HTC and Apple's patent battle could help Windows Phone 7

The patent battle between Android-based mobile phone maker HTC and iPhone maker Apple is getting heated. Last week, HTC was on the losing end with the U.S. International Trade Commission judging that HTC had violated two of Apple's patents. That decision caused a massive drop in HTC's stock price. Apple's victory against HTC could also affect other smartphone makers who use the Android operating system.

If that indeed happens, that may open the door for Microsoft to gain more traction with its Windows Phone 7 operating system. Digitimes reports that some of the Android-based smartphone makers "worry about the risk of becoming embroiled in patent infringement due to adoption of Android."  The report claims that some China-based phone companies are considering several options including developing their own in-house operating systems for their phones.

But yet another option for these companies, according to the report, is that they may decide to more on "enhancement of support to Microsoft Mango operating system." The story adds that two OEMs, Huawei Device and ZTE, have already got plans to make Windows Phone 7 based devices. If true the dispute between HTC and Apple could be a huge benefit for Microsoft as it attempts to get more phone companies to make more phones based on its operating system. As we have reportedly previously, Nokia is making a huge bet on Windows Phone 7 as it attempts to dump its own Sybian operating system in favor of Windows Phone 7. The first Nokia WP7 devices are expected to be released later this fall.

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This article is so totaklly wrong. Did you even see the patents that HTC lost on? They have nothing to do with thr operating system. It is hardware related.

HTC says they already have a work-around for one of them so a fix is in the very near future.

Wow seriously. You guys really believe this BS? Here is the facts:

- The appeals process can take up to 15 months (How did I come up with this number? That's how long it took to decided on it in the first go around.) No decision will be made until sometime LATE next year (at the latest). HTC is still selling and developing until a decision is made.

- No court is going to ban the import or sale of HTC's phones in the United States for infringing two patents. It is simply not going to happen. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to make the situation sound much scarier than it is, or will ever be. Worst case scenario, HTC is forced to kiss and make up with Apple, write a fat check, and sign a royalty agreement.

- HTC isn't stupid - if they take the case on appeal and it becomes clear that the judge isn't sympathetic, they'll settle. Any phone manufactured before the date of the final judgment is considered a past infringement (unless HTC attempts to purposefully "ramp up" production in anticipation of such a ruling - in which case it's a whole different ball game) - all of which can be compensated through monetary damages. Future infringement would be barred by an order enjoining HTC from committing such acts, but there would be no "import ban." It just doesn't happen, not in a case where the merits of the infringement arguments are very clearly at issue.

- Companies license software and technology all the time, a royalty agreement isn't a death knell - it's part of business.

- HTC could be furiously working away at methods to navigate around Apple's patent-minefield.

But if this article makes the Windows Phone 7 community happy, congratulations. You "clearly" have all the advantage right now. /s

Lets see if Windows Phone 7 sales improve on this news.

UndergroundWire said,
Wow seriously. You guys really believe this BS? Here is the facts:

- The appeals process can take up to 15 months (How did I come up with this number? That's how long it took to decided on it in the first go around.) No decision will be made until sometime LATE next year (at the latest). HTC is still selling and developing until a decision is made.

- No court is going to ban the import or sale of HTC's phones in the United States for infringing two patents. It is simply not going to happen. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to make the situation sound much scarier than it is, or will ever be. Worst case scenario, HTC is forced to kiss and make up with Apple, write a fat check, and sign a royalty agreement.

- HTC isn't stupid - if they take the case on appeal and it becomes clear that the judge isn't sympathetic, they'll settle. Any phone manufactured before the date of the final judgment is considered a past infringement (unless HTC attempts to purposefully "ramp up" production in anticipation of such a ruling - in which case it's a whole different ball game) - all of which can be compensated through monetary damages. Future infringement would be barred by an order enjoining HTC from committing such acts, but there would be no "import ban." It just doesn't happen, not in a case where the merits of the infringement arguments are very clearly at issue.

- Companies license software and technology all the time, a royalty agreement isn't a death knell - it's part of business.

- HTC could be furiously working away at methods to navigate around Apple's patent-minefield.

But if this article makes the Windows Phone 7 community happy, congratulations. You "clearly" have all the advantage right now. /s

Lets see if Windows Phone 7 sales improve on this news.

When Microsoft lost against i4i, the court ban selling WORD, so, yes, it can ban selling Android HTCs too.

alexalex said,

When Microsoft lost against i4i, the court ban selling WORD, so, yes, it can ban selling Android HTCs too.

I'm saying it's highly unlikely the ITC will force an import ban. Also, was Microsoft Office REALLY banned? Nope, not even for 1 second was it banned. Microsoft settled. Just like HTC will settle if it looks unfavorable to them (which I mentioned in my original post).

Let me ask you this, when has the ITC actually blocked any manufacturer from importing? Nothing much ever comes from all this. The occasional payout.

Don't take my word for it. Just wait and see what happens. I'll go with my original closing and say, if this article makes the Windows Phone 7 community happy, congratulations. You "clearly" have all the advantage right now. /s

UndergroundWire said,

I'm saying it's highly unlikely the ITC will force an import ban. Also, was Microsoft Office REALLY banned? Nope, not even for 1 second was it banned. Microsoft settled. Just like HTC will settle if it looks unfavorable to them (which I mentioned in my original post).
...

That's not really the point here:

The main point (IMO) is that Android has been scrapped from different sides by Google with very little consideration for code property rights. Current round of lawsuits and settlements (very likely, as you said) is just "testing of waters" really.

OEMs simply cannot know when and if they will get hit next, as Google does not provide litigation protection. So - no matter if HTC settles or not, OEMs are likely to think twice.

They can't even license the right technologies from other parties as it is a bit unknown as to what's in there to begin with?

UndergroundWire said,
...snipped...

Your conclusions are all the result of flawed logic.

1. You can judge the length of time for an appeal based on the time for the decision to be reached that is now being repealed. They aren't correlated! Depending on how the appeals process works (is it made summarily by a panel of judges without hearing arguements? etc.) it can be a lot faster or a lot slower...

2. That isn't how it works. The court doesn't go "well gee bill you know you did win the case against XYZ company, but you can't collect because you didn't win 5000 cases"... If HTC doesn't win on their appeal their imports will be banned. HTC would have to seek a license agreement with Apple to lift the injunction.

3. Settling isn't mandatory. If Apple has the upper hand (meaning they have the best chance of winning) then the settlement is up to them. They can choose to kill HTC and/or Android or they can choose to license HTC and siphon money out of their competitor. There is no legal requirement for them to allow HTC to sell their devices which violate their patents.

This isn't a small fry deal. Either Google will have to pony up the legal fight costs and run around putting out fires everywhere or HTC will have to jump ship. Either way the only one taking this too far in the wrong direction is you. These patent spats will decide the future of Android.

UndergroundWire said,
Wow seriously. You guys really believe this BS?

I think you may be missing the point. HTC may well win in the future but in the meantime OEMs are getting nervous and considering safer alternatives to Android. The cost of a WP7 license from Microsoft is about the same as the license fees that MS is charging for Android but doesn't come with all the legal uncertainty which instantly puts Android at a disadvantage.

ZTE and Huawei have already signed up as WP7 OEMs so it's just a matter of choosing what proportion of their products get which OS. Schmidt's intervention today might make a difference but it's come a little too late and OEMs will probably need a more definitive protection agreement before their concerns are addressed.

He said nothing specific. Other major industry players, like Microsoft, have patent protection agreements in place for everyone building on their stuff. That includes me when I write apps using VS all the way up to Nokia when they ship WP7 devices. Google is saying "well we'll defend HTC now" at a conference means little. Are they going to gover all their partners? If so, how much (full, partial, only on tuesdays) support will they be offering?

Nothing concrete is there yet.

We can keep the fan boy junk out and just look at the facts here.

Frazell Thomas said,

He said nothing specific. Other major industry players, like Microsoft, have patent protection agreements in place for everyone building on their stuff. That includes me when I write apps using VS all the way up to Nokia when they ship WP7 devices. Google is saying "well we'll defend HTC now" at a conference means little. Are they going to gover all their partners? If so, how much (full, partial, only on tuesdays) support will they be offering?

Nothing concrete is there yet.

We can keep the fan boy junk out and just look at the facts here.

If you say so. Time will tell.

Enjoy this article though for helping Windows Phone 7. It gave me a good laugh.

jakem1 said,

I think you may be missing the point. HTC may well win in the future but in the meantime OEMs are getting nervous and considering safer alternatives to Android.

Funny, I see a lot more android devices than Windows Phone 7 devices. Are you sure about this statement? Or is it this fan boy article that you are reading and you believing it. Anyway, This site is becoming more and more of a joke for putting garbage like this on their site.

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but the patents in question would seem to apply equally to most smartphones, including ones running Windows Phone 7. And HTC also makes some WP7 phones as well, so how exactly would this ruling help WP7 gain an advantage?

roadwarrior said,
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but the patents in question would seem to apply equally to most smartphones, including ones running Windows Phone 7. And HTC also makes some WP7 phones as well, so how exactly would this ruling help WP7 gain an advantage?

Microsoft owns patents that on many of the same items that Apple owns and that HTC is "infringing on." MS is in the clear.

roadwarrior said,
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but the patents in question would seem to apply equally to most smartphones, including ones running Windows Phone 7. And HTC also makes some WP7 phones as well, so how exactly would this ruling help WP7 gain an advantage?

Because Microsoft provides its OEM with patent litigation protection.

roadwarrior said,
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but the patents in question would seem to apply equally to most smartphones, including ones running Windows Phone 7. And HTC also makes some WP7 phones as well, so how exactly would this ruling help WP7 gain an advantage?

Microsoft, Google, and Apple have so much money and so many lawyers, they dare not sue each other. They'd be in court for decades.

sviola said,

Because Microsoft provides its OEM with patent litigation protection.


Unlike Google, Microsoft offers patent protection to OEM's that ship their OS. Meaning if they were sued by Apple for infringement, Microsoft would step in and handle it. It's a huge advantage for WP7.

M_Lyons10 said,

Unlike Google, Microsoft offers patent protection to OEM's that ship their OS. Meaning if they were sued by Apple for infringement, Microsoft would step in and handle it. It's a huge advantage for WP7.

These patents have nothing to do with software or the OS, they are hardware specs, so this does fall on HTC mostly, but Google is hiring up patent lawyers so it could be that they are getting ready to sink Apple and Microsoft

roadwarrior said,
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but the patents in question would seem to apply equally to most smartphones, including ones running Windows Phone 7. And HTC also makes some WP7 phones as well, so how exactly would this ruling help WP7 gain an advantage?

Well the patents themselves could target everything, as they are rather vague.

Apple is targeting HTC and Android, not Microsoft. They don't see WP7 as a threat at this point, and they have agreements with Microsoft. If the day comes where WP7 is outselling iPhone as Android is now, look for the agreements to be cast aside and Apple to declare war on Microsoft. Which will be the end of Apple unless the US court system is truly insane.

thenetavenger said,

Well the patents themselves could target everything, as they are rather vague.

Apple is targeting HTC and Android, not Microsoft. They don't see WP7 as a threat at this point, and they have agreements with Microsoft. If the day comes where WP7 is outselling iPhone as Android is now, look for the agreements to be cast aside and Apple to declare war on Microsoft. Which will be the end of Apple unless the US court system is truly insane.

The end of Apple ? compared to Apple Microsoft is homeless. Apple can buy 2 Microsofts.

alexalex said,

The end of Apple ? compared to Apple Microsoft is homeless. Apple can buy 2 Microsofts.

I think you underestimate just how large Microsoft is, especially in the corporate market.

Jokes!

Doubt it, the initial loss to HTC will not last long. Apple's being a bully right now. It won't help WP7 much and in the long run won't hurt HTC either.

presence06 said,
Jokes!

Doubt it, the initial loss to HTC will not last long. Apple's being a bully right now. It won't help WP7 much and in the long run won't hurt HTC either.

+1

Just reading the patents, I think they're far to vague for a court to rule in favour of Apple. If it does it risks creating a monopoly or perhaps even a duopoly in the market.

hynesy said,

Just reading the patents, I think they're far to vague for a court to rule in favour of Apple.

They already did rule in Apple's favor.
If it does it risks creating a monopoly or perhaps even a duopoly in the market.

That is the entire point of a patent, to create a limited monopoly on an invention.

hynesy said,

Just reading the patents, I think they're far to vague for a court to rule in favour of Apple. If it does it risks creating a monopoly or perhaps even a duopoly in the market.

Hardly given that Apple is a long way from a dominating the market and Android is only a phone OS. With WP7 having some of the market as well it's pretty much impossible for the foreseeable.

roadwarrior said,

They already did rule in Apple's favor.

That is the entire point of a patent, to create a limited monopoly on an invention.

This was just a preliminary ruling, still has to go to a "trial" before the ruling is upheld or the two patents get invalidated too, everyone's freaking out over nothing, once the full panel reviews the patents they could be invalidated too, then what will those that sold their stocks are going to say?

roadwarrior said,

They already did rule in Apple's favor.

That is the entire point of a patent, to create a limited monopoly on an invention.

No... The won a preliminary ruling from a US ITC panel, not the courts.

Yes that is the idea of a patent, but Apple is using aspects of the patent in addition to the 'idea' itself. This is what allows them to be vague, and patents are NOT to be vague. Me inventing the idea of a new ball and getting the patent, does not then let me sue everyone that has been making balls for years.

HTC was making PDAs and Smartphones when Apple was being bailed out by Microsoft nearly 14 years ago. Apple thinks they 'own' more than they do, and now that they have the money, they are going to drive the industry into the ground, as they tried to in the 80s and early 90s until they got broke.

I am not a fan of Android for many technical reasons, and I am not a fan of Google, as the accumulation of information is a bit to over the top and could be used to shift politics and markets. (For example see the various Google News and Newspaper lawsuits, that Google loses as the are publishing other people's content, and in response, they remove News organization or Newspaper from ever appearing in a Google Search. This is 'evil'.)

However, Apple isn't right here, nor are their patents credible.

They have thrown an 'Object Oriented Multi-tasking and Object Oriented Operating' system patent, which Android by definition does not have, technically as Android's OS platform is Object Based, nor oriented, and the underpinnings to Androids are not even Object Based, as they are Linux.

And this patent was given to Apple around 1995, several years after Windows NT was designed, and was the first production Object Based/Oriented operating system. The NT kernel is truly Object Based/Oriented, as it uses Objects instead of parameter passing like unix-like OSes do.

The other crazy part of this, is that the concepts of Object Oriented/Based programming and OS technology was NOT something that came out of any Apple work, which is why there is a ton of prior art (free even) of these concepts going back to the creating of the Object Oriented models of programming and process communication and constructs. When Microsoft built Windows NT, many of the OS level Object based principles that NT uses were never put in a general release OS, and it was the big gamble of whether Object priniciples could be fast enough when used throughout and OS and even passing information around the kernel.

Windows is prior Art to have this and several other Apple patents thrown out.

Apple threw over 20 patents at HTC, trying to see what would stick, and only a couple did so far.

They even have a patent for managing battery life on a camera that they threw at HTC, which they obtained in 1999, and several years AFTER digital cameras and even 'non-digital' cameras had been using processor based battery management. Sony and probably others would have similar patents and prior art sitting around.

If Apple is successful in supressing prior art from the cases, as they have been in the past with some preliminary wins, it would be insanity, which is why we get rulings like this.

The ITC panel isn't able to question the patents fully, they can only rule if HTC violates the patents. This is when it goes to the courts.

Windows phone 7 is so nice to use. I wish more people would look past its seemingly ugly tiles and realize its a logical step in touch enabled smart devices. Its fast, simple and has great development tools.

Iridium said,
Windows phone 7 is so nice to use. I wish more people would look past its seemingly ugly tiles and realize its a logical step in touch enabled smart devices. Its fast, simple and has great development tools.

+1

Iridium said,
Windows phone 7 is so nice to use. I wish more people would look past its seemingly ugly tiles and realize its a logical step in touch enabled smart devices. Its fast, simple and has great development tools.

You can say tiles are ugly, I can say icons are ugly. At least tiles are more useful. (not a jab at your post, just an addition.)

Windows Phone 7 is indeed very nice to use!

SPARTdAN said,

You can say tiles are ugly, I can say icons are ugly. At least tiles are more useful. (not a jab at your post, just an addition.)

Windows Phone 7 is indeed very nice to use!


+1

SPARTdAN said,

You can say tiles are ugly, I can say icons are ugly. At least tiles are more useful. (not a jab at your post, just an addition.)

Windows Phone 7 is indeed very nice to use!

actually tiles are not ugly. It is how you want it to be. Seriously, it is just a square or a big ICON that you can actually have dynamic content on it.

To Sum up those who are confuse about this:

TILE = ICON + INFO ON ICON + ANIMATION ON ICON

Therefore, TILE is more than ICON. It is like ICON v 3.0

You want TILE as beautiful ICON in iPhone. Fine, just draw a big version of it and put to the TILE

satus said,

actually tiles are not ugly. It is how you want it to be. Seriously, it is just a square or a big ICON that you can actually have dynamic content on it.

To Sum up those who are confuse about this:

TILE = ICON + INFO ON ICON + ANIMATION ON ICON

Therefore, TILE is more than ICON. It is like ICON v 3.0

You want TILE as beautiful ICON in iPhone. Fine, just draw a big version of it and put to the TILE

The Metro UI scheme is subjective, you either like it or don't. You're both saying the same thing...A tile is more in terms of a widget on Android in that they both can display information (but widgets can do more - interaction with the program). I just wish live tiles in WP7 were used more. In its current state, they're pretty useless. Also, I wish we could have customizable sizes for tiles, and I've seen some concepts floating around.

Iridium said,
Windows phone 7 is so nice to use. I wish more people would look past its seemingly ugly tiles and realize its a logical step in touch enabled smart devices. Its fast, simple and has great development tools.

Sometimes people have a hard time getting past old concepts like an inefficient icon based UI that was pioneered by Palm and later adopted by Apple for the iPhone and then copied by Google.

I love the tile based UI, I just want Microsoft to support higher resolution screens to really make the UI pop.

tsupersonic said,
The Metro UI scheme is subjective, you either like it or don't. You're both saying the same thing...A tile is more in terms of a widget on Android in that they both can display information (but widgets can do more - interaction with the program). I just wish live tiles in WP7 were used more. In its current state, they're pretty useless. Also, I wish we could have customizable sizes for tiles, and I've seen some concepts floating around.
+1
The tile concept is innovative but it only looks good if most of the apps use it's functionality. If most of the apps are using the tiles as dumb icons, then I'd much rather have Android's icon/widget system. In fact, I don't think there's anything tiles can do that widgets can't.