scroll bar is worth $3 a phone, they may actually be ingesting LSD. Apple has an inflated sense of what their IP is worth, thus the offer of insane licensing deals or lawsuits that will never end.

Aenean144 says:

Good post Rene!
You forgot Samsung too. They tread the line on KIRFing so much that the line has become a blur. They deserve to be pushed back as much as possible too.

Kid.Canada says:

Well this shows us that Apple got intimidated by great the Galaxy Nexus is compared to the iPhone so it had to find a way to screw up the sales. How would a barely noticable feature on googles voice search affect a persons decision on buying the Galaxy Nexus? This only proves how successful Samsung was with the sales of the Galaxy Nexus that Apple had no choice but to interfere with the shipments. Dirty move Apple, dirty move.

iSight says:

I think you missed the point of this article.

urkel says:

The point of the article is logical, but the REASON for the article is purely to defend the mothership. Apple wouldn't bother with this much litigation if it wasnt threatened and iMore wouldnt be writing articles like this if it didn't just crap it pants.
I absolutely love my iPhone and iPad but the platform is getting stale. I'm not going to switch sides or anything, but I do think that I may peer through the fence a lot more often and drool at how the competition is taking gigantic strides while iOS software/hardware are inching.

allmotor91 says:

Yah the sales were off the charts. Grasping for straws are you.

jsn says:

I own many Apple and Google products but I am starting to feel that Apple is looking for anyway (any at all) to blunt the growth of the device. It is sad actually, that around the world Apple is now being referred to as the company that litigates and not innovates. Many courts have rejected even the most frivolous of suits Apple has attempted (slide lock anyone). Apple wins this time, but at what cost.

okli says:

Hey... canada KID... if somebody steals U'r kids, would U just do nothing
and say its OK i will make some new ones and that, calling the police would be a dirty move from U ??? ... DUDE

Cjohnson481 says:

The patent wars are just dumb. Everyone takes stuff from everyone else. Apple bit off Notification Center from Android, Android bit off whatever Apple is suing them for this week. Sue Blackberry for their Unified Search in Blackberry 7, does the same thing as Spotlight.

Stan says:

Notification center...blah blah blah. Is that the only sword you fandroids have? I feel sorry for you.

Jafar says:

Stan, mentioning the notification centre thing is just as valid as Apple complaining that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 copied the ipad design.

sho says:

the problem is the system and companies like apple get patents for the most vague operation. its like if i patent how you can join two pieces of wood together

cr says:

i agree.. patents just seem to be way for big corp to keep consumers from getting the best of what they want and need their devices to do. Like everyone else has mentioned, all companies steal ideas from each other. its what makes competition between companies exciting and makes them stay innovative and keep on trying to come up with ways to offer us, the consumer, the best products possible. first there was palm, then black berry, windows phones and then came apple with their vastly improved idea of what everyone else was offering. and it was huge.. so what happened? everyone else had to play catch up and as far as i can see, google is well on their way to trumping apple in the smart phone world. I happen to be a convert from pc and android to all apple products and love them but as was mentioned earlier.. its hard not to notice googled when phones like the htc one x and galaxy s 3 are making so much noise its deafening.

ZeroOneB says:

Okay, than what about copy/paste, Wifi Tethering, built-in turn-by-turn, crowd sourced real time traffic info, tab syncing, multitasking mobile OS, voice commands and a billion more that Android had first... My point? I'm happy iOS users have that now. But this is only a matter of technical evolution by tick-tock iteration on Googles and Apples side. The whole patent infringement legal mumbajamba breaks the innovation not only on one but on both OSes because it kills the competition...

okli says:

Okay oneBzero... U mean what about copy/paste, Wifi Tethering, built-in turn-by-turn, crowd sourced real time traffic info, tab syncing, multitasking mobile OS, voice commands and a billion more that Android had stolen first... ait ??? :)

okli says:

That would be a perfect respond if U would be a 5y old girl not knowing what to say...
oh...wait... does U'r mum allows U to hang out on non kids sites and talk to adults like
that ???... ask U'r father what does actually ED stands for... shame he didn't have it when making U :) .... lol

Mitchell says:

It's ridiculous to expect Google to avoid every patent, especially the one that caused this injunction (a simple search patent). Everyone has violated that patent with their mobile OS (WebOS, WP, Android, BB), buy Apple only uses it to take out it strongest competition rather than actually protecting their IP.

sting7k says:

Is it not possible that Microsoft has their own method that does not tread on Apple's patent? Or even that Microsoft does have a license through one of the many deals they have with Apple.

mikejs78 says:

The patent in question was filed by Apple in late 2010 and granted in 2011. Google had added that feature (device search) in 2009. They also probably figured that since every OS had been doing that function since about 1992 that it wasn't patentable to begin with.
How is anyone supposed to build features and license them properly as Rene suggests if the patents don't exist to begin with? The patent office hands out patents like candy and only then declares most of them invalid only when challenged. This one will likely be the same. Is that a fair process?
And Rene, I would want to live in a country where a company couldn't defend its IP if that IP is software patents. Those shouldn't exist to begin with.

731 says:

Not knowing something could be patented is an excuse a 5 year old would make not a multi billion dollar company.

okli says:

It's ridiculous to expect Google to avoid any patent !!!
It's ridiculous to expect Google not to abuse FRAND patents!!!
It's ridiculous to expect EVIL to avoid being evil !!!

Stan says:

It's also Google fault that they didn't feel the need to outbid and buy out companies with large patent portfolios, such as Nortel and the $2.6 billion Apple spent to buy their patents.
I think Google's biggest problem is that the company is still run like a frat house instead of a fortune 500 company, ah la Steve Jobs in the early years of Apple. Google needs to mature like Steve did when he came back.

tomhoward says:

Yea, because buying huge patent portfolios is innovating...

okli says:

shows how small memory Droidfreaks have... googlevil did try to bid on Nortel patents, but didn't succeed !!! and for WTF reason they spend 14B on MOTOROLA ???... DUDES

Oletros says:

"While the courts might ultimately let Google get away with it, there's no good reason Google couldn't have made a licensing deal with Sun for Java. "
Why Google had to license anything that don't needed license?
Ah, and no, Google (or Apple, Samsung, etc) don't get away with it. Google (or Apple, Samsung, etc) don't infringe the patents accused of.
But well, what can be said, this is one of those link and bait posts that Rene like a lot.

lewag says:

Link & Bait post? Rene's post was succinct and covered all relevant points and issues.

robertpetry says:

He don't know what link & bait post is... Lol

Chris says:

It's not about Google taking a loss instead of their consumers. It's about not paying Apple. That's like morally supporting a Bully at school for beating up someone that's starting to get more attention, all because his green laces look cooler than the bully's purple ones.
I love Apple products, but boy do I hate the 'personality' of the company, so to speak.

mech1164 says:

Chris this has never and will never be about paying for it. If it was they would have been paid off years ago. Apple is just out to eliminate Google at any cost.

Chris says:

I don't mean Apple wants the money - clearly they have way too much already. I mean Google doesn't want to pay Apple.

mech1164 says:

I can be angry at Google for being not proactive in defending their OEM partners. That being said Apple started this fight. Instead of hitting Google Straight on they pick off the less bankroll. As it is now Google is starting to get it's act together.
Rene as far as doing both innovating and litigating. The only innovating they have done is by grabbing anything that isn't nailed down and patterning the obvious.
Don't get me wrong I still think Apple does lots of great stuff. This though is just a Scorched Earth Policy at any cost. In the end Apple may prevail but will lose the War.

tomhoward says:

Its fine, take anything you see on the desktop, change the word desktop to mobile and patent it, pure innovation.

dev84 says:

Why would they go after Google directly? It makes no sense to go after Google.


Google does not own Android, they develop Android but they do not own it. They make their money off

A. Mobile Ads
B. Mobile Ads on their Services
C. Charging OEMs an API license to use those services on Android devices that they build

The real money is going after the OEMs because they are the ones that will be hurt by using Android, the point is to make hurt so much that only the strongest can continue to support the platform, which would be Samsung.

I don't agree with everything Apple is doing, but Google is not innocent. Steve Jobs brought the patent violations to Eric Schimits attention before ever filing a suit and tried to broker peace. Of course he was abusive a few times but Google was against enabling multitouch on Android and that is why OG Droid, Nexus One, HTC Hero launched without it, they left it up to OEMs. They were shady enough to say hey, you can use Android and you can add this technology but it is up to you to defend it. It was only a few weeks after the last encounters with Steve Jobs, just a few weeks after the Nexus One launch that Google enable multitouch for the first time. They knew it was pouring gas on a small fire and they made a move that would escalade it. I don't feel sorry for them one bit. You play with Fire you gonna get burned bitch.

I use to love Google, they were true freedom fighters, in 2006 they talked about the future of mobile being more free and carriers being nothing but dumb pipes and ad supported phones. Flash for to 2010 and the failed Nexus One experiment and Google signing away its soul to Verizon agreeing to the net neutrality policy Verizon Wireless wants and giving carriers control to further rape Android even after the OEMs rape it.

The only thing worse than being evil is becoming evil sell outs.

taz says:

well if the whole tech industry from the beginning went with apples moto of not licensing out patents then the tech industry would have be going no where and we would not be seeing the types of devices we see today..imagine a person who patented a vague patent about making telephone calls and decided they dont want to let anyone else use it then we would not have phones of today where multiple people can make phones...anyone who thinks apples patent are not vague then needs to wake up..if you read apples universal search all it basically say sin layman term is searching for an item from multiple sources.basically apple have not even said how they do it they have patented literally the idea..thats like me patenting a tv and saying a box that shows live or recorded moving images...anyone with any brain can see that regardless of what phone you own banning a product is not good for the seems like the uk is the only country with half a brain..the us is a mess from patents to carrier powers etc

1966CAH says:

And this is the heart of the whole mess. It's a cop-out to say that companies are protecting IP when their IP consists of patents covering the blatantly obvious and things that have been around forever. I am NOT saying that all patents fall into this category, just that most of the ones being litigated in the mobile tech space do. Nothing could be more egregious than the "look and feel" of the iPad argument. Apple argued that the Galaxy Tab infringed on this because it essentially was a rectangular tablet! At the very least, patents should be immediately invalidated based on prior art, and should never be granted if blatantly obvious. Combining search results from local and external sources has been around forever.
I listen to the Mobile Nations podcasts and typically like Rene's thoughts there. I'll be happy to say Google has done evil with people's privacy, and that they were evil when they muscled Skyhook out of the game. (I fully agree with their stance on the Sun/Oracle Java issue though.) But this article smacks of saying Apple's litigation brigade isn't being evil because that's "the way the game is played." The fact of the matter is that Apple chooses whether or not to file BS patent applications, and chooses whether to use them to force licensing fees, litigate, or try and squash or delay their competition. The way Apple is trying to leverage its patents is downright evil, period. Nothing Google has done justifies Apple's actions just like nothing Apple does or has done can ever be used to justify any evil Google does. That's the "Johnny did it too Dad!" argument, and it doesn't fly.

JD says:

I love Apple products too... and while I don't pretend to understand everything about these patent issues, I really do wish there could be some licensing deals instead of bans. One day Apple will find one of their products banned from shelves, and that won't feel good. These days it doesn't feel like its really about the patents or inventing your own stuff... its about a fast changing mobile world where companies are getting caught out and have to copy-cat their way back to the top, hoping to get a well-paid judge to let them off or look the other way.
I understand the idea of wanting to "defend" your product of choice like its the old Ford vs. Chevy argument our parents had back in the day... yea, its just plain stupid... but honestly I wonder if Android fans look at what the likes of Samsung is doing. When they bellyache against Apple it really seems like they have no clue whats really happening and just want to defend their foreign product blindly. Very few will admit when Google is wrong, and they ARE wrong... they just don't like it that people have iPhones and love them.
Thats my take. Its hypocritical at best.
Fortunately all this competition is making for better and better devices and OS's for us all to enjoy. I wonder why so many forget that and have to get so upset at company A or B. Do they realize how dumb they look?

taysider says:

[quote]defend their foreign product blindly[quote]
So are you saying your Apple device is not foreign? why make that comment. Apple have used patents that didn't / don't belong to them.
The U.S. courts should really put a halt to this "sue and be dammed" and make ALL companies work it out.

Jenna Jameson says:

Dude. You completely missed his point. He said his take was "hypocritical."
Also, nowhere did he say Apple products were NOT foreign.
Get some perspective and a life!

mtcowdog says:

Apple may be in the right, at least somewhat, but I don't think they are going down the right path. That's the issue. What is the end game here? I don't see this turning out as a win for apple in any sense. All that can happen is a few wins here, a few loses there, and the lawyers get rich. Rather than a justified war, I see this as a self-inflicted PR loss for apple, an expensive one that distracts from the core business.
Make deals, license, and move on. Apple doesn't look good as the bully.

Arthur says:
  1. Its the Patent office and Apple's fault.
  2. Apple shouldn't be allowed to ban a product because of competition
Mark says:

Siily. They aren't banning because of completion. They feel the patents were stolen. A judge agreed. The question becomes where do we draw the line. The umpire is the court system.

kwaku says:

How about the UK judge, is he stupid? At least Microsoft has some common sense to license theirs because it knows it can be fined for anti-competitiveness if it tries to ban products.

Andy says:

Think for a second what could happen if/when Android is awarded the notification bar patent that they have applied for. iPads and iPhones might be banned. What then, Apple?

taysider says:

The Apple sues all is now really getting on my nerves. Only today in the UK Apple lost against HTC. During the court case the judge commented on one Apple patent that turns out, not to be an Apple patent, but they have used it in several courts prior. Apple said, HTC's "arc unlock" infringed their technology, but the judge said it was on a device in 2004, on the Neonode N1.
The "Slider" had already appeared in Microsoft's CE system.
I'm not saying Apple's using patents they don't actually own but, what strikes me now is that, Lawyers fighting other lawsuits against Apple are likely to pay close attention to the decision regarding its slide-to-unlock patent.
It's just like a circle....never ending, until the law makers not just in the U.S. but all over the world GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER and sort this mess out.

Duvi says:

Kid.Canada ... you really think Galaxy Nexus sales are that good? Lol.
You're far from the truth.

Eric says:

Such a ridiculous article that's sole purpose is to solidify the belief that Apple's perpetual patent bullying is okay. Universal search is not new to the Galaxy Nexus. The only reason Apple is doing this is to prevent competition that stands a chance and thus hurt the consumers.

Duvi says:

You decided against reading the article in its entirety or selective reading... the last line sums up what he stated and if you missed it, here it is again:
"So fine, be angry at Apple. But if you really love Android, be angry at Google as well."

Eric says:

I read the how article, but thanks for your selection. My comment still stands. I have far more reasons to be angry at Apple and if you don't see the anti-competitive measures they are taking against Android then you my friend are the perfect Apple consumer.

Eric says:

"whole" article my bad.

GeniusUnleashed says:

not to sound like a dick Renee, but linking to an article that says nothing proving your point is amateur. Just because you highlight "it does both" and link it, doesn't make it true. You then send me to an article that doesn't talk anywhere about Apple's innovation outside of saying that Apple innovates and sues. Your site is getting weaker and weaker on facts. Opinion is great, but make sure you let me know it's opinion before I start reading versus trying to pawn your opinion off as fact. If you have a list of Apple's innovations in iOS over the last few years, I'd love to hear them, if not then don't waste my time with articles like this because it undercuts the whole premise of your article.

Rene Ritchie says:

Disliking Apple doesn't mean they're not innovative.
It's impossible to look at the Apple II, Mac, iTunes, iPod, Apple Retail, iPhone, iPad, etc. and not see massive mainstream computing innovation unless you misunderstand the meaning of the word.
(And Google's absolutely innovative too -- they absolutely are.)

TomW093 says:

There were computers before the Apple II and the Mac, music stores before iTunes, hardware music players before the iPod, computer stores before Apple Retail, smartphones with grid icons before the iPhone, and tablets before the iPad. The only innovation Apple can claim is polishing up designs, charging more for less, and selling "experience."

Bob says:

Well said Tom, I was thinking the same thing.

Rene Ritchie says:

That's the innovation. Ideas are worthless (patents are great example of that!) -- it's execution that matters.
Google made search better than Altavista. Apple made all those things better than everyone who came before.
In a world with users, what kind of innovation is more important?

kwaku says:

So if iPhone came before Android first phone and Google came out with a new idea or method (definition of Innovate) to theirs work better than what iphone has then its not stealing its innovating.

TomW093 says:

But if all innovation is just building up someone else's idea or invention with some tweaks of your own, where does the line get drawn? Where can one judge clearly state that an idea was stolen, rather than taken and improved on?

Dustin says:

You are confusing the word 'innovation' with 'invention'
iTunes (the music selling model, not the software itself) transformed the music industry that was becoming consumed by piracy. It was innovation that shaped the media world we live in today. The iPhone completely changed the cell phone industry in an amazingly short period of time. There wasn't even a main stream tablet market prior to the iPad's launch in 2010.
I don't know what better examples I can think of for innovation period, much less just innovation from Apple. You don't have to be the inventor to be an innovator.

TomW093 says:

But in those definitions, it's impossible to patent an innovation when it is just tweaking something that had already come before.

Tech Aficionado says:

You say that Google should pay license fee to Apple. The problem is, in my opinion, is that Apple DOES NOT want to license. They want Android gone. Steve Jobs said that it is "Thermonuclear War" time. They feel that Google stole from Apple. But don't all tech companies steal in some way or another? Didn't Steve Jobs say: "Good artists copy, great artists steal?" The patent system in the United States is broken. But Congress will never fix it. We have to trust the judgements of the courts, of judges like Lucy Koh. The consumer is the one left in the cold.

Premium1 says:

you can't really blame google. Apple is solely litigating rather than innovating. Not to mention why is it others look for licensing deals yet apple is the only one going for straight bans? I know those on here won't admit it but apple is scared and the whole reason they are doing this. I think it will be hilarious once google gets their pull down notification panel. I hope google goes for a ban and no licensing just like apple is doing. What comes around, goes around apple. This is a lose for choice and the consumer.

Getgo says:

Apple is scared, sure it is! Why now think of releasing a 7" tablet when its famous jib jabber said 10" screen is minimal for optimum reading experience

Rob White says:

Thank you so much for writing this article Rene. It's not because we are going to fundamentally agree across the board. We're not. It's a rather nice piece of link bait you got here in all honesty. You made some good points yes. You also put some Apple Fandom Syndrome stuff in it too. But more importantly it gives me the opportunity to what I never do. I'm going to post a link that clearly demonstrates Apple's gross negligence.
Yes it's the dreaded New York Times & one of their attack pieces on Apple. Only it's not. If you actually read this, or reported on it (can't say I remember you did but if you did, I'd like to read your opinions of it), you find that Apple was caught dead to rights. Then the problem with that case, as well as most all of these patent cases emerged. One judge, a single judge sitting an obscure court, for no apparent good legal reason as the article clearly explained, threw out the jury's verdict against Apple.
It's very much akin to what we are now looking at. Apple has found quite the favorite little judge in Lucy Koh in San Francisco. I don't hold Apple to blame for that any more than I do anybody else by the way. It has become the way of doing business in American courts. Shop around until a judge looks favorable or makes a favorable ruling & then carpet bomb that particular court with your complaints. That it seems is the simple best tactic to use in this era of "Watch ya back for my patent attack" way of doing business. At the minimum a 5-7 judge panel, hell let's make it 9 like the US Supreme Court, should review cases like this so that one single judge isn't capable of disruptions to commerce like this. All over an obscure feature that shouldn't have been patented from the start.
Oh & I also apply this to that judge in Britain that just invalidates 3 out of 4 Apple patents & found HTC harmless in that case. Just in case you or iMore are interested here is the link.
I did something last Friday I had no intention of ever doing, I bought a Samsung Galaxy Nexus straight from Google (it's manufactured in Korea by the way so that was an unexpected bonus for me). I didn't buy out a particular want or need. I've already got enough smart phones & computers. It arrived yesterday via FedEx & for reason I opened the package in a happy mood. I then took my Straight Talk SIM & powered it up & while I like it 's not something I needed. I'll definitely enjoy having complete device freedom & no carrier overlord to continue restricting my use of my phone. But that is for another time to discuss. No I can honestly say that the reason I bought this phone was to basically thumb my nose at Apple. If a product that has been on the market for well over 6 months or longer is good enough, or threatens them enough to get import injunctions & sales bans, in my view it must be pretty damn good. So from what I can tell if Apple is wanting to continue down this path, the consumer should continue down the opposite path.
This behavior will catch up to Apple eventually. Yes copying/stealing/borrowing like everybody does (including Apple) is wrong & why shouldn't all companies just innovate. Question; How do you realistically innovate in an environment where software patents as vague & silly as this one or you can do something like patent rounded corners? You can't. Especially when it is shown that Apple wants the broadest of interpretations of a patent. And to make sure they get that interpretation they go judge shopping until they do.
"Oh lookie here we won won! Yee hee we are gonna ban your product!"... Over something as stupid as rounded corners or a super secret sub menu from an email link.

kwaku says:

Well said! Just to add when I lost my iPad 2 I recently got a check from the insurance to buy another one and I got a Nexus 7. Until Apple changes it bullying ways I will be going Apple-Green. There will be no istuff in my house.

Zaggs says:

So if I understand correctly, I'm supposed to be mad at Google because they came out with a voice search tool a year before Siri came into being, yet Apple went to their favorite bought judge to get a judgement against it? Its just another example of Apple taking something they do not own, did not invent, and did not even conceive, yet they claim it as their's against others.

ThisBrian says:

If they own the patent yes it's theirs.

m1n3 says:

How about their next iOS6 feature where you can automatically reply with message when you can`t answer the call which is available since decade ago on other phone? Is apple will claim that is their innovation too? It strange how apple easily put feature from other phone into their and sometimes they claim it is them. I wonder if apple license that from the other company or the just think is a basic feature or is a FRAND. It will be a good laugh when later suddenly apple claim a patent and get it for this feature later. :-)

bashdrew says:

I believe the automatic response system was already filed by Google Nov. 2011. I hope it will be approved soon enough to shame apple.

Jet300 says:

I can't wait until Apple comes out with their TV. They will be patenting having a apps on the TV, remote controls, and rectangular displays for consumption of video. Then they will move to have Samsung, Sharp, and Panasonic Smart TVs banned because it infringes on their patents.
Apple is ridiculous patenting ideas that already existed on other devices and form factors. Even more ridiculous is the US Patent office granting the patents.

Brian says:

Defending Apple eh. Get angrier at google? Hmm no, Apple is really annoying now a days with the patents they are using and how they will have "substantial loss" due to competition infringing on these patents. Well because of these "loss" instead of wanting to make their OS better to prevent these "loss" they just want to ban the competition. No...I prefer to stay angry at Apple for their litigate over innovate actions now a days. I was more impressed with Jelly Bean event than I was over the iOS6 event and I am usually more excited for iOS....ahh blah blah, I talked too much, gotta cool down

johna_hwin says:

Rene, I beleive you've been perpetuating the benefit of the almighty consumer is the most important thing. If I may humbly suggest, the argument should be a moral one. Apple spent decades developing the iphone and ipad before releasing it. Within a couple of years, Android (and everyone else) not only copies the product, but intentionally confuses the market to prevent people from knowing you did it. Normally, patents for completely new products protect the inventor for almost a decade (depending on the industry) but the patenting system is woefully inadequate at identifying new ideas and poorer at defending against the loopholes that circumvent the whole purpose of patents in the first place: to give idea generators a fair chance at developing and reaping the benefits of their ideas. I can completely understand Steve Job's sentiments about Android. Imagine having your life's work stolen right in front of your face and you can't protect it because of weasiling lawyers and (technologically) incompetent, politically moticated judges are too stupid/self-centred. That would drive me crazy.

jamend81 says:

Umm. How is it life's work and decades in development when it took only two years from the first concept until the first iPhone was released?
And please show me an android phone that looks so similar to an iPhone that it will confuse anyone. I have owned both os' and I have not seen one that looks like another.

Supafly_Boy says:

So you really think it took just 2 years to design and fully develop the iPhone?! Congratulations!!!! You've just won the title for the most stupid comment posted on here today! Clown!

Mark S says:

If you truly think Apple spent a decade developing the iPhone you are nothing more than a bad joke.

Eric says:

What is this nonsense? Your saying Apple is mad at Android for essentially, COMPETING with them? Android and iOS are very different and Apple should't get exclusivity to smartphones. Blackberry's and Windows Mobile devices (Symbian to I think) were all around before the iPhone and though they may not have been as fancy, they did many of the same things (which is why Apple saw it as a perfect market to jump into since it was relatively benign, but had a lot of potential).

kwaku says:

Yes I am angry at Google Rene for not stepping in on several occasions to help OEM fight Apple but you know whom I am more Angry at? Its the USPTO. You forgot to mention it in your article, you forgot to mention how its such a broken system that allows patents that are clearly standards or essentials to be granted. It clearly cannot keep up with Technology. A friend of mine who works there has told me the USPTO is trying to improve its work so there are less of these issues.
Todays ruling against Apple Vs. HTC in the UK speaks volumes about how foolish it is to grant such patents especially to Apple.You think Apple never saw the Neonode slide to unlock? Think twice. Fact is Apple improves on current technology and says they invented it. Well Android also takes current technology and makes it better that is not stealing.
If you think Apple is innovating and litigating I think you are wrong they seem to do doing less innovating, why look at IOS 6 doing catch up to Android. You clearly said it in one of your shows.Truth is Android innovates very fast and it threatens Apple. Its very clear Apple does not like competition, honestly at some point some of their ridiculous patents will be invalidated and if some of those also have to be done to Google so be it. Software patents are very questionable.
Apple products are becoming a fad, you look cool having one but people are beginning to realize that you can get the same quality and even better products too from Android and not pay an arm and a leg.
When the Motorola Xoom came out I went to bestbuy and it was hard to find all I saw were iPads, now go to bestbuy and see how many Android tablets are out there.
I am trying to troll but your article has a tone of predilection to it.

kwaku says:

point of correction "I am trying to troll but your article has a tone of predilection to it."
correction: I am not trying to troll but your article has a tone of predilection to it.

Rene Ritchie says:

Patents are only one form of IP, however, and Google has stepped on all kinds. Scanning books without consent has nothing to do with patents, that's copyright infringement.

kwaku says:

Can you give me an instance where Apple has not infringe themselves.... let see.. ahh - Proview. Apple paying them off its in itself an admission to copyright infringement.
See Rene no company is perfect, Microsoft also is not immune to copyright infringement. The bigger a company gets the more likely it will makes mistakes like these. Yes Google has done somethings that they had to be discipline for, but what I like about Google is they learn from their mistakes for the most part.
What Apple needs to watch out for is that just you because you have over billions in cash does make you invincible they need to ask Microsoft. Look at the DOJ law suit against them, italy threatening to close them down for bad business practices, deceiving your own customers, thats more that copyright infringement and I am sure there are more to come.

Rob White says:

Here you go;
I'm going to post this over & over every time I see a story like this on iMore. This is theft in it's purest form by Apple. A jury agreed & Steve Jobs openly endorsed the theft (read the article). It's time to see this site hold Apple to the same acct it wants to apply to Google or Microsoft (who also are no angels in patent abuse).
How about it Rene?

Rene Ritchie says:

Because it somehow absolves everyone else in the world of personal/corporate responsibility?

p-man says:

@Rene - He didn't say that, you are putting words in people's mouths. Google is certainly no more of a corporate angel than Apple, we get that. But to place blame on Google in this case you need to show they are in the wrong. This particular patent is BS and everybody knows it.
Say what you want about the past and Apple's history of innovation. The fact is Google, Microsoft, and even to some extent(if they survive until BB10 is released) RIM are innovating at a faster pace than Apple is today. Apple is playing with fire.

Rene Ritchie says:

This article isn't about one patent. Think of it this way: It's like running a bunch of red lights without getting caught, then getting nailed for a sketchy parking ticket.
What do you consider innovating?

p-man says:

OK, I see the point you are making there, but don't necessarily agree. Google has gotten caught. Frequently, as your examples show. Many of your examples have nothing to do with this case, it's basically a "you should hate Google" story. Thing is, Apple has the same kind of track record, so it's really pretty pointless. I don't like either company to be honest. I really like Apple's products but hate the proprietary ecosystem. It can really lock you into Apple's world and limit your choices. I like a lot of Google's products but am very uneasy with the sheer amount of personal imformation they collect off me.
The innovations I'm talking about are general OS interface. Windows Phone and Jelly Bean are clearly superior in form, function, and just generally offer a better OS experience than iOS. Not to mention the sheer amount of hardware available making it possible to meet pretty much anybody's needs. 5" screen? Got it. 3D camera? Sure. Extended battery life? That's covered. iOS's strength is in its simplicity and excellent ecosystem, which is a whole different argument. But that simplicity is also a weakness that has allowed Android to dominate the market and is giving Microsoft a big opening they are very fortunate to have.

Emeroid says:

Fandroids, Google is wrong here. Admit it. The problem is not Apple it is the patent office/the law. If they've been awarded a patent for something, others should honour it.
That's not to say that Apple haven't done the same somewhere else, (and if they have they should pay-not if they copy, but if they infringe patent), but that isn't what we are talking about here.
The courts/patent office should have the power to withdraw a patent if it is unfair/ridiculous, (they should also compensate any applicant they'd awarded it to if they do withdraw it).
The 'System' needs to be overhauled.
But as of THIS particular item-Google are wrong, THAT is a FACT.

kwaku says:

I am a fair person but common sense tells me that when you know sqaure or rectangles shapes are ridiculous to patent you still go ahead and trying to fool the system to grant you a patent and you get it you also are at fault.

Ashish says:

With all these patents wars going on, it will hamper the growth of technology, but looks like there is no alternative, as these companies don't want to work together, anymore. They are removing dependencies, on each other, so its the start of thermonuclear war. And who is going to suffer, "Consumers". Every company has it USP, and strength, and they depend on others for their business, and if you try to remove that dependencies and do all the work on your own, then their is a very highly likely, the quality will suffer.

jsn says:

Apple wins this time, I am unsure of how many attempts now. Some very frivolous....
Think this through for a second. Apple owns the patents for sure; however, could Apple focus their attention on driving innovation in that line or with that feature? They could certainly release a device that could/will compete, right?

(Copy of) Dev says:

Forgive if this rewrite is a double post -- my first comment was submitted, but did not see even "under moderation"
there's no good reason Google couldn't have made a licensing deal with Sun for Java
Here is one -- they had no reason to license the patents. Once Sun-Google talks broke down to the point that Google decieded to make Dalvik, they were creating an independent (and incompatible) VM using a reimplementation of a published language specifciation. There was nothing to license. Why on earth should Google pay to license something they are not using? Would you demand Apple pay Kodak to use their patents, just to avoid the "hint" of impropriety, if Apple does not feel they are using any of Kodak's technology? If not, why not?
record-setting amount of patents Android seems to be infringing,
Two responses. First, the ad hominem. Florian Mueller was paid by Oracle throughout the Oracle v Google trial, only admitted it when caught by Groklaw, and continued to write about the trial without disclosing that conflict in any subsequent article. The man has demonstrated questionable at best ethics, and his credibility is zero. If tipb wishes to maintain any of its own, it needs to stop relying on him every time they have a bone to pick with Google.
Second, the patents themselves. I certainly concede Android may violate them. But you keep trying to blame "the system" instead of Apple here. And yes, the system sucks. But it sucks because of actions of companies like Apple. You cannot have it both ways, railing against Google for violating those patents unlesss you can make a spirited defense of those patents, and these patents do not pass the smell test.
Any anger a reasonable person feels at those violations pales in comparison to the anger they should feel at Apple even applying for such absurd, overbroad patents, the resigned disappointment in the USPTO that they were granted, and then the absolute fury they should feel that Apple is using them aggressively as a club. The favorite patent -- "Data tapping" -- essentially, interpreting a string of characters as a trigger action -- does not refer to any implementation at all, which should have been disqualification #1, and, has existed in some form or another since Banyan Vines, if not @#$@# WANG terminals, which should have been disqualification #2. And yet Apple has the gall not only to apply for a patent, but to club anybody else implementing a similar concept. Go down the list -- every non-design patent is similarly bs. Searching multiple sources? Google 411 did something similar, or, if you want to go back further, meta search engines like Dogpile in the early 1990s. Changing the input method from text to voice does not change the "technology" of using different sources one iota. The earlier actors did not file for a patent because they understood that concepts should not be patentable, and any such patent would ludicrous. But Apple filed for it, and got it. Yes, I can be mad at the USPTO for granting it, and rail vaguely against "the system" -- but Apple's actions, if not created that system, at least nurtured it in the @#$@# direction it now exists.
Most Apple fans (I am one) do not see the endgame here. The only way Google, Samsung, and others can respond to Apple's clubbing with absurd patents is to file for their own absurd patents. If Apple patents slide-to-unlock, maybe Google will patent pull-to-refresh. Oh, sorry, Twitter already did. Perhaps Twitter should be able to shut down any competing app in the App Store, or even Apple themselves?
The point is, since courts are putting teeth into patents like these, every player will have to follow suit. It is only a matter of time before other companies start asserting similarly absurd patents against Apple. Perhaps then, because people care about iDevices much more than they do about Androids, we might see a reduction, or perhaps destruction, of these types of software patents. As much as I prefer Apple devices to Google devices, I cannot wait to see Apple hoisted on their own petard here, because the collateral damage they are causing throwing their weight around is substantial.

DARK_BLU says:

My problem with the whole thing is a summary judgement banning a product prior to a trial that would rule on if the product infringes Apple's patent's or not. By the time of the trial in 2014, the Galaxy Nexus will be superseded twice by two newer products. I can see a ban AFTER a trial ruling that the Galaxy Nexus infringed, but if the judge is going to decide without a trial that the Galaxy Nexus infringes Apple patents and ban it for two years BEFORE A TRIAL TO PROVE IT, what is the point of wasting the tax payers money for a trial to PROVE IT IN TWO YEARS. It's absolutely BS for them to have gotten this summary judgement banning a product for two years without a trial to prove it. Sure, Apple should defend their products. Sure, Google shouldn't copy, but have a trial to prove it and then IF PROVEN, THEN a ban on the product is warranted. NOT BEFORE a trial. No one can convince me that this wasn't timed to insure that the iPhone 5 has no competition from THIS Galaxy Nexus by the time it's released. But Apple is a bit short sighted in that a NEWER NEXUS PHONE will appear this fall to compete with it and this summary judgement might cause some people to look beyond an incrementally upgraded iPhone 5 to something different, such as the next Nexus phone or even Windows Phone. Apple can't do anything about that as long as their patents aren't being violated.

Getgo says:

Good video article on patent-able process and software
Guess I picked the article from some of above comments, but thot its good to highlight it for everyone's watch.

MacBook Pro says:

Google's mission statement is: "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." While Google's mission statement alone isn't troublesome, Google's collection of personal information is quite troublesome because Google's business model is the aggregation of user's personal information in order to target advertising to users. Thus, Google has far more personal information about users than governments or other businesses have about consumers.

  • Google gathers details of how you used their services, such as your search queries (1)
  • Google tracks cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account (1)
  • Google collects telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls (1)
  • Google logs device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL (1)
  • Google collects device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number) Google may associate your device identifiers or phone number with your Google Account (1)

While such information is gathered by competing products and services, Google's vast range of "products and services" uniquely positions Google to collect more information about consumers than any other company. The problem with Google's vast network of information gathering is that Google has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of concern for consumers through their policies and practices. Furthermore, Google has consistently used very expedient methods to comply with or meet demands whether those of stockholders or governments. The vast amount of information collected by Google has arguably made Google the greatest threat to privacy ever known, a vast unsecured treasure trove of information that attracts hackers and online thieves, and; most worrisome; governments.

  • Google has done very little to protect Android users from malware. Considering that many people have significant amounts of personal information on their mobile devices, I find this completely unacceptable.
  • According to Sunnyvale, Calif., security firm Juniper Networks known instances of Android-related malware -- "virtually all" involving apps - have jumped steadily month by month from 400 in June 2011 to 15,507 in February 2012 (2)
  • "San Francisco-based Lookout Mobile Security reported In August 2011, that "an estimated half-million to one million people were affected by Android malware in the first half of 2011." (2)
  • Trend Micro of Japan, which has U.S. headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. - identified "more than 1,000 malicious Android apps" last year, 90 percent of them on Google's site and noted that the number of bad apps grew last year at 60 percent per month. Trend Micro has estimated the total this year "will grow to more than 120,000," (2)
  • Google proclaims that "Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line." (3) This is in direct conflict with Google's business model which serves advertisers and is a serious, undisclosed conflict of interest.
  • Google removed links to an anti-Scientology site after the Church of Scientology claimed copyright infringement in 2002. (4)
  • Google handed over the records of some users of its social-networking service, Orkut, to the Brazilian government, which was investigating alleged racist, homophobic, and pornographic content in September 2006. (4)
  • Google's mission statement "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful" didn’t stop Google from censoring their Chinese search engine to gain access to a lucrative market. (4)
  • Privacy International has named Google the worst company in their 2007 survey and "hostile to privacy." (5)
  • Google has used their dominant position with Google Search to prefer Google+ search results and has published results that include personal data which doesn't provide an opt-out option. (6)
  • Google employees have vandalized OpenStreetMap by adding erroneous data. (7)
  • Google collected emails, texts, photos and documents gathered from Wi-Fi networks using Google's StreetView cars to collect data. (8)
  1. Google. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  2. Steve Johnson. Posted March 17, 2012. Updated March 23, 2012. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  3. Google. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  4. Adam L. Penenberg. October 10, 2006. MotherJones. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  5. Unattributed. June 8, 2007. Privacy International. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  6. John Fontana. January 12, 2012 ZDNet. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  7. Lucian Parfeni. January 17, 2012. Softpedia. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  8. Hack Doyle and Daniel Bates. Posted May 27, 2012. Daily Mail. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
d2globalinc says:

lol and siri isnt keeping track of you or iOS?

okli says:

GOOGLEVIL's real danger for the society is that they made stealing their's major UX , their's real motto is : U can lie U can steel U can kill U can do WF ever U desire as long as it makes Us richer!!! that why they attract so many bad people in the world!!! the decision to buy Android devs is based solely on HATE... in contrast to decision to buy Apple products, which is based solely on LOVE... its like the never ending battle the GOOD against the EVIL... everyone is free to choose
his side...but just remember, when the Last judgment day is coming...
U may end in the HELL !!!

Rob White says:

This is quite possibly the stupidest comment I've ever seen on iMore. Rene you really have to tidy up around here more often. Now people are going to Hell for not buying Apple? I guess I should get my bags packed & my plane ticket ready.

okli says:

oh... no... I have chosen my words and site carefully persian... perhaps U sould have

done the same...     THIS    IS    iMORE   !!!

ThisBrian says:

Google knew what they were doing that's why a update will be out within the week, they just hoped a judge would side with them. Everyone tries to push the limits, some just don't make it. Jobs made it clear he was mad at google and Apple is backing up what Jobs wanted. Like it or not that is what Jobs wanted, I don't really like it but I don't blame Apple and I just hope it doesn't backfire on them.
People keep saying Apple is scared, I doubt it most people love their iPhones and the average user could care less if it doesn't have some feature Android has. The iPhone does what it does good and that's all that matters. Most smart phone users don't even use a third of it's features. Play some words with friends, email, text and maybe surf the web.

FormerAppleUser says:

"Universal Search" existed long before Apple's frivolous patent. Apple is simply scared because they know they can't match Google's innovation. It's pathetic and cowardly.
I own many Apple products, but I will never, ever purchase another one. I hope Google can force Apple to stop selling iPhones and iPads due to Apple copying the notification center.

plunder says:

One of the Tech sites posted a YouTube video, head to head voice search between a 4s and a Galaxy Nexus running 4.1 just after io. The new Nexus comprehensively trashed the iPhone with superior and faster results, often going straight to the information rather than just offering links to it.
That is the real reason for this case, Apple is steadily loosing the race and they know it.

9thwonder says:

can i just not get mad at either of them?

Radynic says:

Speaking of Google and copying - Google+ (Facebook), Google Wallet (Paypal), Gmail (Hotmail), Google Offers (Groupon), Google Chrome (Mozilla, IE), Android (iOS), Google Docs (Office), Google Drive (Dropbox).
It's a good strategy though. Copy the most successful products available right now and hope some of them work out.

Eric says:

I feel sorry for you, I really do.

mcikato says:

What about the notification center? Apple totally copied that. Maybe is not patented, I don't know. But it si exactly the same, and Google didn't do anything (not sure why, again...). For me, a simple consumer, Android can be generally summarized as Notification Center and Widgets. Apple has take one of those things and clearly copied it... I really don't know the legal stuff around the notification center, but I would use it as leverage to forget this stupid fight... Apple keeps notification, google keeps universal search.

plunder says:

I do blame Apple Rene. This case like most of the others they are fighting is 90% bogus outrage (fooling nobody) and 10% dubious IP. Meanwhile they rip off huge chunks of the Android OS with impunity.
I generally respect your writing, but in this article you protest way too much for credibility. Even you are beginning to see how greedy and twisted Apple has become.

Rene Ritchie says:

Apple has their own problems, which we've covered in the past. This one was about Google.
Even if Apple was the worst company in history, how would they make Google the best?
I want the best Google and best Android possible, and to get the latter the former has to do better. That has nothing to do with Apple.

p-man says:

Who said it makes Google the best? The point is the way you are trying to twist the blame around.
If this thing does turn out to be patent infringement I will apologize. I don't support intelectual property theft. But on the surface this looks just as invalid as slide to unlock.

plunder says:

You suggest that an effective Android encourages better a better iOS? Perhaps it would. But instead Apple are using a legal dodge and some pilfering of Android features to avoiding doing that development work themselves. Your argument fails.
Remember how clearly Stephen Elop and his "Burning Platform" & "Battle of Ecosystems" memo, put it? I don't think any company has a concept of morality, they just fight to survive with any tool available.

plunder says:

Rene - I just listened to your discussion with Phil and Jerry from (Android Central) it was great. It really clarified maters for me. I value your contribution a lot, which is why I read your article (above). This is what makes Mobile Nations so positive.

Tom Hermans says:

Apple is a copier business itself, yet makes it look like their wonderful innovators by issueing ridiculous patents and sueing everyone else.
Two examples: prior art fron Neonode on the complete and utter unbelievable patent they got (that they got it is unbelievable in itself) on "Slide to unlock" and their entire notification center.
Did you see Google imposing their patent on that last one ? Or even ask for a complete worldwide sales ban on all Apple products ?
No, exactly.
And remember the Xerox GUI ??
Get real. Apple isn't a saint here. I'm not saying the rest is though. But Apple is certainly the one who's to blame for this patent war.

Scott Kellum says:

The biggest issue Google is probably dealing with is that they are licensing for an open source distribution. This requires all IP distributed as part of the open source project to be under the same licence. This is probably why Google develops things in a closed branch to get these things sorted out in a closed branch before unleashing them to the masses.
Some of the infringing code might be system level like Java resulting in wide spread issues and possible damages that reach far beyond Google because possible infringement is then forked and taken on by other entities. Google Now will probably be a proprietary piece that Google controls but still, the complexity of working with rights of an open platform are still a huge issue.
People wonder why Google doesn’t just licence existing patents and other IP like why don’t they just licence Helvetica instead of commissioning new fonts? The truth is they need to essentially do a total buy out in order to release anything in the open source project. As a result they often are stuck reinventing existing solutions placing them at greater risk of conflict with others in the same space.
Curious how HP will handle their move to make WebOS open source as much of the IP in the OS is from outside the company.

mtcowdog says:

Most of us who have been around (and aware) for awhile recognize that Apple has been one of the most innovative companies out there. But when I look at the patents in play over the GN, I don't see apple protecting a clear apple innovation. I see opportunistic patent grabbing and legal bullying.
Taking this further, if apple can't patent clear apple innovations, the things that make apple products unique and outstanding, then my expectation is that their success comes from building on previous work, but simply doing a better job of it. If that's the case -- I think it is -- keep doing what works. If, however, apple does have patents on those true apple innovations and others infringe, OK, have at them. I simply don't see that with the GN or the other android lawsuits. This is why I think they just need to make licensing deals and move on. Given the patent system's challenge with software, I think that this the best outcome.
I love apple products but do not love the company, anymore. In the 80s and early 90s, I used apple products and rooted for them to succeed as the underdog against the corporate villains. But that apple is long gone. Apple is now just another mega corporation, just like google, microsoft, and so on. I don't think I am along in this view of apple.

JohnPA2006 says:

Hey look at that picture, its the galaxy nexus, the phone that gets super hot in your pocket, needs the battery pulled to make it cool off, and a 3800mAh battery to last almost 16 hours on a charge.
Real nice, thats why I sold it back on ebay and went back to my iphone.

mojonation1487 says:

Mine has yet to get hot other than charging. 2100 battery that lasts 28 hours minimum. FAIL.

Battousai says:

I get angry at people writing trash like this just to boost the number of visitors just to get more revenue from the Ad's they are hostsing...

ThisBrian says:

So! we love it and can't get enough of it. We are going to break out our red solo cups!

p-man says:

Yeah, but if it were putting money in your pocket you might feel differently. I can understand it, even if I don't like it.
People sometimes talk about damaging credibility, but the reality is the trashiest sites seem to do just fine in the long run. There's no shortage of hardcore fans who like to view the world with blinders on.

Jeregano says:

While I am indifferent for the most part because I don't hold the fates of these corporations as central to me or my well being therefore I see no real reason I should be angry about these fighting elephants. The level of attachment between the author and apple and some responders and google is troubling, seek mental health assistance level of troubling.
In anycase, looking over how these things have turned out previously and Apple's own history it is pretty clear to see, as stated in the thoughtful review linked to in this article from Phil Nickinson, that this shall pass. Why? Because whenever these things pass out of the preliminary review to real trial review it seems that the vast majority of these Apple patents are negated on "Prior Art" grounds. Most assuredly this one, implemented in several OSs before apples 2010 file for a patent (most notably for this case the 2009 Android Cupcake or Gingerbread release I believe). Apple seems to completely ignore "Prior Art" and as a result just waste time and money on these suits.
Google does seem not to file patents near enough for the things they create, and as such those things get picked up and used elsewhere. I am sure, from their point of view, that since they were working with/adding to an Open Source system that anyone could use anyway they didn't hold much value to those patents, not expecting someone else to try to patent their innovations and then suing them for use of their own innovations. That is regrettable and they should have come more quickly to the defense of their hardware partners, but it seems less sleazy than to try to claim a patent on prior art in an attempt to stop the prior artist use of it.
It seems to me that if I painted a version of The Scream, submitted it for copyright to the LOC, and then tried to get a nickle for every print of Munch's The Scream I'd be laughed out of court...but then again maybe not.

mojonation1487 says:

When was the last time Apple innovated ANYTHING. All they do is steal other people IP (what you claim google does) and when they get busted they pay them off. That's how apple STARTED. That's how they will finish.

Tobi says:

Why should Google licence an API description? I don't get that. Just because it has the money to do so doesn't mean it should do it without that this is needed.
And why should it run a Java-VM? Apple also doesn't.

iAndroid says:

hahaha... a lot of iPhans that does not accepts that Apple has never innovated in anything.. apple is a specialist in retouching over old existing features, just take a look:

Mike Ciggy says:

To the original poster, I'm not an Apple fan and I'm a long time Android user. However I still have impartial opinions.
You can not possibly think Apple is a saint in all of this. They steal ideas just the same. Look at your IOS 5 "new nav bar" it's copied rite from Android (pending patent).
The trouble really isn't either companys although Apple does look like a bad guy in all of this. But the patent system itself is broken.
- A patent for how a computing device searches multiple information databases is barely an innovation but something that would be regularly used in any computing device of today and the future. You don't see car companys sueing over the use of ABS breaks, or air bags. These things are neccesary.

brian says:

i agree with the article. patent litigation isn't the issue here.. it is the result. the entire foundation of android in its current form is a theft of ideas. google is notorious for being a thief. so much so that they don't believe it.. they believe that every piece of information that can be recorded is theirs to own at the cost of every man woman and child and corporation on earth. that is a very dangerous belief and they are masters of blurring the lines between right and wrong.
i used to respect google.. even love them.. but they have really gone off path and it saddens me.. have even started moving away from google services in my daily routine ( a very difficult task )
and for what its worth.. i feel gmail was their last REAL innovation.. everything else has been borrowed or purchased ..

Carlos Woelz says:

Google innovates everyday. They created lots of markets, and take small innovative steps all the time, in all products.
Its a company that is changing the world, even if you don't agree with the "fair use" copyright exception.
I use google apps for my company, they add features all the time, no extra charge. It changed the way I work. I have an iPhone and an iPad.
Google maps was copied by Apple. And Apple is going to copy more, you will see.

okli says:

Ya... Chuanito... every one was copying maps from googl for thousands of years... same as the
original compass.... lol

okli says:

Googlevil's innovations a like throwing SHT on the wall and hope that it sticks ... lol :-)

okli says:

U're right brian... googlevil's intention of giving the free stuff away... is the same as some deviant's by giving candys to the kids...

Mac58 says:

Renee, I am a ANdroid fan but have also owned an iphone before. I come on this site to stay afloat with any new IOS news and see what my options are because at the end of the day, I pick whatever I feel is the best piece of hardware and software for me and my fiance. I usually like your articles and I tried to like this one but I just couldnt.
You said that we should be mad at google and I thought hey that does make sense google should have tried to get licensing...then I looked at the companies you referenced that they should get licensing from...none of them were apple. As you stated Apples is not required to license out some of their patents, so even if Google had followed the guidelines which you stated they should have, because the patent system is the way it is, Apple would have still sued them. So how can I be angry at google for deciding not to obtain licenses from companies who chose not to sue them? That makes no sense. Whichever way you put it Apple still comes off as the bad guy (which I dont hate, but strongly dislike) because its still their fault for taking advantage of the corrupted patent system.
The point I am trying to make is that if Google followed the steps which you outlined in your post they would still be in this predicament being sued by apple because apple would not license this patent out to Android (their biggest competitor and realistically why should they? If I wanted to squash the competition I wouldn't license either). Also the patent which apple owns is vague enough to be interpreted a million different ways. So again tell me why I should be mad at google?

cardfan says:

I'm not angry at either one of them. Certainly not Apple. And I don't care about Google devices.

Carlos Woelz says:

Apple is just being stupid. A system where trivial patents hurt complex products is a system where the trolls milk the most profitable companies. An injunction over the iPhone is worth more money than over HTC Incredible.
So we will start to see trolls in court all over the world trying to get money out of Apple, and getting injunctions over trivial features. It will be fun, no? I don't think so.
The. System. Is. Broken.
Other then that, Google has no option other than doing what it is doing: call the bluff and litigate. Apple will not license, and others want abusive fee. So let them prove their claims at least. I think they are doing fine in court. General patents are being tossed out, and strict patents are being worked around. No big payoff.
Nice. It is not profitable to sue Google yet.

Glenn#IM says:

It will not be long before there will be judgement bans against all devices, and no one will be able to buy anything.

Wolfsburgdln says:

I guarentee apple already had notification center done years ago, if any eric from google knew that .  They android does add features quicker that ios to try to get the advantage. Apple is innovating at a slower pace on the software side, but the fit finish and polish of everything can still not be beat. They also have to make a desktop os and ther own hardware, cant expect everything so quick.

somethingrelevant says:

Yeah they're only one of the largest tech corporations ever you can't expect anything out of them hahahaha.

somethingrelevant says:

This post is largely idiotic. Have you any idea what the patents were for? Apple has stolen as much from android as android has stolen from apple.
Again, do you know the technicalities of these patent claims or are you simply under the guise that Google is a thief because it has lawsuits against it?
If you do not know the technicalities, it's best you don't talk, you Apple fanboying scum of earth!

plunder says:

Rene, I have just listened to your brief discussion of this issue with the Jerry, Phil (Android Central) on the podcast - it was great. I was wrong to identify your POV above with the issues being discussed. I was missing the point.

The Mobile Nations team are a prime source of information in the mobile space. I really value ALL of your articles and podcasts.

NoTrollsAllowed says:

Probably the most articulate and spot-on assessment of the main catalyst for the Holy Patent Wars. Bravo, Rene.