Google says Apple sues rather than innovates. Google's problem is Apple does both.

Former Google CEO, current Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, had this to say about Apple patent infringement suits against Android manufacturers.

"We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations. I’m not too worried about this.”

Because a) he's not the one being sued and b) it's nonsense.

Google and Android ODMs problem isn't that Microsoft and Apple are using instead of innovating. It's that they're doing both. And given Google's lack of a similar patent portfolio, and lack of public stance on the issue, their manufacturers are handicapped, which is likely why HTC is already paying Microsoft $5 for every Android phone they ship.

As mentioned yesterday, Microsoft's strategy is to make Android more expensive, Apple's to make it less usable.

Google might have some genius master plan ready and waiting in their other trousers, but in the meantime they should either keep Schmidt and Larry Page off the mic, or let them say something substantive to ODMs and developers.

[ZDNet Asia via Android Central]

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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

Google says Apple sues rather than innovates. Google's problem is Apple does both.


Actually, Microsoft would be doing only one of them, and innovating isn't one of them. (EG Microsoft Touch Mouse)

I would never trade my iPhone for my wife's Droid, but, honestly, Apple's lawsuits here are patently absurd (pun intended). The big ones vs HTC are:

  • "System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data."
  • "Real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data."

There is very little in computer science that would not violate these patents as written. The first one speaks of interpreting a piece of text as a phone number, and then invoking a dialer application. Really? With dialers around for a decade and natural language processing around for decades before then, this is a novel, patentable concept? This stinks as badly as when NTP sued RIM for wireless delivery of email, because even though email had been around a while, and wireless radios had been around a while, the combination of the two was somehow patentable. (Of course, NTP won that lawsuit, and nobody except for NTP's board of directors benefited.)
Now, Apple is no patent troll, because they make some kickass products, but they are pursing a patent troll strategy here. Your headline from yesterday sums up the problem:
Apple's [Android Strategy is] to make it less usuable
Apple's lawsuits do nothing to advance their own products. The patents at the heard of these suits are hedge mazes to dissuade competitors from using obvious ideas, nothing more. These barriers are fine and appropriate for the protection of legitimately novel technology, and their concordant R&D expenses. (Interpreting a phone number as text and invoking a dialer is about an afternoon's worth of work.) However, Apple is applying for (and being granted) patents that should be in no way patentable and do nothing to further the purpose of patents (to encourage invention).
And to the obvious answer that Apple is just playing to win the game as it was designed...agreed.
And that's the problem.

Apple is indeed playing the game as the rules dictate it must currently be played. And as much as I disagree with the current rules of the game, I'd rather Apple play by them, then take a moral stance and not play by them, and lose because others DO play by them.
Lesser of evils, and such.

That moral stance, interestingly, is the situation Google finds themselves in.
Though I think Google's position is dictated more by their comparatively weak patent portfolio (they will lose in the current system, so why not flout and attempt to change it) than any burning moral indignation against the patent system.
Still, the enemy of my enemy (the enemy being stupid patents, not Apple) is my friend...

These lawsuits are generally a distraction from the main goal. And that goal is to deplete that company's capital, through attorney and court fees and/or provide a distraction for that company as a whole. Rarely are these types of suits filed for actual "infringement".
My company just went through some crap like this. And even though we won, the real winners were the lawyers. We threw millions of dollars at the suit just to simply defend ourselves. The company almost went bankrupt. Luckily we were able to bounce back. Other companies aren't so luck.

LOL Apple invented a whole new category of devices starting with their iPad which Google/Android is unable to replicate to the same level of success. And yes that was rather recent ;-)

Can you come up with something a bit more original other then coping Apples promo video? Also Tablets have been arouind a lot longer then when the iPad came out. I remember seeing them at Best Buy back in 2002!

This is the whole problem with the apple sues doesnt innovate comment is, nobody innovates everyone steals recompiles and backwards engineers everything.
Example Formula: Apple 7+2+5=14 Google 10 +4=14 Microsoft 14
The exact same answer different way of getting there, There is no innovation.

The real problem here is that Apple is trying to patent "14" and then sue everyone else for coming up with the same answer but in different ways.
Patents are meant to protect technical design specifications, not to prevent others from being able to reach the same result through a different method and design.

Since Android has taken off the iphone 4 hasn't really brought anything new to the game, and ios5's important features will mostly be taking ideas from RIM and Google (imessage, notifications..) The ipad 2 has added cameras. Where are the new innovations? They're taking their existing products and just presenting them as new. They're not actually new. And this is from someone who absolutely loves his iphone4 and 3rd gen ipod touch.

I know right. It's not like they're using close to the same components that are sitting in a 4.5 x 2.3 x 0.37 phone or anything....
I think the most non-trivial thing is how much extra girth they added with the first iPad just so they could do the trim down with the iPad 2.
And if you think the slim down was that non-trivial, then Samsung has got Apple beat on that.

See Lovecore above [pasted here for simplicity]:
I wouldn't consider these "innovations" just evolutions in technology..

Eric isn't lying. Apple needs to innovate. Lately, all they have done is steal Android's notification system and sue. Apple just needs to bring on the next phone so people could stop talking about it. I just hope the next iPhone is underwhelming.

I don't doubt it will be. I am curious if the iPhone 5 will even be 4G. The best it can hope for is HPSA+ (which is NOT true 4G sorry AT&T and T-Mobile), because my understanding is the 4G LTE radio is rather large so it may not fit in the slim designs they have. For most iPhone users it is all about the looks rather than the functionality. Look at apps used between each iPhone users play games and Android users customize their phones.

Verizon and Sprints solutions are not "true" 4G. The minimum speeds on a 4G network are 100MBs/s FYI. So give T-Mobile a break.

Even then there are some LTE/Wimax phones that can still be somewhat thin. I just hope Apple doesnt make the iPhone the size of the 4th gen touch. Thats is just TOO THIN,

Well as an adroid user I'd take the drop down notifcation system over a silly lock screen one any day.

You do realize you just named HTC products on Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile respectively right? 4 different carriers. Imagine that. The same product with a slightly different name on 4 carriers. You know who else does that? Samsung, LG and Motorola. Apple is an anomaly, one of the few companies not releasing products on all 4 carriers.
I don't have a ton of experience with HTC Android phones (I used them in the winmo days though) but I'm not saying they're innovating, I have no clue if they are to be honest. I'm not saying Apple are putting out the same phone over and over I'm saying iOS hasn't really grown much in the past year since Android has taken off. The new features Apple has given are things everyone else has or already dualcore processors, rear/front cameras on a tablet, upcoming notification bar and imessage which is a BBM and gtalk clone. Tell me how Apple is innovating. Please.

weight, size, thickness, battery life, structure ("unibody design in laptops," effortless software, "really" creating a category of smartphones & tablets, operation (ie more sensitive/accurate touch screens for a long time due to capitol and being able to leverage manufacturing, the manufacturing process (such as actually building the plants to have initial exclusivity to "the best" components)--I could keep going but I'm board

I wouldn't consider these "innovations" just evolutions in technology..
As much as I like apple, I must say, they're lacking in innovation...

Is that also the plants that employ near slave labor to make their products? Not saying they are the only ones guilty of this... But no headlines I can remember about HTC employees committing suicide due to working conditions. Not even a 'Stevie' press conference to claim "Everybody does it ya know..." wink, wink. That was an embarrassment with the antenna problem trying to pass the buck on a flawed design & say it's happening to everybody else too. Oh and that effortless software... You mean that Stevie lifted from Xerox right? Creating a smartphone category? Hardly. Win Mo was doing long before. We can argue over how well they did but I bored with proving you wrong.

Too me, HTC is the apple of the android world. They make some great designs in both hardware and software.

The design of the iPhone 4 isn't "innovative", not from a tech perspective. Maybe you could call it that from an aesthetics perspective but that falls to trademarks rather than patent coverage as far as legal issues.

I do not understand loyalty to a company to the point where customers defend it from criticism. You fanboys are the Tea Party equivalent to tech. $7.31 billion in profits, did you guys see any of that, are you a minority shareholder?
The fact of the matter is Apple is suing HTC. The idea behind patents is that inventions are protected from those that would copy other's work and steal revenue. Though Apple seems to be doing quite well in these difficult economic times... selling overpriced hardware to people who believe it is superior because they're told it is. Tally up a Mac's cost for raw parts and justify the difference.
Moving on, at what point does a patent become ridiculous? Apple regularly patents things, I assume, they believe could be used. I know this because it's regularly reported as if it's some "innovation" making it's way to a device near you! There's even a website dedicated to reporting new Apple patents.
Wrong. Apple does this because they'll get paid or have some grounds for a lawsuit. Perhaps they will eventually release implementations of their patents once they're done "innovating" with existing functions. Apple is a company that is out to make a profit, not your friend that hooks you up with cool gadgets.
I do have an iPhone and like many others I enjoy it, but I don't think of it as an Apple employee badge. Is this defense really justified considering Apple's efforts to control a device sold, not leased? Think about it.

Precisely. That's something that the Android fanbois always seem to conveniently forget...

Android fans don't forget it. Google did nothing more than what Apple did with the smart cover and nearly every feature in iOS 5: they took Jobs' infamous advice and followed greatness.

Hmmm, seem to somehow miss another segment regarding HTC/Apple patent that Schmidt mention. Here is a copy/paste from AC site.
This is very similar language to what Larry Page said on the his most recent earnings call regarding patents. However, Schmidt was also asked directly about the HTC/Apple issue and whether Google would help HTC’s legal bills. His response:
“We will make sure they don’t lose, then.”

Horribly incorrect. Apple went after the OEM's. They could have gone after Google but have yet to do so, even though they are the one's making the software infringing on some of these patents [excluding hardware here].

What I find so terribly hilarious about this post is the wink at MSFT. This blog pretty much never says anything good about MSFT. It is always off-handed comments and flicks of your noses. Now they are needed, to add weight to the argument, and they are innovating? :-D
gimmeabreak lol

I would like one of these android fanboi to tell me what google innovate! Only copy everything apple does. Apple tv, now u hear about google tv, and all those wash out screen crappy azz android phones, still can't get it as good as an iPhone.

In my opinion. Steve Jobs sees Android's success. (Yes kids, android being successful) and hes kind of pissed that many would want to join the whole "open" world and being able to customaze the phone to more then just the wallpaper. He sees that people want larger screens or keyboard phones (that he bashed back in 2007) so what does he do? He sues.
I was thinking of getting an iPhone this fall but all these lawsuits are really making me reconsider. Whats next? Sue all accessory makers? Everyone would need to buy an over priced Apple branded iPhone dock or case?

Does anyone seriously think Apple would sue if they weren't threatened? HTC has been doing Sense for years and just now they sue?
No coincidence.

So, Apple doing something that every other company has been doing is now considered innovated, Rene? Are you really going to sit there and tell me that it's never a catch-up game for Apple? Lemme guess, when they finally decide to implement widgets, that'll be innovative, too, right? I mean, even though other people have been doing it for years? Yeah.. no, Rene.. just, no. You can argue that Apple has done a lot for the smartphone community, but today, it's not coolest thing it was in 2007-2008. Don't kid yourself.
And, it's okay that Steve Jobs says stupid things on the mic, but isn't for Schmidt? Yeah.. nice double standard there, Rene. Do I have to remind you of the entire "hold your phone differently" situation?

There's a problem with this photo being used... Stevie can't lift his arms that high anymore he's too weak. That's not cruel it's fact. Everybody is worried about what happens to Apple after him and he just stays around even though he looks like death walking. So much for being a family guy.
As for all of these lawsuits you will see Apple behave very differently once Steve is gone. He is about the most anti-competitive exec in the tech industry and always has been.

Gibberjabber gibberjabber mumbo jumbo! First off, Google nor Apple have been innovative companies lately. The original Iphone and the original Ipad were innovations. The google search engine and google maps were innovations. Since these first phones have come out Apple hasn't made a lot of innovations. Apple bought Siri and Google bought Android a while ago. There are a couple major issues with Apples lawsuit however.. First unless they are suggesting Google bought a time machine and went into the future to see what Apple was planning then I don't see how they could have stole anything. The bought a company that was already making Android phones. Lets not forget also how Apple has insisted that android and IOS are two different operating systems and have suggested android is inferior. If it isn't the same OS then what exactly did Google steal? Secondly, what DOES makes these two similar? A marketplace to download apps? A status bar? Notifications? I don't see what claim Apple has on these since Apple invented none of this. These have all been used on phones (both smartphone and feature) for years before the Iphone or Android. If they win this lawsuit against Google then Symbian, Microsoft and every other developer should be able to sue both Google AND Apple for the exact same thing.