Apple is at it again. Samsung recently unveiled the Galaxy Tab 7.7 at the IFA Conference in Berlin, but they were forced to remove it from the show floor because a Dusseldorf court granted Apple’s request to ban sales and marketing of it. The above picture shows them covering all references to it.
“Samsung respects the court’s decision,” Chung said, adding that the company believes it “severely limits consumer choice in Germany. Samsung will pursue all available options, including legal action, to defend its intellectual property rights, he said.
If you remember, last month the Dusseldorf Regional court granted a preliminary injunction for all of Europe (except the Netherlands) on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 because it simply looked like the iPad. It was later changed to just Germany.
The Netherlands court threw out 9 out of the 10 patents that Apple claimed Samsung infringed, and gave Samsung until October 13th to remedy the remaining patent, which will most likely be a software update.
This latest judgement in Dusseldorf took place on Friday, one day after the Galaxy Tab 7.7 announcement. Lets also not forget that Apple might have tampered with evidence.
As soon as word spread that Google acquired Motorola Mobility, it didn’t take long for people to assume that it was all about Motorola’s patents. Everyone knows that Google and its Android partners are in the middle of a patent war with the likes of Microsoft and Apple. The fact that Motorola owns roughly 17,000 patents made it an easy conclusion. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the purchase was aimed at acquiring products, and not just patents.
“We did it for more than just patents,” Schmidt said in a conversation with Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff. “The Motorola team has some amazing products.”
I am sure Motorola’s value was more than patents for the single reason that if Motorola’s patents were so strong, they would not be in current legal battles with Apple and Microsoft. I really think Google is looking at Apple’s model of owning the design and manufacturing. The fact that Motorola owned 17,000 patents was frosting on the cake, not to mention they were probably the only Android manufacturer that could be acquired. Lets face it, Samsung, HTC, LG, or Sony Ericsson could not be acquired.
Before I report this news for you, I want to point out one of the patents in question here in case you’ve missed it. U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 involves the following. When you receive an incoming message on your iPhone containing a phone number, web link, e-mail address, or street address, this information is highlighted and turned into a link that you can tap. This tap in turn performs an action like opening the web link in Safari or asking if you would like to dial the phone number. That’s weird because I would have thought tapping a phone number should open your music player. Surely, who ever implemented that process on Android must have stolen it from Apple. Just food for thought since this is one of many patents Apple says HTC is in violation of.
Newly introduced into Apple’s patent infringement case against HTC involves Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android Inc. Apple is alleging that Rubin took inspiration for Android’s framework from APIs he supposedly encountered while working for Apple in the early 90s. Hit up the break for more.
We have heard all along that Amazon is working on two tablets. We are expecting at least one of them to come out this fall, and to be priced as a loss leader to blow Apple out of the water. This will most likely be a seven inch model.
We know they are working on a 10.1-inch version as well, but it looks like it might not hit the scene until the 1st quarter 2012 according to Foxconn, the manufacturer of the device. We have heard the codename is Hollywood, and it could include NVIDIA’s Kal-El quad-core chip. If this is the case, it would be a big set back since ASUS is ready to go with the Kal-El chip in the follow up to the very successful Transformer this fall.
I still think that if Amazon comes out with a $249 tablet this fall as expected, sales will be through the roof. Ultimately the hardcores will be yearning for the “Hollywood,” but volume is where it’s at for Amazon. They have a lot to gain from their app store, music, video, and book distributions. With the 7-inch version priced right, it will produce the volume necessary to drive their digital business.
The Android freight train shows no signs of slowing as its market share in the U.S has climbed to 41.8% for the three month period ending July 2011. Back in April it was at 36.4%. Apple was able to gain market share as well, but marginally. They are now at 27.0%, which is a gain of 1.0% from the previous period of 26.0%. Of course it is no surprise that Microsoft and RIM dropped in their respective market shares.
Android’s gain of 5.4% is huge as compared to Apples’s gain of 1.0%. Apple will continue to hold its own, especially with the iPhone 5 coming out this fall, and especially if the rumors hold that it will show up on Sprint as well. Android’s gain is coming from Microsoft and RIM’s decline. RIM will probably never show an increase unless they adopt Android, and Microsoft has a chance for some marginal increases with the launch of Mango.
There is no question the patent wars plaguing the smartphone and tablet industry is out of control. Verizon’s chief counsel, Randal Milch is now asking President Obama to step in. He wants a blanket statement from the President making clear that he would not allow any decision blocking imports of consumer wireless devices. He would rather see the parties enter into a license agreement.
The real question is if the President has the authority? It happens to be one peculiarity of the ITC that allows rulings to be waived by the President.
Unfortunately Verizon’s perspective is to provide new phones and tablets, and the blocking of imports hinders that. They want everything to be settled with licensing fees, but that is not the solution either. Licensing fees add to the costs and slows innovation. The real problem is the patent system. Patents are given out for just about anything, and the entire system needs to be overhauled.
Ultimately Milch’s request is a start. It could help burst the patent bubble so we can get back to pure innovation.
Earlier today we reported that a Netherlands Judge ruled that Samsung infringed Apple patent EP 2,058,868, and therefore banned the sale of the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and the Galaxy Ace.
Samsung made the following statement afterwards:
“Today’s ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive. With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers.
“This ruling is not expected to affect sales in other European markets”
Later they made a second statement pointing out that the judge rejected 9 out of the 10 complaints Apple made against the Galaxy line (including tablets):
Millennial Media has tracked a 7% increase in Android usage on their network from June to July. This marks the eighth consecutive month that Android has held onto the lead. According to their data, July also bore witness to iOS dropping six points and RIM dropping one point. So we know who Android has been grabbing its share from. Apple was still the top vendor however, followed by Samsung, RIM, HTC, and Motorola. Hit the source link for more detailed data on manufacturers and individual phones.
By now you have already heard that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer. Here is the text of his resignation letter:
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know.
Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
So what do you guys think? Steve’s comment that Apple’s “brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it” is interesting. Does this mean they will stop the patent war and actually start innovating? Don’t bet on it.