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Skyhook accuses Google of disparaging its technology to Apple

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
In its ongoing patent infringement complaint against Google, location services company Skyhook Wireless asserts that Google co-founder Sergey Brin disparaged Skyhook's technology in discussions with Apple.

Maps
Apple abandoned Skyhook and Google location services in 2010, and launched its own Maps app in 2012.


Skyhook's beliefs were expressed in a recent court filing detailed this week by intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. In the documents, Skyhook asserts that Brin told Apple representatives of Google's unhappiness that the iPhone maker was using Skyhook's technology.

The filing includes a quote from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs speaking at the Macworld 2008 keynote. In his presentation, Jobs explained that the first-generation iPhone did not include a chip for GPS, but location services were still possible because of data provided by both Google and Skyhook Wireless.

In particular, Jobs singled out the technology from Skyhook as "really cool."Skyhook claims that Google co-founder Sergey Brin disparaged their technology to Apple. The company seeks documents from Brin related to those alleged discussions.

"What they have done is they've driven the U.S. and Canada in little cars with antennas on them and GPS receivers in them, and they've mapped Wi-Fi hotspots," Jobs said. "They are now doing Europe and starting in Asia, and they've got 23 million Wi-Fi hotspots in their database."

Using beacons from those Wi-Fi hotspots allows a user's location to be triangulated, thus determining current location without the need for a dedicated GPS radio.

The fact that Apple used Skyhook's technology was apparently upsetting to Google, which the lawsuit says prompted Brin to contact Apple representatives. The suit asserts that Google sought to handle location services for the iPhone so the company "could collect the user's Wi-Fi information."

"Having apparently disparaged Skyhook's technology to Apple, Google proceeded to then launch the same Wi-Fi based location technology by infringing Skyhook's patents," the court motion reads.

Skyhook believes that any potential discussions between Brin and Apple representatives following the 2008 Macworld keynote would be relevant to its lawsuit. That's why Skyhook filed the motion to compel Google to provide "certain documents" apparently held by Brin.

The filing does not go as far as to say that Google or any comments alleged to have been made by Brin led to Skyhook being removed from the iPhone. Apple ditched both Skyhook and Google location services and began relying on its own databases starting with the release of iOS 3.2 for the first-generation iPad in April of 2010, before debuting its own full-fledged mapping solution separate from Google Maps with last year's launch of iOS 6.

As for Skyhook's lawsuit against Google, Mueller expects the case will go to trial in 2014 without an out-of-court settlement between the two companies.
post #2 of 23
Do no evil, Google.
post #3 of 23
They never do /s

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 23
Cry me a river, Sergey.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #5 of 23
Are we forgetting the bigger Google scandal over Skyhook, from two years ago?

http://www.theverge.com/2011/05/12/google-android-skyhook-lawsuit-motorola-samsung/

Google refused to certify devices as Android Compatible unless they dumped Skyhook and used Google's service instead. Google wanted to collect that valuable geographic info themselves, and they weren't so "open" that they were above leaning on manufacturers to kill Skyhook. (And Google's service may have been better (?) and this may be a fine move to make... just don't pretend to be "open" while you do it...)

P.S. I wish Apple had a feature that Skyhook used to: you could manually ADD a WiFi hotspot to the public location database rather than waiting for it to be found automatically. I visit peoples' homes that are set back from the street quite a bit, and so they get no drive-by location data from iPhone users. My lone iPhone is apparently not enough. With Skyhook, I submitted the coordinates via an online form, and from then on, iOS apps (weather, trip-planning, finding nearby businesses) worked great at those houses: location services worked indoors. Then Apple dumped Skyhook, and now my devices can no longer pinpoint me unless I step outside or find a lucky window. Apple once said they were planning to add a manual-entry feature for this, but I've never heard of it happening.
post #6 of 23
I wonder when Google's sleaziness is going to catch up with its stock price?
post #7 of 23
I'm sorry but what does talking smack about the competition have to do with patent infringement.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #8 of 23
....
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post

I wonder when Google's sleaziness is going to catch up with its stock price?

It won't people don't care.

post #10 of 23
It all started with open source projects to map WiFi hotspots and cell ids, long before any of these companies got involved.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I'm sorry but what does talking smack about the competition have to do with patent infringement.

Well Google allegedly "borrowed" the same tech they were disparaging.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I'm sorry but what does talking smack about the competition have to do with patent infringement.

Allegedly, Google disparaged Skyhook's technology to keep Apple from working with the company, and then turned around and provided Apple their own services based on that same tech (which Google, allegedly, stole). At least, that's how I'm reading it. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

post #13 of 23

Awesome! I hope Skyhook kicks Google's ass.  Big companies like Google get a lot of their ideas from other people's technology. Instad of paying for the technology they use the cost of patent litigation to beat down the small guy.  Then everyone in the blogosphere cries a river for Google having to spend millions of dollars to defend a lawsuit.  I don't get it.  Why aren't we up in arms over Google taking other people's technology? Do ya'll think Google is too poor to pay up?   

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

It all started with open source projects to map WiFi hotspots and cell ids, long before any of these companies got involved.

Haven't read the Skyhook patents, but obviously they did something more than what the open source project was doing.  Just because the open source project started the project doesn't mean they did it the best way.  In fact, they often don't do it the best way.  Someone else comes along and says this project won't get done for 10 years at this rate and does it a better way.  Skyhook deserves a patent on whatever it was that Google wanted and the open source community wasn't producing.  

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I'm sorry but what does talking smack about the competition have to do with patent infringement.

I haven't read the briefs, but I can think of lots of uses for this evidence.  Its probative for showing comercial success (defend obviousness).  It could be used as evidence of copying (i.e., Google was aware of the Skyhook technology before it started building its own).  

Obviously the real reason Skyhook wants the evidence in is to impeach Google.  Google telling its partner the technology is bad while implementing the technology themselves is very probative of the trustworthiness of Google (i.e., they say one thing, do another).  Impeaching the defendant is AWESOME and totally legit.  In some circumstances, impeaching a witness will be dispositive of a case. Nobody likes a lier.

post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Having apparently disparaged Skyhook's technology to Apple, Google proceeded to then launch the same Wi-Fi based location technology by infringing Skyhook's patents," the court motion reads.

 

There they go again.

When has Google ever actually created anything original? Let's see...

 

Web search?

Nope. AltaVista, Inktomi, Lycos, Excite!, Yahoo!, ad nauseam all had web search engines long before Google.

 

Google TV?

Negative. Web TV - born in 1996, dying a slow death as I type. Google TV is the same concept with higher bandwidth

and HD resolution.

 

Mobile OS?

Ummm no. Android Inc. developed Android independently until Google bought them in 2005.

And iPhone-mimicking touchscreen Android handsets (as opposed to the early BlackBerry-mimicking

chiclet keyboard handsets) didn't appear until a year after iPhone was released.

 

Maps?

Heck no. Plenty of mapping solutions existed long before Google Maps. (MapQuest circa 1999, anyone?)

Google bought their mapping technology from Where 2 Technologies in 2004.

 

Cloud-based documents?

And no again. Amazon beat them to it with their Amazon Web Services IT infrastructure.  In 2006.

(And, by the way, the roots of cloud computing go all the way back to the 1950s, with "timesharing.")

 

Horrendously opaque and drastically over-engineered document format?

Bingo. Google Wave was, if nothing else, different than anything else. Mostly in bad ways.

Wave is what happens when Google stumbles off into the wilderness without following in anyone else's footsteps.

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


There they go again.

When has Google ever actually created anything original? Let's see...


Web search?

Nope. AltaVista, Inktomi, Lycos, Excite!, Yahoo!, ad nauseam all had web search engines long before Google.


Google TV?

Negative. Web TV - born in 1996, dying a slow death as I type. Google TV is the same concept with higher bandwidth

and HD resolution.


Mobile OS?

Ummm no. Android Inc. developed Android independently until Google bought them in 2005.

And iPhone-mimicking touchscreen Android handsets (as opposed to the early BlackBerry-mimicking

chiclet keyboard handsets) didn't appear until a year after iPhone was released.


Maps?

Heck no. Plenty of mapping solutions existed long before Google Maps. (MapQuest circa 1999, anyone?)

Google bought their mapping technology from Where 2 Technologies in 2004.


Cloud-based documents?

And no again. Amazon beat them to it with their Amazon Web Services IT infrastructure.  In 2006.
(And, by the way, the roots of cloud computing go all the way back to the 1950s, with "timesharing.")

Horrendously opaque and drastically over-engineered document format?

Bingo. Google Wave was, if nothing else, different than anything else. Mostly in bad ways.

Wave is what happens when Google stumbles off into the wilderness without following in anyone else's footsteps.

Well, in all honesty, they did collect SSID and even tried collecting the associated passwords when they were collecting Street View pictures. That must be original, no¿
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #18 of 23
Both Apple and Google are highly innovative companies - to accuse either of them of "never having created anything original that's useful" just makes no sense. But to provide a list of useful Google open-source Inventions:

Hadoop
All the big companies use Hadoop for BigData analysis which is an open source implementation of MapReduce that was described in 2 papers published by Google Researchers in 2005.

SPDY
Network protocol to speed up and replace HTTP - now in IE11, Chrome, Firefox etc.

V8 Javascript engine
BSD license - basis for Node.js

(...)
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Well, in all honesty, they did collect SSID and even tried collecting the associated passwords when they were collecting Street View pictures. That must be original, no¿

NSA has been doing that for years 1smile.gif
post #20 of 23

Not to defend Google but the complaint of disparaging sounds like the grownup, corporate version of "Mom, he's looking at me!"

post #21 of 23

Wifi tracking is fairly crap anyway. Did they say 'ours is as rubbish too but we will do it cheaper"

 

I quite fail to understand why Apple is insisting in tracking you via every Wifi point you pass when in fact real GPS better suits my needs and privacy.

post #22 of 23
This is nuts, Google taking what google wants, has finally got to them apparently.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

This is nuts, Google taking what google wants, has finally got to them apparently.

 

Somehow I don't think it is going to matter. Google seems to be enjoying an extraordinarily good time. The big lawsuit with Oracle didn't damage Google at all and despite nothing coming off Motorola Mobility's purchase, Wall Street is still enamoured by them.

 

The security flaw issue will blow over real quick and the press will still think Google does no evil.

 

It's like the movie where the bad guys always win - something like 120 Days of Sodom!

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