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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    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!
  • Reply 4 of 48
    At least this time, Microsoft has realized something!
  • Reply 5 of 48
    Me thinks something is afoot.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 48
    takeotakeo Posts: 417member
    Apple and Microsoft seem to be making eyes at each other. LOL.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    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
  • Reply 9 of 48
    niplijniplij Posts: 14member
    Jobs further slating Google, Microsoft speaking positively about Apple...Bing on iPhone?
  • Reply 10 of 48
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,121member
    Why these people say anything is beyond me. Better to just stay quiet.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    iluviluv Posts: 123member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    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)
  • Reply 13 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    ajmasajmas Posts: 555member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    benicebenice Posts: 382member
    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...



  • Reply 16 of 48
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 48
    Google just hired Tim Bray, who introduced himself by slamming Apple's vision of the mobile internet.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    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).
  • Reply 19 of 48
    icyfogicyfog Posts: 338member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    icyfogicyfog Posts: 338member
    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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