Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

How Jobs Threatened Sun's CEO: I'll Just Sue You

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 50 comments

I am rubber, you are glue.

Apple is currently in the middle of a legal battle with HTC regarding patent infringements relating to the user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware of the iPhone. This week former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz shared his own experiences of Apple litigation and although his did not end in a lengthy legal battle, it certainly provides insight as to what it's like to be on the receiving end of a business call from Steve Jobs.

In a posting on his personal blog, Mr. Schwartz recounts a run in he had with Steve Jobs several years ago. The exchange was in regard to a Linux desktop calling Project Looking Glass.

In 2003, after I unveiled a prototype Linux desktop called Project Looking Glass*, Steve called my office to let me know the graphical effects were “stepping all over Apple’s IP.” (IP = Intellectual Property = patents, trademarks and copyrights.) If we moved forward to commercialize it, “I’ll just sue you.”

However, Johnson was quick to respond with his own questions about intellectual property.

My response was simple. “Steve, I was just watching your last presentation, and Keynote looks identical to Concurrence – do you own that IP?” Concurrence was a presentation product built by Lighthouse Design, a company I’d help to found and which Sun acquired in 1996. Lighthouse built applications for NeXTSTEP, the Unix based operating system whose core would become the foundation for all Mac products after Apple acquired NeXT in 1996. Steve had used Concurrence for years, and as Apple built their own presentation tool, it was obvious where they’d found inspiration. “And last I checked, MacOS is now built on Unix. I think Sun has a few OS patents, too.” Steve was silent.

Project Looking Glass was soon abandoned, though Jonathan says it had nothing to do with Steve Jobs or Apple. He goes on to relay a similar story concerning Open Office, which resulted in a very short meeting with Bill Gates and the crew at Microsoft.

Aside from coming at a time when Apple is suing HTC (many speculate the company is just trying to get at Google in the long run), the entire post raises interesting questions about patents and trademarks. The patent system is one a lot of people believe to be very flawed, and with the news that someone is actually trying to patent the act of patent trolling, who can really blame them?

Read Jonathan's entire post here.

Display 50 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 30 Hide
    sliem , March 10, 2010 1:54 PM
    Jobs = greedy hypocrit who thinks he's a God
  • 28 Hide
    lightsaber , March 10, 2010 2:03 PM
    I love how the Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz made Jobs stick is tongue up his a$$ with his own comeback....Awesome!!!
  • 18 Hide
    matt_b , March 10, 2010 2:56 PM
    Quote:
    The patent system is one a lot of people believe to be very flawed....

    An understatement for sure.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    dman3k , March 10, 2010 1:41 PM
    Use the Schwartz?
  • 6 Hide
    thrust2night , March 10, 2010 1:53 PM
    Sing along with me...

    I am rubber you are glue. I will sue sue sue sue you!
  • 30 Hide
    sliem , March 10, 2010 1:54 PM
    Jobs = greedy hypocrit who thinks he's a God
  • 17 Hide
    rubix_1011 , March 10, 2010 1:56 PM
    Totally rockin' the comb-over/ponytail combo.
  • 28 Hide
    lightsaber , March 10, 2010 2:03 PM
    I love how the Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz made Jobs stick is tongue up his a$$ with his own comeback....Awesome!!!
  • -4 Hide
    rhino13 , March 10, 2010 2:07 PM
    Maybe cancer will hwlp Jobs realize he aint God.
  • 0 Hide
    tommysch , March 10, 2010 2:11 PM
    They should divert 10% of their profits to buy as many lawyers as possible.

    Then throw them by the dozen at apple.
  • 9 Hide
    EvilMonk , March 10, 2010 2:13 PM
    Seriously, I have been a Mac user for almost 15 years and I am seeing what Apple is doing now as stupid, I mean sure, they are using lots of BSD code in OSX and in the iPhone OS, they sell products that are free and just add fat around so you have the impression they give you more, did they get sued for that? Not really because the BSD license is allowing it. And the same apply to the GPL license. Apple always keep on the line of legal but sues up as soon as they get a chance.
  • 2 Hide
    bustapr , March 10, 2010 2:14 PM
    LOL, I had a lot of fun reading the first line.
  • 5 Hide
    kresso , March 10, 2010 2:28 PM
    Quote:
    I am rubber, you are glue.


    Reminds me of my favorite Monkey Island insult/comeback:
    Your the ugliest monster ever created/Not if you count the ones you've dated!

  • 4 Hide
    rockola , March 10, 2010 2:32 PM
    Litigation "for the rest of us."
  • 4 Hide
    cadder , March 10, 2010 2:32 PM
    I wonder why Xerox never sued Apple for stealing the origins of their whole concept.

    I remember reading a story about Jobs sitting next to someone from AMI, might have been Sarma or Shankar, at a convention (AMI being one of the key factors behind the clone PC industry). Sarma/Shankar asked Jobs how he would like to have Apple clones around, Jobs asked S/S how he would like a big lawsuit.

    Apple has to protect what little they have or they would dry up and blow away. They have software that has a market but they can't live by selling software only. They make good hardware but they have generated a market where they can sell their hardware at higher than industry standard profit margins. If clones came on the market then the source of most of Apple's profits would go away.
  • -4 Hide
    smeker , March 10, 2010 2:36 PM
    cadderI wonder why Xerox never sued Apple for stealing the origins of their whole concept.


    I wonder why Apple never sued Microsoft for stilling their whole concept for desktop OS interface....
  • 4 Hide
    EvilMonk , March 10, 2010 2:42 PM
    smekerI wonder why Apple never sued Microsoft for stilling their whole concept for desktop OS interface....

    Because they did not created the concept of the Desktop OS interface?
    Xerox did through its division called PARC
    Quote:
    Founded in 1970 as a division of Xerox Corporation, PARC has been responsible for such well known and important developments as laser printing, the Ethernet, the modern personal computer graphical user interface (GUI), ubiquitous computing, and advancing very-large-scale-integration (VLSI).
    Source
  • 3 Hide
    EvilMonk , March 10, 2010 2:47 PM
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_PARC
  • 18 Hide
    matt_b , March 10, 2010 2:56 PM
    Quote:
    The patent system is one a lot of people believe to be very flawed....

    An understatement for sure.
  • 3 Hide
    mikeadelic , March 10, 2010 2:58 PM
    Mr. Schwartz has got one wicked tongue. Bravo!
  • -5 Hide
    smeker , March 10, 2010 2:59 PM
    evilmonkBecause they did not created the concept of the Desktop OS interface?Xerox did through its division called PARC Source


    First version of windows went out four years after MacOS. You do the math.
    Originally Gates wanted to License MacOS, but Jobs did not agree.

    Go and rent "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" you can see the short story of what happened....
  • 9 Hide
    cyprod , March 10, 2010 3:08 PM
    smeker, the fact that Microsoft copied apple is moot. Fact is, since Apple didn't create the desktop environment, they had no, and still have no legal footing to sue Microsoft. The only company that could have was Xerox, and the statute of limitations for them to do that is well past.

    Get off your high horse, apple isn't an innovator, they steal ideas from all over the place, just like everybody else in the tech world.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , March 10, 2010 3:14 PM
    Hmm I wonder if pooing has been patented, if not I am going to patent it so I can receive royalties every time someone goes for a s**t

    Stupid patent system!!!
Display more comments