Tag Archives: thermonuclear war

Google CEO Larry Page says Steve Jobs’ fury over Android was just to rally troops

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page talked at length about his new role as chief and his plans for the future of Android, Motorola, and the rest of the company. Much the interview revolved around Android and Google’s relationship with other companies, and Page was asked about his relationship with Steve Jobs towards the end. He was also asked about the state of Android tablets and his thoughts on Apple’s recently announced dividend.

When the interviewer mentioned Google and Jobs had their “differences” about Android, presumably referring to Jobs’ claims that Android is a “stolen product,” Page claimed Jobs’ anger towards Android/Google was “actually for show”:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally… He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.

He continued when encouraged to elaborate on his “for show” comment:

I think that served their interests. For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.

Page’s remarks are referring to Jobs’ comments originally documented in Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” biography where the Apple CEO claimed he would spend his last dying breath and “every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank” to destroy Android. Jobs claimed Google was “using our ideas in Android.” If you believe Page, the whole thing was simply to rally the troops at Apple. Despite Page’s view of the situation, Apple is clearly still willing to spend its money on lawyers to fight Android vendors in courts across the globe. However, recent reports suggested Apple is interested in settling for as much as a $15 royalty per Android device with some of its competitors.

As for whether Apple’s new dividend and share repurchase program has inspired Page to rethink his strategy…

I think Apple has more cash than we do— 

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

Apple spends hundreds of millions to sue Android makers, is it working?

Newsweek‘s Dan Lyons reported today that Apple’s “thermonuclear war” on Android smartphone manufacturers is fading fast, while a new rumor surfaced among the suits’ lawyers claiming the company spent $100 million on its initial set of claims against HTC.

Imagine how much Apple spent on other Android makers, such as Motorola (who is near locking Apple products out of Germany in retaliation) or Samsung (the biggest Mobile Communications patent holder in the world), if it spent so much on just HTC.

“Who knows if it’s true, but if so, Apple didn’t get a lot for its money,” wrote Lyons on his RealDanLyons’ blog Jan. 23.

Apple’s legal claims are abruptly junked left and right, and its only minor victories to date are so inconsequential that Android device makers can dance around the momentary obstacles with just a few minor tweaks to products, explained the Newsweek reporter.

The technology giant’s case against HTC with the International Trade Commission began in February 2010, when the Cupertino, Calif.-based company wanted the ITC to block HTC from importing products into the United States. The case originally had 84 claims based on 10 patents, but it was dwindled down to only four claims by the time a judge became involved, according to Lyons.

The rulings —for the most part— were a wash for Apple. One patent was invalid as Apple did not have a rightful claim to it, and HTC did not infringe upon two of the other patents due to Apple apparently not implementing them into its products. In other words, Apple did not have a right to seek an injunction, because ITC injunctions can only occur if it is provable that both parties are “practicing” the patent in question, which Apple could not demonstrate against HTC…

The final patent was found valid that HTC was infringing a relatively minuscule software feature that lets users press on a phone number in an email or website to open a menu for calling the number or sending a text message, and such like actions. Subsequently, HTC can remove the feature from United States devices or implement it through a function that avoids infringement.

A second complaint against HTC involves other patents. One case is awaiting a March 2013 ruling while another is pending at the ITC. The cases are also filed under U.S. district courts, but they are on-pause until the ITC rules on them.

On the other hand, HTC has two claims of its own that are pending against Apple with the ITC. The first one is awaiting decision next month and the second in April 2013. Of course, numerous patent cases around the globe are on going against Apple, HTC, Samsung and Motorola. Apple even lost to Nokia last year and ordered to pay royalties for infringing upon Nokia patents.

With that said, Lyons concluded the issues-at-hand regarding the not-so-hot “thermonuclear war” perfectly:

So Apple started out with 10 patents — presumably its best ones — and ended up with a tiny victory on just one. Was that worth $100 million?

Apple certainly can afford the legal fees, and shows no sign of letting up.

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google’s Android software was akin to “grand theft,” and that he would spend his “last dying breath” proving his case.

“I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs told Isaacson. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The biographer later described a meeting with Google’s Eric Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., where Jobs told Schmidt that he was not interested in settling the lawsuit: “I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”

Nevertheless, what has Apple won with its hundreds of millions of dollars — a few weeks of a Samsung Galaxy Tab reprieve in Australia and some redesigned products elsewhere?

Perhaps this is simply an expensive branding exercise meant to label the Android makers as “copyists.”

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.

Steve Jobs vowed to “destroy” Android

Apple has a lot of cash in the bank, and now we know that former CEO Steve Jobs had at least one grand plan for what to do with it: Destroy Android. In his upcoming biography, titled Steve Jobs, to be released on Monday, biographer Walter Isaacson shows that Jobs was apoplectic over Android’s strong resemblance to iOS and was willing to go to great lengths to remedy what he called “grand theft.”

Here’s what Jobs told his biographer, according to an early copy obtained by the Associated Press:

Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google’s actions amounted to “grand theft.”

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The excerpts we’ve seen of the biography so far are fascinating for many reasons but especially because they break through the carefully phrased statements Apple tends to use whenever making public pronouncements. Compare Jobs’ candor above with an example from this week’s earnings call. Regarding the ongoing mobile patent disputes, CEO Tim Cook put it this way: “We spend a lot of time and money and resource coming up with incredible innovation, and we don’t like it when someone else takes those. And unfortunately that’s why we’ve been pushed in to the court system to remedy that.”

That’s a bit milder than Jobs’ proposed scorched-earth tactics. It is interesting, though, that Apple never sued Google directly and instead has chosen to target other handset makers that use Android, apparently to chip away at Google’s influence in mobile from the outside.

Looking back, the signs of Jobs’ intent to destroy have been there. Apple has not backed down or granted broad licenses to any of the companies it has sued recently over its mobile patents. Patents blogger Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents reminded us on Friday that earlier this week Apple made it clear in its ongoing and acrimonious court battle with Samsung over the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia that there would be no broad licensing deal offered to settle the dispute once and for all.

In court documents Apple said it could potentially license Samsung “some lower level patents,” but Samsung would still have to “cease copying the features and functionality of Apple Inc’s products, and the iPad in particular.” In other words, Apple’s not giving in to make a couple of bucks, the way Microsoft did, and there will be no tacit approval of the patent infringement in exchange for licensing any of the higher-level patents Apple holds.

And this is Samsung we’re talking about, one of Apple’s most important suppliers for the iPhone and iPad, its two most important products. That’s a pretty good indication of what’s in store for the targets of Apple’s other mobile patent lawsuits, which include HTC, Motorola  and others.

As Jobs reportedly told Eric Schmidt at the time: ”I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”

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