Posts tagged ‘apple’

August 20, 2011

Tech Wars: The Battle for Smartphone OS Dominance

By Matt Fleischauer, The Auri Group

It was recently decided that the new team members here at The Auri Group would each contribute to the Auri Group Blog.  Being the newest and least experienced person on the team, Naturally, I was chosen to be the first person to contribute.  I gratefully accepted the challenge with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye. Fear sets in. What am I going to write about? I know! Google just announced that it is buying Motorola Mobility. I can write about that! Relief, a topic has been chosen.

Cool. I recently installed the Eclipse IDE, the ADT plug-in and created my first “Hello World” Android App.  I’m excited about learning to develop Android apps with all the possibilities that this open source OS has to offer. This acquisition of Motorola Mobility will be good for Android for sure, right? It’s already a wildly popular OS and with their own handset company they’ll be better able to compete against the likes of Windows Mobile and iOS, right? I decided that I had better learn a bit more about this so I hit the Web.

Woa! Ok, there’s a lot of discussion on this. Google is buying Motorola Mobility for 12.5 billion dollars. Cool. That’s a lot of money! But wait, what’s all this discussion about patent infringement lawsuits filed against Google? Ok, so Google may have been remiss in acquiring patents for its new technology. Hmm. Google puts in a bid at an auction to purchase Nortel patents. That’s interesting. Hold the phone. Microsoft and Apple are teaming up, together, as in working together? They are teaming up along with other companies to outbid Google on these Nortel patents?  Wow, they really don’t want Google to get these patents! Ok, proprietary vendors win that one. Hmm. I wonder if that is why Google is buying Motorola Mobility. I bet they have a lot of patents. Ok, yep, they do have a lot of patents. Well, that will probably help with the patent issues. I’m confused though. If Google can afford to buy Motorola Mobility for 12.5 billion dollars then why were they out bid for the Nortel patents for 4.5 billion? They could have outbid them, right? I don’t get it.

Wait a minute! What will the Android handset manufacturers think about this move to buy Motorola? What a can of worms. Hmm, it appears that they are OK with it. What? Now there is speculation that Microsoft could buy Nokia? Now that’s what I call keeping up with the Jones’s. This could get interesting.

The more I learn about this the more my head hurts. Companies file patent lawsuits.  Companies buy patents from other companies or buy companies with patents in defense of patent lawsuits. It seems that these companies should spend more time in innovation and less time in litigation. Oh, maybe it’s not all their fault. The patent system in the United States is being questioned by some as broken and creating favorable conditions for frivolous patent lawsuits. It sounds like there are a lot of lawyers making serious money with all this patent litigation going on. I should have been a lawyer. No, I couldn’t do that. I would hate it.

The pending purchase of Motorola Mobility by Google is like anything else in life, the details and reasons for things are often far more complicated than you first realize. The consequences of our actions can be equally complicated and difficult to predict. The technology business, smart phone OS and device development in this case, employ heavily the use of patent litigation offensively to stifle advancement and innovation by their competition. Of course, companies have every right to protect their proprietary IP. However, it appears that the patent system is being exploited beyond its original intent. The way the patent law in the US allows for the patent of an idea rather than the implementation of that idea seems to be a major enabler of this type of behavior by companies.

It remains to be seen who will prevail in this Battle for Smartphone OS dominance. This move could help Google increase the rate of Android adoption in the market or it could backfire. Many factors will need to play out before the dust settles.