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Matt Yglesias on smart phone competition

Does Anyone Seriously Regret That Apple and Google Are Competing in the Smartphone Industry?

Matt Yglesias discusses the stupidity of the patent litigation between Apple and Android licensees. As he points out, the competition has been good for Apple, good for Google, and good for people who use mobile phones.

2 Comments

  1. Sigh. Yes, the patent litigation is profoundly stupid, especially on the part of Apple, since Apple has freely stolen from Android for iOS and OS X (e.g. the Notification bar and multi-tasking).

    I mean, I get what Apple’s trying to do. They’re so angry/afraid/terrified of all the pundits talking about Apple’s demise in the post-Steve Jobs era that they’re following a scorched-earth policy of pushing their competitors (mostly Android) years back, so by the time they catch up, Apple’s light years ahead and practically untouchable.

    Or at least in theory. But without Samsung, HTC et al, Apple would have become complacent and stagnant (as they are currently with the basic iOS UI, which hasn’t changed in 5 years, esp. the keyboard).

    Apple’s success is partially a result of stealing ideas from their competitors. To now sue those same competitors for doing the same is incomprehensible and reprehensible. Not to mention by going with the nuclear option (patents), they’ve woken everybody else to the need to have their own patents. How long before the competition piles up enough critical patents to retaliate effectively?

    Madness, I tell you.

  2. Apple has certainly borrowed features and ideas from other platforms, just like everybody does. At the same time, the entire mobile industry has remade itself to resemble Apple products as closely as possible, with Samsung leading the charge. Apple may be offended that other companies are aping its designs, but this is the most common trend in the world of business. Everybody does what the industry leader does. Why do all soda cans have the same design? Why do cars look so similar these days? As products mature, the design tends to converge until some groundbreaking company shakes things up.

    Given Apple’s massive financial success I don’t see how any rational argument could be made that they require the protection of the patent system in order to remain viable.

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