Apple’s relationship with Google more tenuous than ever

The New York Times has an interesting article detailing Apple’s once friendly but now tenuous relationship with Google. The two companies have worked together in the past, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt even served on Apple’s board of directors. In fact, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin apparently considered Steve Jobs a mentor and would visit him at Apple’s offices often. There might’ve been a little bromance, too; Brin and Jobs are said to have taken long walks together in the Santa Cruz foothills.

But Jobs hasn’t been happy with Google’s entry into the cell phone world, and he reportedly threatened to sue Google should it implement multi-touch on Android-based devices. Multi-touch is now available on several Android phones, including Google’s own Nexus One. However, Apple hasn’t filed suit against Google directly. Instead, it’s gone after handset maker HTC, which just happens to manufacture the Nexus One, among other Android devices.

Apple’s contentious relationship with Google may be strained even further if iPad alternatives embrace Android or perhaps even Google’s Chrome OS. Given the markedly different mindsets that seem to be steering the two companies, further conflict seems inevitable. The Times’ article is loaded with other interesting tidbits and is well worth reading.

Comments closed
    • Voldenuit
    • 10 years ago

    Apple is the perennial tantrum toddler that needs to go sit in ‘time out’ every few minutes.

    • Jambe
    • 10 years ago

    Apple sues HTC over multi-touch despite ELAN suing them for the same thing:

    §[<http://www.emc.com.tw/eng/news_1_1.asp?id=71<]§ Apple's also suing Microsoft by proxy; they say some of HTC's Windows Mobile phones violate their DSP patents, but Apple steers clear of calling out Microsoft explicitly — that's interesting in and of itself. The breadth of these patents is an indictment of the USPTO (like there aren't enough of those already — har har). Damn thing's a money vacuum. Most of these patents are just plain stupid; the multi-touch claims in particular will surely crumble in light of prior art. Product cycles are are so short nowadays that patent litigation often outlasts them. Amusing. Lest Apple gets too much hate for defending its patent library, remember that pretty much every player in the space is suing everybody else: §[<http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/an-explosion-of-mobile-patent-lawsuits/<]§

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    OK, now that I have some time to myself, I’m looking… 🙂

    In the meantime, does anyone know (or can anyone find out) what happened to Typhoon’s Dec 2007 suit against Palm, Apple, HTC, Dell, Nokia and virtually everyone else in the world for infringing their Patent 5,379,057 (issued 3 January, 1995) entitled “Portable Computer with Touch Screen and Computer System Employing Same,” their Patent No. 5,675,362 (issued October 7, 1997) also entitled “Portable Computer with Touch Screen and Computing System Employing Same”??

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 10 years ago

    We all know that Apple hates true competition, that is why they lie in their adds rather than promoting the platforms true strengths they promote BS that Apple yuppies everywhere believe as gospel truth.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      Could you repeat that in English?

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    time to end it, Google! take a bite, but make sure you swallow them whole!

    • Philldoe
    • 10 years ago

    You know, it’s like.. Harry Ford invented the assembly line but said he liked competition so he didn’t patent the idea, and then some other car maker comes along waaaay down the line in history and says “lol assembly line patent is ourz!”

    Apple is making itself a target for anti-competitive lawsuits in the near future, that is if Google dosn’t smack them back into place.

      • ludi
      • 10 years ago

      How is it like that?

        • Welch
        • 10 years ago

        It is very much like that actually…. in that one company “Develops” or lets be fair.. not even develops a method, or idea/product but instead is just the first to implement it on a massive scale…… does nothing to actually claim this during conception and then waits until people are in violation before throwing a wrench in their gears. This is what Apple is doing, throwing wrenches in the gears once its to late for the companies to financially back out of it.

        Apple is god damn stupid if they think that they can capitalize on some of these concepts as “Patents”. Well lets go back to the first company to use a Semi-Conductor… or a “Micro Chip”…… Non-Competition whinny little girl, that’s Apple.

        Apple…… The new forbidden fruit.

          • ludi
          • 10 years ago

          So how did Apple do that? Show your work, and note that I have some experience in disassembling patents for presentation in litigation and settlement negotiations, so don’t just throw stuff at the wall and hope it sticks. I “get” that you have some “concerns” about the “patent system in general”, but I want to know what it is you think that /[

          • glynor
          • 10 years ago

          Actually, it is similar to his example in another way… Henry Ford did NOT “invent the assembly line”.

          He mastered the art of using an assembly line for mass production, popularized it, and used his company’s mastery of the tool to take over a fledgling industry. He improved upon the execution of the assembly line in many ways (some of which were patentable, and some of which were not).

          But he did not invent it. The Assembly line was used by many industries well prior to Ford’s use. The Chicago Meat Packing industry was one of the earliest, but there were also examples throughout the Industrial Revolution (including firearms, textiles, clocks and watches, and many other industries).

          Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      Wasn’t Harry Ford in Indiana Jones?

      • bacondreamer
      • 10 years ago

      Umm…..that’s Henry Ford…….

    • mcnabney
    • 10 years ago

    Apple is just going to get their patents invalidated.

    You cannot claim a patent when ‘prior art’ exists.

    Multi-touch was invented at a few universities back in the 80’s. There is so much prior art for undervolting/clocking the idea of even trying to patent their version is silly. And claiming the whole clicking icons to run programs is absolutely ludicrous.

    But this is my favorite of the 20 patents they are suing over:
    United States Patent No. 5,519,867 entitled “Object-Oriented Multitasking System,” issued on May 21, 1996…

    Multitasking……. They are suing a company that does something based upon a product that they sell that does not.

      • dpaus
      • 10 years ago

      l[http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html<]§ It suggests strongly that if Apple chooses to actually start a patent fight over multi-touch, they seriously risk losing the patent over prior art.

        • albundy
        • 10 years ago

        let the games begin!!!

    • blastdoor
    • 10 years ago

    I think Apple needs to be cautious here. I’m still convinced that Microsoft’s WinMo phones are a more serious long term competitor than Android. If anything, Android might end up being a bigger pain in Microsoft’s butt than Apple’s. I’m not sure that it makes sense to try stomping on Android too hard…

    • Spurenleser
    • 10 years ago

    Hypothetically, could Google remove all Apple pages from their search engine without any legal ramifications? Or how about suggesting alternative products (seaching for iPod … “Did you mean: Zune?”)? Google has so many options *G*

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 10 years ago

      It is possible to sue anyone over anything if you can make a good enough argument to fool the judge that you actually have a case. Just having Apple’s results in their search engine could be reason for Apple to sue Google. Removing them could be another reason. Apple’s lawyers could find a reason no matter what.

      • designerfx
      • 10 years ago

      google could remove anything from their search engine results, but it would simply make google searches less relevant. That’s a jab I don’t think they’d bother to make.

      • XaiaX
      • 10 years ago

      They would face pretty severe anti-competitive charges if they did that.

      We don’t want the .gov getting involved in that.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    Like a melicious kid with ADHD
    §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU<]§

      • Welch
      • 10 years ago

      I think Steve Jobs romanticizes about his ability and role in the world. He is so off this world that I can’t believe it, the more and more I see videos of the guy the sicker I get. He seriously thinks he is a genius, a poet and a philosophy. Who is seriously that naive to think that he is that dang

      Its funny because that definitely describes the feeling you get from most of the snobs who are religiously Apple. (Notice I said most… some of you are cool :P)

      I don’t get this same feeling from Bill Gates, or any of the other big wigs in the PC market, not like this piece of work Mr. Jobs…. step off your pedestal for a moment man and realize what your doing to the market with your anti-competitive self.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    this is Jobs’ MO I think.

    • End User
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • dpaus
      • 10 years ago

      No. I said “touch screen” and that’s what I meant. I’m sick of seeing media outlets call the iPhone “the first touch-screen phone”

        • glynor
        • 10 years ago

        You called it “repeating Apple’s blatant lie”. I’ll give you stupid and uninformed media outlets (anyone who watches the media would grant you that), but where exactly did an Apple exec or PR person ever make that claim?

        Link or it didn’t happen.

          • dpaus
          • 10 years ago

          Given that I’ll be looking for links from three years ago, it’ll be tough to find them. But if I find time with nothing better to do later in the day, I’ll look. But my recollection was that the claim was made – by Apple – at the unveiling of the iPhone.

            • glynor
            • 10 years ago

            So, you’re making stuff up to support a pre-conceived notion. Okay.

            At least I know where you’re coming from.

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            Where exactly are you getting that from?

            • End User
            • 10 years ago

            You are not backing up your comments with facts.

            Apple’s press releases are easy to find:

            §[<http://bit.ly/2X0Frw<]§ §[<http://bit.ly/18PNyK<]§ §[<http://bit.ly/jjzyv<]§ None of them mention "touch screen".

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            I haven’t found any links yet because right now, I’ve got better things to do than search for them (this thing called a “job” – not to be confused with Steve). True, right now, I’m going on memory – which is vivid because at the time the iPhone came out, I’d had a Treo for over a year. I remember many pundits crying foul about it at the time, but as many more just shrugged it off. But my having better things to do at the moment than find 3-year-old links to stories is a far cry from claiming that I’m making things up to support a pre-conceived viewpoint.

            • glynor
            • 10 years ago

            Sorry… Links or it didn’t happen.

            • dpaus
            • 10 years ago

            Well, I doubt anyone’s looking back here now, but I have to confess that i can’t find a single hard link. Lots of anecdotal support from others i asked, but they can’t find hard links either.

            So it’s at best an urban legend, but I’m left wondering if there was any foundation to it all all, or if it was a complete fabrication.

            • XaiaX
            • 10 years ago

            The intensity of a memory has no correlation to its veracity, and often is inversely proportional. Humans are quite susceptible to confabulation, so it’s far more likely that you are remembering incorrectly.

            Eyewitness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence.

      • End User
      • 10 years ago

      That is between you and those media outlets.

      Check Apple’s press releases for the iPhone. They make no mention of having the first touch screen:

      §[<http://bit.ly/2X0Frw<]§ §[<http://bit.ly/18PNyK<]§ §[<http://bit.ly/jjzyv<]§ Argh! This was a reply to #13

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    The article also notes that Google had prototypes of Android well before the iPhone’s original release – they just obviously didn’t file any patents on it.

    Apple does a very impressive job of re-writing history by (media) proxy, and then enforcing that through patent litigation. I’ve lost track of the number of media outlets I’ve seen repeat Apple’s -[

      • jdaven
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, it’s okay for everybody else to defend their patents but not Apple. They are a special case where patents are void from Apple, Inc. and they are just bad if they try to defend them. Apple should know better. They are held to a different standard than everybody else because we don’t like Apple.

        • grantmeaname
        • 10 years ago

        did you read his post?

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 10 years ago

        Apple is claiming they have a patent on undervolting a processor in a mobile device to reduce power consumption.

        Undervolting… which has been done for years.

        Apple is claiming that multi-touch interface is something that can be patented and held exclusively by one company. I think Xerox should have kept that whole mouse thing to themselves, no need in letting anyone else use that. Screw the world, everyone else find some other way to control your computer.

        Say what you like about Apple chic, but Google’s openness in keeping its platforms open and available to all (Android apps, ability to get your info in and out of Google Apps, open source of Android, ChromeOS, and Google Chrome, etc) is about keeping the computer and mobile devices open and flourishing.

        Apple’s walled-in garden approach is their desperate attempt to lock all mobile devices into Apple or inferior.

        To be clear, multi-touch is an obvious technology that should not have been patentable, any more so than undervolting. Apple did not invent it, they should not have been allowed to patent it, and Apple can try to defend these patents if they like, but only Apple would have had the balls to patent them in the first place.

          • glynor
          • 10 years ago

          If you don’t like patent law, then I won’t disagree with you. Call your representatives in Congress and complain that we need patent reform. Join the EFF and donate. I have done both.

          But patent law is patent law, and you can’t expect companies to compete in a free market, while not making use of the legal tools available to protect themselves.

          Patent law says that patents are method and application specific. Just because “undervolting” generally has been used on Windows PCs and in ATM terminals and Laptops and wherever, does not mean use of undervolting in Apple’s specific manner when applied to a CPU in a mobile device is not patentable. That’s why drug companies are constantly trying to find new “uses” for old drugs (new purposes, time release versions, new formulations, etc) as soon as the patents expire on them, because they can re-patent the drug as applies to the new treatment or form, and then fight off generics in that space with their patents.

          Now, a competing company can claim before a patent judge that a particular reuse of existing technology is “obvious” and, if the judge agrees, have the patent invalidated. But until that has happened, it is a valid patent. In fact, the only way to “test” a patent is to have a lawsuit exactly like this one!

          I’m not saying it is right. But the USPO issued Apple patent 6920574 in 2005. Expecting them not to use it, when they are being sued by Nokia for the exact same kind of stuff, is childish and naive.

          This isn’t just about quashing competition. This is also about forcing the insular cell phone manufacturing industry to grant Apple cross licensing agreements to protect them from further lawsuits.

          • glynor
          • 10 years ago

          Actually, also if you read the patent in detail, it is clear that Apple is talking about a specific mechanism for /[http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6920574/fulltext.html<]§ Show me prior art where this has been done like this...

            • Sargent Duck
            • 10 years ago

            Given your descreption, first words that pop into my head are “AMD and Intel”. They’ve been “automatically and dynamically undervolting idle portions of their mobile processor on demand, and then re-ramping the voltage when idle states cease” for a couple of years now.

            Of course, it hasn’t been with cell phone processors, so there may be something there. Hopefully not though cause it’s a dumb patent. That’s like me patenting the gas pedal to “automatically and dynamically cut the flow of gas to the engine on demand, and then re-ramping the gas when you want to speed up”.

            • glynor
            • 10 years ago

            Like this one you mean?

            §[<http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5063811/fulltext.html<]§ Patents are /[

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        Nonsense. If a company is able to patent something unique, non-obvious and worthwhile, they should be able to, and they should be able to use the courts to defend their invention from unauthourized use (whether one should be able to patent a gesture is another matter). What I find distasteful in the extreme – and from /[

          • glynor
          • 10 years ago

          They’re suing HTC because they CAN’T sue Google directly. They have to show specific infringement. If they sued Google, then Google’s lawyers would say:

          “We don’t know what they’re talking about. We don’t make a phone. We make a free operating system for a phone, but these aren’t software patents. HTC and Motorola make phones, not us.”

          And the case would be thrown out.

          It is a proxy war because that is just how Google designed it. Apple makes and brands a phone as their own. Google does not, even though they are now selling and marketing it directly.

            • ludi
            • 10 years ago

            Actually, there is such a thing as “inducement to infringe”. But Apple has to be very careful who they pick fights with as there is a ton of existing IP in the cellular world, much of it heavily cross-licensed.

            • glynor
            • 10 years ago

            Exactly. Once they prove that HTC has infringed, they can use that as a hammer against Google to get them to back off a bit. It is actually more likely that the real “important” target of these actions, in the end, is Nokia. That lawsuit flew first, and I think it is the one where Apple is a lot more exposed.

            They need to prove now, that their patents are valid and enforceable, so that they can force Nokia (and HTC and Motorola and Samsung and the rest of the “gang”) to cross license to them. They’ll lose a bunch of that treasury of patents, but a few of them will probably be found to be enforceable.

            That’s why Microsoft and Google have played their proxy game. They are afraid of the cross licensing jungle in the cell phone manufacturing world. Apple dove in and now has to fight to protect their spot.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        It’s not about defending patents, it’s about patents that shouldn’t be issues in the first place because of prior art or vagueness and the spin that Apple invented it all. Apple is great at slicking-up things but most of their ‘new innovations’ are really just solid implementations of someone else’s idea.

          • Corrado
          • 10 years ago

          But.. Apple doesn’t issue patents. The USPO does. EVERY company patents things and is required to defend them or lose them. Singling Apple out for using the laws of this country to their advantage is dumb. They own the patent, they have a legal right to defend it.

          As said above, if you have issues with the patent system, write your congressmen about it and try and get it changed.

          Don’t hate the playa, hate the game!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      edit nvm

      • SNM
      • 10 years ago

      As End User says, it’s Multi-Touch, not “touch-screen.” And as a former diehard Palm/Clie user, pretending that Apple’s Multi-touch is a natural, unpatentable evolution of the Palm-style touch interface is just being dishonest.
      That’s ignoring the fact that I thought some 3rd party had all the patents on multi-touch, of course.

      • bucket
      • 10 years ago

      Jobs publicly threatened to sue Palm over multitouch when they introduced the Pre. Palm’s subtle response was something like “we have a strong patent portfolio too” implying that iPhone had also infringed on Palm’s IP. Jobs has been silent about it ever since.

      The two companies could probably destroy each other’s products with lawsuits, but in the end, the only winners would be the lawyers.

      Apple does two things really well: intuitive software and sleek industrial design. Palm’s Treo was a touch screen web-browsing movie playing smart phone with thousands of applications (and the ability to cut and paste) years before the iPhone.

      From a marketing standpoint, Apple has the incredible ability to make people forget the state of the art before their product releases.

      I am going to vomit when Apple unveils a convertible tablet notebook and the world gawks at how mindblowingly innovative it is… forgetting that IBM/Lenovo/HP and others have been making them for a decade.

      guy in black turtleneck: “is it an iPad with a keyboard, or is it a MacBook with a touchscreen? You decide!”

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 10 years ago

    Greedy corporate bastards.

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