Microsoft wants to make Android more expensive, Apple wants to make it less usable

An administrative judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued an initial determination that HTC is infringing on 2 Apple patents, which -- in a worst case scenario -- could result in an import ban of iPhone-competing HTC Android smartphones. HTC's stock has taken a hit since the ruling, obviously, but it's important to remember it's an initial ruling and a lot can change between now and any final decision, including an agreement between HTC and Apple, similar to HTC's existing agreement with Microsoft.

Florian Mueller from FOSS Patents doesn't think that's likely, however.

For Apple this is not just about money. They're not going to let HTC build fully functional smartphones and tablets in exchange for $10 or $20 per device unless HTC owns patents that Apple absolutely needs to license.

It's a fallacy to assume that Apple v. HTC is just the usual patent dispute between two large players, and therefore going to have the same kind of happy end. This one is different. From a shareholder value point of view, what Apple needs to achieve -- even if it costs a lot of time and money -- is as much of a technological gap as possible between its own products and the Android-based products offered by HTC and other vendors.

In other words, as Florian discussed in our World War Patents podcast, while Microsoft seems to want to make Android more expensive, Apple wants to make it less usable.

HTC meanwhile, could be fighting back using a company called S3 as a proxy. HTC's chairwoman is a major S3 shareholder, but S3 has to do what's best for S3 and that could end up being a licensing agreement with Apple that doesn't end up providing any cover for HTC.

I could imagine a situation in which Apple might agree on a partial cross-license that would grant Apple access to all of HTC's and S3's patents while HTC would get access to only some of Apple's patents: maybe just enough so that HTC can at least continue to sell Android-based products of some kind, but those products could be limited and there might be substantial degradations of the user experience.

Google, for their part, is continuing it's terrifying silence on all things patent related, including a remarkable non-answer by Larry Page during the latest financial results conference call. This probably means they're either playing their cards very close to their ninja vests, or they're just not concerned with how this might play out, including the unlikely possibility of HTC switching to Windows Phone exclusively, just to avoid any more patent-related headaches.

Check the link below for Florian's full rundown and his excellent "battlemap" visualization of the dispute.


Latest And Best Prime Day Deals

The Ring Alarm security system is reaching new low prices for Prime Day
Ring Alarm home security systems

Various configurations of the Ring Alarm are discounted to their best prices yet exclusively for Prime members at Amazon through Tuesday night to help keep your home secure.

The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and 2 $50 Amazon gift cards
The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and $100 in Amazon gift cards
$359.00 $499.00 Save $140

That's just so much savings in one deal. You'll have to wait for the physical gift cards, but that's basically $100 to spend however you want.

Prime Day dropped this PlayStation 4 console bundle to just $250
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console with Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn
$249.99 $359.98 Save $110

This deal on the PlayStation 4 Slim console saves you $50 off its regular price while also including Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for free. You'll just need an Amazon Prime membership to snag it.

The newest device in the Echo family, the Show 5, is now down to just $50
Echo Show 5
$49.99 $89.99 Save $40

It's only been on the market since May, but it hasn't escaped the Prime Day price cuts.

Amp up your home security with these huge Prime Day discount on nearly all Ring products
Save on Ring products today only

Whether you need a video doorbell, whole home alarm system, or some lights to brighten a dark area, Amazon has it all marked down today!

These huge price drops on the entire Galaxy S10 lineup might be one of the best Prime Day phone deals we'll see
Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB unlocked Prism Black Android smartphone
$599.99 $900.00 Save $300

We love the Galaxy S10, and we love deals. This combines two of our true loves in one!

Scour Amazon Warehouse's deals to save an extra 20% on tech and more through Prime Day
Extra 20% off Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse sells a myriad of items in varying conditions, from refurbished to open-box, used, warehouse-damaged, and more. It's a great place to snag a deal, and now Prime members can save an extra 20% off select items at checkout.

There's never been a better deal on the Ring Video Doorbell 2 than this pre-Prime Day offer
Ring Video Doorbell 2 (Certified Refurbished)
$89.99 $169.99 Save $80

Amazon is taking $80 off the certified refurbished Ring Video Doorbell 2, which lets you see and speak with visitors at your front door no matter where you are in the world.

More Prime Day Deals