What happens to cowards? They get slaughtered, and that is what Google did to Apple today when they announced their acquisition of Motorola. Before today the media was declaring Google a crybaby because they complained that Apple and Microsoft overpaid for the Nortel patents in an attempt to slow down Android with the courts rather than with innovation.
Apple and Microsoft did not “beat” out Google for the Nortel patents, they simply overpaid. Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple don’t “lose” deals like this. Each one of these companies has the money to buy whatever they want, but of course they set their own limit of what they are willing to pay. It is no different than the Yankees and Red Sox when they bid on a high priced free agent. A limit is set, and if the other team wants the player more, they will get the player. Sometimes both bidders are close, and someone loses by a small margin, but in this case there is no indication that Google’s final bid was that close. The fact of the matter is Google wasn’t interested in paying four times the value of those patents just to be a patent troll.
On the flip side Apple has no problem taking advantage of a broken system. Companies like Apple have been granted patents that are so insanely broad. Things are so crazy that somehow it has gotten to the point where patents aren’t even necessary to get injunctions. Last week a German court granted a preliminary judgement on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for all of Europe (except the Netherlands) based on community design. Community design? Has the world gone mad? If a product looks similar, an injunction can be imposed without argument from the defense. Talk about an innovation killer. A tablet is a rectangle or square that has glass on the front. A phone is the same, but smaller. How does a court rule in favor of Apple based on just looks? Not only that, news just broke that Apple might have tampered with the evidence. Either way it is a joke. My neighbor’s flat screen TV is just as similar as mine. My wife’s laptop looks a lot like mine. Is an injunction on any of these products necessary?
Some people might say that you can’t blame Apple for doing what the system allows, but seriously folks, we know the system is broken. A company like Apple should be ashamed of themselves. If your neighbor goes on vacation and forgets to lock the doors, is it okay to go in their house and take what you want? That is exactly what Apple is doing. They are taking advantage of a patent and legal system that is in disarray. I may not buy Apple products, but I am willing to admit they make a decent product for a certain demographic. Can’t their products speak for themselves?
We are not talking about a small company that is trying to make it big. Just last week Apple became the most valued U.S. company. How does a company this big feel they need to lower themselves to these kinds of levels? The answer is fear. Sorry Apple fanboys, I hate to break the news to you, but your beloved magical company is a coward. Or is that iCoward?
Next month Steve Jobs is going to stand up and tell the world that the iPhone 5 is the greatest phone ever made. Unfortunately, Mr. Jobs knows that would only be the case if it were the only phone on the market, which is what Apple’s goal was. A coward does not want competition because a coward fears losing. The plan was to continue to blow billions of dollars trying to shutdown the companies they are afraid to compete with. By doing this Apple would eventually hurt themselves by exposing (if they haven’t already) the system for what it is, and the bubble would eventually burst.
Google decided there is no sense waiting till the system corrects itself because it could take a long time. With the purchase of Motorola, and their 17,000 patents, it is a win win for Google. They gain patents to shut Apple up, and they gain a partner to push Android to an even higher market share.
Now that innovation has been restored what will Apple do? Will they get up off the floor and fight with innovation or will they continue to cower?