Amplify the Obvious

Amplifying the obvious about tech and tech commentary
~ Wednesday, January 22 ~
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Apple the Patent Troll

Seems to be kinda hard to be against patent trolls and still be an Apple fan. Apple looks to be just another rich corporate bully, not much different from Microsoft - in fact, Microsoft is also a partner in Rockstar.

Tags: apple patents
~ Friday, August 10 ~
Permalink Tags: patents
~ Friday, August 3 ~
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Copying

Most commentators frame the Samsung/Apple trial as being about copying - did Samsung copy Apple in designing phones and tablets. But to me, the trial and much of the commentary miss the point - which is, so what if Samsung copied Apple?

Is there a single industry where competitors don’t copy each other? Don’t auto companies copy each other all the time? Don’t all electronics, TVs, refrigerators, whatever, look similar, and follow design trends as their competitors introduce innovations? That is just part of the deal if you are going to compete.

Apple has chosen a particular style of competivness - they innovate a lot, come up with new ideas. It has brought them great success. But there are other paths to success. Samsung innovates in some areas, and follows trends in others. They have had a lot of success, too. And it isn’t like Apple has never copied anyone.

Apple relies on innovation, so I understand that they don’t like it when someone copies them. But really, tough shit. Just because innovation is important to them shouldn’t mean they get to sue competitors that come up with similar products. Copying is good for consumers - we get more choices and lower prices for similar products. It might not be the best for Apple, but they don’t seem to be hurting all that much.

Tags: Apple Samsung Patents
~ Monday, January 16 ~
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Patent loss is bad for Apple, good for industry

Cult of Android reports Apple is probably losing a patent suit against Motorola.

I like most Apple products, and appreciate their innovation. But tech patents are a plague on the industry. Apple is at the top of their game, but their patent litigation isn’t really helping them at all.  

Tags: Patents Apple Motorola
2 notes
~ Thursday, September 8 ~
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Why be seen as the bully?

Apple continues to try to use the legal system to stop their competitors, this time in Japan. Leaving aside the many issues surrounding patents (software developers hate them, lawyers love them), is this really a wise thing to do in the long run? 

Certainly with tablets, Samsung, and all other competitors for that matter, have had almost zero impact on iPad sales. So I don’t see what Apple really has to gain. But they do have something to lose - goodwill. Apple is ‘cool’ now, and has been for many years. Why put that at risk by acting like a bully?

WIth phones, Samsung and others have had plenty of impact. But is suing competitors really the best way to compete? Are all phones that are a black rectangle with icons really “copies”? Again, I don’t see why Apple wants to create ill will by being the industry bully, especially in an industry where they are already so successful.

Tags: smartphones IOS Android patents Apple
28 notes
~ Sunday, August 21 ~
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austinkleon:

Steve Jobs: Good artists copy great artists steal

Steve Jobs, back in the day:

Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing. I mean Picasso had a saying he said good artists copy great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

Apple press release, 2010:

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Related link: The Love Affair Between Steve Jobs and Pablo Picasso

(Footnote: I’ve never been able to verify that Picasso quote, but I know for a fact that T.S. Eliot said it: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”)

Tags: steve jobs pablo picasso steal like an artist stealing copying patents art apple
43 notes
reblogged via austinkleon
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My Sony Clie PDA, circa 2004, running Palm OS, next to my first generation iPhone. 
The Clie has Wifi, a rear facing camera, a touch sensitive screen.
It has a homescreen full of app icons which you select to open the app. You could buy apps from an online store. It came with a music player, a calendar, a browser, email, a notepad, an address book. It had a popup keyboard for entering text.
Luckily, none of this seems to have been patented. So Apple, and others, could “borrow” some good ideas. Copying software, and hopefully improving on it, is a good thing. Apple borrows, just like everyone else. Suing others for “copying” is lame.

My Sony Clie PDA, circa 2004, running Palm OS, next to my first generation iPhone. 

The Clie has Wifi, a rear facing camera, a touch sensitive screen.

It has a homescreen full of app icons which you select to open the app. You could buy apps from an online store. It came with a music player, a calendar, a browser, email, a notepad, an address book. It had a popup keyboard for entering text.

Luckily, none of this seems to have been patented. So Apple, and others, could “borrow” some good ideas. Copying software, and hopefully improving on it, is a good thing. Apple borrows, just like everyone else. Suing others for “copying” is lame.

Tags: Apple IOS Palm patents software tech
16 notes
~ Thursday, August 4 ~
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Apple Fans

Most of the Apple fan blogs, even the more thoughtful ones like John Gruber, are on a rampage of Google bashing this week. I wonder if many are even attempting to take the “fan” part out of the equation. What if it was Microsoft and Google joining together to make sure Apple couldn’t buy the Nortel patents? Would you view it the same way? What if Google was suing Apple for copying the user interface for notifications in IOS, or MS was suing Apple because they had patented resizing a window using any edge, which has finally appeared in Lion?

The issues with patents are bigger than the players.

Tags: google apple patents
4 notes
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Google needs patents

Much has been written about the apparent fact that Google was offered the opportunity to join in with Microsoft and others to purchase patents from Novell (or was it Nortel?), which supposedly shows that there is no plot to keep any patents away from Google.

But think about this for a moment. Google has way fewer patents than Apple or Microsoft. To protect yourself from being sued, you need as many patents as you can get, in lots of different areas, so you can bargain with whoever is suing you. That is why even Apple, who already has plenty of patents, is buying even more. So what good would it do for Google to join up with MS? Google needs patents that others don’t have, not patents it shares with others. So of course they didn’t join up with MS.

On the other hand, MS gains either way. If they partner up with Google, it keeps Google from using those patents for its own defense. If they win the patents, it gives them more ammo against Google. They only lose if Google gets the patents. So they are happy to partner up with other industry giants to keep the patents out of Googles hands, or to partner up with Google. Either way they win.

By the way, real classy move by Frank Shaw of Microsoft, making public a private email from a Google lawyer.

Tags: google patents
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