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Microsoft exec says Apple's HTC suit 'is not necessarily a bad thing'

post #1 of 49
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Even though Windows Mobile handsets are named in Apple's lawsuit against smartphone maker HTC, one Microsoft executive recently stated that the suit might help to sort out intellectual property ownership issues.

The comments from Brad Smith, general counsel and senior vice president with Microsoft, were made last week in a speech to intellectual property and copyright lawyers at the Washington State Convention Center. Brier Dudley, columnist with The Seattle Times, noted that Microsoft is not ready to formally take a side in the dispute. However, Smith said the lawsuit could help the market sort out issues of patent ownership.

"The fact that there's litigation in this area is not necessarily a bad thing," Smith reportedly said.

The Microsoft executive noted that the issue of royalties for radio technology in phones has already been sorted out, with about 5.5 percent of a phone's cost going to licensing fees mostly owned by Qualcomm. Still to be determined, though, are the other facets of smartphones that have become increasingly common since the introduction of the iPhone by Apple.

"Smith welcomed Apple's lawsuit as the opening salvo in a bigger effort to sort out who owns the technology used in smartphones and start collecting a standard set of royalties," Dudley wrote. "License holders have been talking about this behind the scenes for some time, and Apple brought it out in the open, he said."

Earlier this month, Apple sued HTC alleging infringement of 20 iPhone-related patents. Though Windows Mobile handsets were specifically named in the suit, the complaint also targeted a number of smartphones powered by Google's Android mobile operating system.

Google quickly came out in defense of HTC, with the search giant officially stating that it would "stand behind" Android and the partners who helped to develop it.

On the other hand, Microsoft's non-stance on the lawsuit, and positive words about the sorting out of intellectual property ownership, is a stark contrast. The tone is particularly interesting considering that a year ago Microsoft stated that HTC has made 80 percent of all Windows Mobile smartphones.

Smith's comments come soon after Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer shared positive words about Apple's success with the iPhone and its App Store. "Apple's done a very nice job that allows people to monetize and commercialize their intellectual property," Ballmer said in a speech at the University of Washington recently.

Microsoft has its own plans for expansion in the mobile space this year, with its own multi-touch Windows Phone 7 Series set to launch before the upcoming holiday season. The new mobile platform aims to take on both Android and the iPhone, which have significantly diminished Microsoft's market share in the mobile space.

Earlier this year, rumors began to surface that Apple could partner with Microsoft to make Bing the default search and maps provider for the iPhone, ousting Google. Those claims gained attention again recently, when The New York Times restated them in a lengthy piece detailing the bitter rivalry that has developed between Google and Apple.
post #2 of 49
He is exactly right on this. It will clarify a lot of IP issues -- whether it ultimately turns out for or against Apple -- in a technology arena that is currently like the Wild West.
post #3 of 49
That's the purpose of the lawsuits. Could be that before all this goes to trial, the parties will get together and work out licensing agreements. Apple is a little more wiser this time around and will be harder to deal with. If nothing is workable, then Apple is willing to take it to trial to protect their patents and have the jury sort things out.
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #4 of 49
MS top brass in support of Apple's actions and complimentary... something is up. I can't stand monkey boy but ..Down with Google (traitors) and their partners yeah you HTC!
post #5 of 49
At least this time, Microsoft has realized something!

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Creativity is just connecting things (Steve Jobs)
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post #6 of 49
Me thinks something is afoot.
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post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by giosaccone View Post

At least this time, Microsoft has realized something!

That's it's cheaper to let other people argue it out possibly.

Is multi touch in this list cos where does microsoft and apple sit with it being in the surface? They both came out at similar times so from a pure r&d view you wouldn't have thought either had time to copy the other one. Or is the law so screwed up that ms has a patent for pcs and apple smartphones?
post #8 of 49
Apple and Microsoft seem to be making eyes at each other. LOL.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

That's it's cheaper to let other people argue it out possibly.

Is multi touch in this list cos where does microsoft and apple sit with it being in the surface? They both came out at similar times so from a pure r&d view you wouldn't have thought either had time to copy the other one. Or is the law so screwed up that ms has a patent for pcs and apple smartphones?

I was joking

"License holders have been talking about this behind the scenes for some time, and Apple brought it out in the open, he said." - Apple has done well not to hide

Giovanni B. Saccone
Creativity is just connecting things (Steve Jobs)
> > > My wEb SiTe < < <

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Giovanni B. Saccone
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post #10 of 49
Jobs further slating Google, Microsoft speaking positively about Apple...Bing on iPhone?
post #11 of 49
Why these people say anything is beyond me. Better to just stay quiet.
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPdiddy View Post

MS top brass in support of Apple's actions and complimentary... something is up. I can't stand monkey boy but ..Down with Google (traitors) and their partners yeah you HTC!

Microsoft never innovates. They just copy Apple.
post #13 of 49
Do you ever get the impression that Google has decided, "Aw, to heck with it, let's be evil."?

(not to be taken literally guys)
post #14 of 49
If you all don't think Microsoft violates all 20 of these patents with WinMO7 then your crocked. They're being timid in their response to see what happens. If Apple bangs HTC into the ground on the multi-touch patent and on stupid patents like unlocking a phone with your finger .. don't you think MS is going to be in trouble? This isn't the 90's when MS had all the courts and gov in their pockets.

And I would be weary of Google buying Palm since Apple knows Palm holds patents that can do great harm to the iPhone .. it's obviously why Palm didn't get sued when the Pre came out .. it's not because the Pre wasn't selling. If Apple had the muscle to do harm to Palm then why not kill it in the cradle instead of letting it even attempt to succeed.

And all this about the " don't be evil " slogan .. holy CRAP! ALL corps. are evil .. all are after profit first and everything else second. It's called capitalism. If you all think Apple isn't evil as well .. then please have another pitcher of the laced Kool-Aid.
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post #15 of 49
In many ways by getting all these suits in the open everyone knows where they stand. If Microsoft decides to come out with a phone, at least they know what they are dealing with.

Its better to have your rocks on the surface, than just under the water line. At least with the former your ship knows where it should be navigating.
post #16 of 49
HTC execs to MSFT: Thanks for nothing! We supported your crapware for years and you thank us by encouraging our adversaries. Can't say it was nice knowing ya...

post #17 of 49
Perhaps MS thinks "sorting it out all out" will end up in their favor, with Apple paying them royalties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benjaminr View Post

If you all don't think Microsoft violates all 20 of these patents with WinMO7 then your crocked. They're being timid in their response to see what happens. If Apple bangs HTC into the ground on the multi-touch patent and on stupid patents like unlocking a phone with your finger .. don't you think MS is going to be in trouble? This isn't the 90's when MS had all the courts and gov in their pockets.

And I would be weary of Google buying Palm since Apple knows Palm holds patents that can do great harm to the iPhone .. it's obviously why Palm didn't get sued when the Pre came out .. it's not because the Pre wasn't selling. If Apple had the muscle to do harm to Palm then why not kill it in the cradle instead of letting it even attempt to succeed.

And all this about the " don't be evil " slogan .. holy CRAP! ALL corps. are evil .. all are after profit first and everything else second. It's called capitalism. If you all think Apple isn't evil as well .. then please have another pitcher of the laced Kool-Aid.

We don't know that yet, and it's not MS the Apple is trying to sue. You tell people who don't assume the same things you do that they drink the kool-aid?
post #18 of 49
Google just hired Tim Bray, who introduced himself by slamming Apple's vision of the mobile internet.
post #19 of 49
You mean that a lawsuit is required for you to figure out whether you are the owner of something?

Sounds more like the lawsuit is required to determine if the party who is currently the owner has a strong enough a claim to sole ownership so as to prevent you from selling your copy without paying royalties.

Or maybe it is more of a - sorry, I didn't want to be the bad guy here but the court says that you (fill in the blank, have to pay me or don't own that, etc).
post #20 of 49
Many tech pundits said this Apple suit was bad. Now Microsoft is coming out saying it's not so bad. Where's chicken little? The sky is definitely falling. I wonder how the pundits will spin this.
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post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Apple and Microsoft seem to be making eyes at each other. LOL.

Yeah Googly eyes at each other.
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post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post

Google just hired Tim Bray, who introduced himself by slamming Apple's vision of the mobile internet.

Bray coming from Sun, a company with proprietary overpriced hardware and closed system (based on unix but not open). I would not call him credible to critize my dear apple.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPdiddy View Post

Bray coming from Sun, a company with proprietary overpriced hardware and closed system (based on unix but not open). I would not call him credible to critize my dear apple.

Nicely said!!

Looking at Bray's comments he's plainly wrong anyhow.

"The iPhone vision of the mobile Internets future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. Its a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlords pleasure and fear his anger."

The thing is that mobile internet on the iPhone omits none of the things he lists whatsover.
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Perhaps MS thinks "sorting it out all out" will end up in their favor, with Apple paying them royalties.

NO.

MS is totally transparent on this one. HTC is moving away from WinMo into Android, and Android is a gun pointed at WinMo's head right now. If Apple wins and Android has to go back to the drawing board on all those points, HTC and others will come crawling back to MS for a couple years. Maybe long enough for WinMo to solidify it's position and leave Android as a fringe player for the duration.

MS will be doing enough things just a little differently and be able to use prior defensive patents to dissuade Apple from taking WinMo on in court. MS knows this. Apple knows this.

So the suit against HTC can only help MS. Either WinMo gets more business if Android gets it's little metal nose tweaked, or if Apple loses WinMo can be more blatant in copying without fear.
.
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post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post

Google just hired Tim Bray, who introduced himself by slamming Apple's vision of the mobile internet.

Google is the most evil. They are the ones trying to kill Apple.
post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Me thinks something is afoot.

And it doesn't look good for Google...

If Microsoft may be getting favourable licensing deals for Apple's technology (as this Microsoft official is strongly hinting) Android will be left out in the cold, possibly negating all their gains at the expense of Windows Mobile and Apple.

On the other hand, as Steve Jobs believes, Google is already an unavoidable force in the mobile industry with Maps, Search and advertising pretty much locked down across all mobile platforms.

Why they had to go that bit further, first with Android, then with the Nexus, thereby alienating "those who wish to be their partners" is really beyond me. It may turn out to be one power-play too far, given the risk of fragmentation of the Android platform (some brand-new handsets are still shipping with 1.4 for example) and the antagonism of Apple in the mobile advertising space in addition to Bing and Yahoo in the mobile search, mapping and advertising space.

All speculation really. What's for sure is that the new raft of smartphone technologies in the wake of the iPhone and its "equivalents" needs patent standardisation just like the radio, bluetooth and Wi-Fi ones have.

All this makes one think that Nokia's patent lawsuit against Apple was a pre-emptive strike in anticipation of all this litigation.
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Why these people say anything is beyond me. Better to just stay quiet.

Your own contribution excepted, of course.
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Google is the most evil. They are the ones trying to kill Apple.

Have you considered apple is killing themselves? They don't own these patents. This is Publicity.
post #29 of 49
Google is nothing but treacherous parasites. They do not produce any content but free loads on the work of others like NYT, books, etc. Worse is that their CEO was in the board of Apple and allegedly breached fiduciary responsibility by pirating the IPRs backed by patents from Apple. Then he got a look at the strategic plans, etc of what was going with Apple.

Yes, Google deserves to get sued along with the guy who sat on the board of Apple. They already had most of the mobile search business. Why did they have to be Judas?
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Your own contribution excepted, of course.

Which is why I am going to be vocal about being silent.
post #31 of 49
Hell has frozen over.

But this is what I've sad already: who owns what will be clarified. Everyone's IP position will be made clear.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Google is the most evil. They are the ones trying to kill Apple.

If evil is defined as no-taste and horrible UI, then I'd agree with that. I haven't really found myself hating Microsoft lately outside of the usual complexity arguments with the OS - which OSX isn't that far behind (which is why I'm in the iPad fanboy camp - simplify my sh!t PLEASE). In the last 10 years they HAVE been trying to make things look and work better.

Zune's an also-ran and the new windows mobile 7 (or whatever it's called) has some odd "features" (app buttons that look more like banner ads - are you kidding me?), but they don't look BAD - they're just not my BAG. Actually the latest Zune looks decent. If rumors didn't persist on subscriber music with Apple, I'd probably get one.

I think a new alliance might help both (certainly their stocks would bump) - and perhaps scare the hell out of Google into getting it's crap together on the usability side.

Too many perhaps - perhaps - but fun to think about.
post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmanchairman View Post

And it doesn't look good for Google...

If Microsoft may be getting favourable licensing deals for Apple's technology (as this Microsoft official is strongly hinting) Android will be left out in the cold, possibly negating all their gains at the expense of Windows Mobile and Apple.

On the other hand, as Steve Jobs believes, Google is already an unavoidable force in the mobile industry with Maps, Search and advertising pretty much locked down across all mobile platforms.

Why they had to go that bit further, first with Android, then with the Nexus, thereby alienating "those who wish to be their partners" is really beyond me. It may turn out to be one power-play too far, given the risk of fragmentation of the Android platform (some brand-new handsets are still shipping with 1.4 for example) and the antagonism of Apple in the mobile advertising space in addition to Bing and Yahoo in the mobile search, mapping and advertising space.

All speculation really. What's for sure is that the new raft of smartphone technologies in the wake of the iPhone and its "equivalents" needs patent standardisation just like the radio, bluetooth and Wi-Fi ones have.

All this makes one think that Nokia's patent lawsuit against Apple was a pre-emptive strike in anticipation of all this litigation.

No such thing as 1.4. There might be a few phones out there still on 1.5 (cliq?), but most are either on 1.6 or 2.0/2.1. Either way fragmentation in the Android Market isn't as big a deal as people make it. Some apps have less features in older versions, but most still run. Only a little different than app fragmentation in 3g and 3gs (Android dev's have to deal with a little more hardware fragmentation because of the different phone manufacturers). No big deal, this issue needs to be put to rest already.

Either way, I think Microsoft is just sitting back and letting it's two biggest threats just duke it out. I think some of these patents are dumb, and just a natural evolution of mobile technology, but I'm sure it'll all work itself out in the 2-5 years it'll be held up in court.

In the meantime, I'm submitting my patent to unlocking phones with my brain so I can sue everyone in the future.
post #34 of 49
Haven't seen any I'm a Mac ads in a while. Perhaps M$ and  are actually becoming more friendly now that they have a common enemy.
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post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Google is the most evil. They are the ones trying to kill Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPdiddy View Post

MS top brass in support of Apple's actions and complimentary... something is up. I can't stand monkey boy but ..Down with Google (traitors) and their partners yeah you HTC!

Quote:
Why did they have to be Judas?

It's called business, people. Grow up a little. Evil? Traitors? Judas? Morals would have to play some in part in business for such terms to apply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

Google is nothing but treacherous parasites. They do not produce any content but free loads on the work of others like NYT, books, etc.

So what content does Apple produce? Isn't Apple just freeloading off all the developers who add value to the iPhone by producing apps for it? Or all the music, movies, books, etc. that have helped sell iPods?
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Microsoft never innovates. They just copy Apple.

That's not true at all. There's lots of people they copy from
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

It's called business, people. Grow up a little. Evil? Traitors? Judas? Morals would have to play some in part in business for such terms to apply.

So true! In the same sense, I've never understood why Google try and paint themselves as holier than thou and indirectly portray others badly. No companies (or governments) are holy. They just do what has to be done.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Which is why I am going to be vocal about being silent.

Touché.
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post

Google just hired Tim Bray, who introduced himself by slamming Apple's vision of the mobile internet.

Tim Bray is known for one area: XML.

We just went through 10 years of everything must be based in XML and now we're moving forward with HTML5 and XML has found it's niche.

That was a painful 10 years.
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

You mean that a lawsuit is required for you to figure out whether you are the owner of something?

Sometimes, yes. Especially in fields like software patents. The USPTO examiners are generally not the cream of the crop in terms of experts in the field of the inventions they're granting patents on. (If they were, then they'd be the inventors instead of the bureaucrats.) So they generally depend upon the inventor to do most of the legwork of identifying and listing any relevant prior art.

The inventors, then, have to sift through millions of pieces of prior art to determine whether any of it is relevant to their inventions. With that much information to sift through, it's almost inevitable that occasionally, something is going to be missed along the way.

And at that stage of the game, even if there is anybody out there who has a vested interest in the field (for example, they own a prior patent in the same field, or already sell an openly published, unpatented public domain invention that precedes the new patent), there can be no practical mechanism to guarantee that they are always automatically "pushed" a notification of the patent application to allow them to object to it.

So the best you can hope for when you make a patent application, is that you have a "very good chance" of owning the invention. It's only after you test the patent in court that you can say you own it with certainty.
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