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Google Baffled by Apple Suing Android Partners

By - Source: Wall Street Journal | B 25 comments

Former CEO discusses "on and off" relationship between the two technology titans.

Former Google CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt has questioned why Apple focuses on suing the search engine giant's partners instead of directly suing its competitor instead.

Referring to the "on and off" relationship between Apple and Google during the last year, Schmidt said the former's decision to remove Google's map app in iOS 6 was surprising, which wasn't one of the firm's best move.

Obviously, we would have preferred them to use our maps. They threw YouTube off the home screen [of iPhones and iPads]. I'm not quite sure why they did that. The press would like to write the sort of teenage model of competition, which is, 'I have a gun, you have a gun, who shoots first?'

The adult way to run a business is to run it more like a country. They have disputes, yet they've actually been able to have huge trade with each other. They're not sending bombs at each other. I think both Tim [Cook, Apple's CEO] and Larry [Page, Google's CEO], the sort of successors to Steve [Jobs] and me if you will, have an understanding of this state model. When they and their teams meet, they have just a long list of things to talk about.

When asked whether Apple and Google are currently discussing a patent-related settlement, Schmidt avoided a direct response, but did hint at the fact that the rivals could be in talks.

"Apple and Google are well aware of the legal strategies of each other," he stated. "Part of the conversations that are going on all the time is to talk about them. It's extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google's partners and not Google itself."

Apple has spent hundreds of millions in court fees and losses in suing Google partners such as Samsung and Motorola. Further alluding to Apple's patent habits, Google stressed that companies in general are the main victims.

"Google is doing fine. Apple is doing fine. Let me tell you the loser here. There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this."

Last year, for the first time in the two firm's history, spending by both Apple and Google on patents exceeded their spending on research and development of new products.

 

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Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    freggo , December 5, 2012 6:12 PM
    This is all driven by litigation happy attorneys.
    We need a hunting season for lawyers :-)

  • 27 Hide
    Branden , December 5, 2012 6:17 PM
    QUOTE: "Google is doing fine. Apple is doing fine. Let me tell you the loser here. There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this."

    and that's exactly why apple is doing this, it's easier to prevent competition from sprouting up in the first place than it is to legitimately beat it on a level playing field. it's a dirty tactic, but it's the only way to stay on top if you're not willing to innovate.
  • 13 Hide
    guru_urug , December 5, 2012 6:36 PM
    Everyone in the tech world knows whats going on. There have been excessive and ridiculous patent lawsuits in the last few years. Everyone knows that there is better use for the money and energy spent on this. Still lets not talk about the elephant in the room! More innovation less poop-flinging please, consumers are losing out. Just sort it out like grown-ups, Win-Win-Win!!
Other Comments
  • 28 Hide
    freggo , December 5, 2012 6:12 PM
    This is all driven by litigation happy attorneys.
    We need a hunting season for lawyers :-)

  • 12 Hide
    ddpruitt , December 5, 2012 6:15 PM
    Quote:
    spending by both Apple and Google on patents exceeded their spending on research and development of new products.


    Leave it to Zak to spin the purchase of Motorola as spending on patents.
  • 27 Hide
    Branden , December 5, 2012 6:17 PM
    QUOTE: "Google is doing fine. Apple is doing fine. Let me tell you the loser here. There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this."

    and that's exactly why apple is doing this, it's easier to prevent competition from sprouting up in the first place than it is to legitimately beat it on a level playing field. it's a dirty tactic, but it's the only way to stay on top if you're not willing to innovate.
  • 13 Hide
    guru_urug , December 5, 2012 6:36 PM
    Everyone in the tech world knows whats going on. There have been excessive and ridiculous patent lawsuits in the last few years. Everyone knows that there is better use for the money and energy spent on this. Still lets not talk about the elephant in the room! More innovation less poop-flinging please, consumers are losing out. Just sort it out like grown-ups, Win-Win-Win!!
  • 3 Hide
    ericburnby , December 5, 2012 6:55 PM
    Is he talking about when Andy Rubin worked at Apple (1989-1992)? The time where Andy was a junior engineer working under two senior engineers who were developing a key patent that's at the heart of both iOS and Android? A patent that was being developed at the exact same time Andy was "on the same team"? A patent that Apple now claims Android infringes?
  • 2 Hide
    esrever , December 5, 2012 7:05 PM
    My guess is the top executives of apple is going to cash out with as much money as possible.
  • 4 Hide
    wildkitten , December 5, 2012 7:07 PM
    ddpruittLeave it to Zak to spin the purchase of Motorola as spending on patents.

    How is that spin? It has always been widely believed by many that Google's main purpose in purchasing Motorola's mobility division was to get ownership of their patents.

    From Forbes...
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/quentinhardy/2011/08/15/google-buys-motorola-for-patent-parts/
    Quote:
    (Google CEO Larry) Page said in the blog post announcing the deal, “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”
  • -3 Hide
    the1kingbob , December 5, 2012 7:12 PM
    The biggest problem with patents is the ability to patent processes or designs that are considered to be a standards by the public. This was seen with Henry Ford. He also didn't start Ford because the patent on the "automobile" was locked. If anyone wanted to sell a car, they had to be approved by the patent holder which included a fee. Same thing is seen today, rather hard for a start up to make a phone with wifi without being sued by someone.
  • 3 Hide
    internetlad , December 5, 2012 7:43 PM
    Quote:
    "Google is doing fine. Apple is doing fine. Let me tell you the loser here. There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this."


    What a down to earth sentiment.
  • -5 Hide
    milktea , December 5, 2012 7:54 PM
    Well you gotta feed the lawyers. If not, something even worst might happen. :) 
  • 4 Hide
    Darkk , December 5, 2012 7:59 PM
    Do what Back to The Future Part II did "Speedy trial because they abolish all lawyers"
  • 0 Hide
    Pinhedd , December 5, 2012 8:03 PM
    the1kingbobThe biggest problem with patents is the ability to patent processes or designs that are considered to be a standards by the public. This was seen with Henry Ford. He also didn't start Ford because the patent on the "automobile" was locked. If anyone wanted to sell a car, they had to be approved by the patent holder which included a fee. Same thing is seen today, rather hard for a start up to make a phone with wifi without being sued by someone.


    You have the timeline confused. When a standard's body decides on a standard such as h264, or XHCI, they first appeal to all of the parties involved in the process that hold patents which may be relevant to the standard in question. If the parties are willing to licence their patents then the parties become bound by the licencing rules set out by the standard's organization which typically include the phrase "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms". If the parties are not willing to licence their patents, then the standards body must work around the patents in question. Once patents have become part of a standard the rights of the patent holder are severely restricted, but there's a much broader audience to be reached.
  • 3 Hide
    Shin-san , December 5, 2012 9:08 PM
    He shouldn't be baffled. Apple probably is trying to sue companies that are less-prepared to defend themselves. If they win in those cases, it'll force Google to comply in some way because US law is defined a lot by precedence
  • -1 Hide
    LEXX911 , December 5, 2012 10:23 PM
    I don't it's a smart idea on their part to sue Google and piss off million of users and make them hate crApple even more. Another thing is that Google would just counter sue them with stuff crApple stolen from Google.
  • -5 Hide
    wislam , December 5, 2012 11:05 PM
    Humm, link to Youtube video - trying to paste link again...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uW-E496FXg
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , December 5, 2012 11:42 PM
    [I was fairly neutral in the iPhone vs Android thing... until I saw Apple's first iPhone keynote: -]

    You said it like it is a little known fact. This is well known and a lot of people disagree whether Google did steal the idea. Also, didn't Apple steal the rounded rectangle square idea from Palm Treo? Or steal the page turning look and feel from thousands of years of human history? Only a thief will always think other people steal from them.
  • 0 Hide
    aggroboy , December 6, 2012 4:15 AM
    Further patent law reform is nice, too many trolls and predators meaning entrepreneurs have zero chance.

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