Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mobile Week Ahead: Patents, Patents, Patents

It looks like we are going to very busy week regarding Apple and Android.  Not it's not about new products but about the current products.  The iPhone 4 and the lines of Android devices out there.  

On Friday, ITC ruled that HTC infringed on two key Apple patents that could be at the heart of any Android device on the market.  According to PC World, the violations is in the coding.  At the same time, it could be difficult for companies to work around Apple's patents.  I'm no patent attorney nor am I well versed on the tech aspect of this, but the flood of blogs and media chiming in on this matter tells me that this is not a small matter but one that impacts the whole Android platform.  

And this isn't the end of it.  While there is always a chance that Apple could license the patents to Android makers, it could be very expensive.  Apple effectively could make it so that future Android device makers will think twice about releasing their devices running on Google's mobile platform.  And if Apple is completely against licensing its patents, the worse case scenario is that Android makers could be banned from importing devices into the US and probably other markets as well.

When Google created this mobile platform, it was unlike that anyone thought we would come to be point but during Apple's unveiling of the original iPhone in 2007, it appeared Steve Jobs had foreseen this.  He pointedly said to the Macworld audience "and boy, have we patented it".

And while we won't see the matter resolved for a while, Apple is due to release their third quarter earnings on Tuesday.  During the financial call, analysts are sure likely to ask COO Tim Cook about the case.  

I expect more lawsuits to be lobbed this week.  This ruling has emboldened Apple and Android makers, like Samsung, has been digging as well.  

Regardless of which mobile platform you support, we are watching history in the making.  Many of you missed the Mac-Windows war between Apple and Microsoft.  You're watching an even bigger war taking place on an almost daily basis.  

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