Apple vs Android – Patent Wars or Data Mining Gold Rush?
In war, there are no winners.
Apple has called for a patent jihad on all Android devices. If Android devices were twin towers, Apple would gleefully fly a couple of 767s into them. After a victory against Samsung in Germany, recent claims against Motorola and a 2010 suit against HTC and now with HTC going on the offense, Apple is going to find itself tied up in legal suits against many of the leading developers of Android devices.
…electronics patents are virtually impossible to protect because they can be circumvented by very minor changes in design.
In a conversation with a former Motorola employee, a consultant currently working with Small Business Development Centers to educate the public on the subject of patents, copyrights and trademarks , I was told that [electronics patents are virtually impossible to protect because they can be circumvented by very minor changes in design].
This seems to be reflected by the diversity of products and competitors across the spectrum of the electronics industry. All except for mobile devices whose producers are attempting to cannibalize each other until one is left standing.
When looking at the devices alone, this seems like such a desperate effort. Why, when other types of electronics companies, PC companies for example, seem to accept that there is competition and find ways of surviving, are these companies having a total spaz of mobile device patents?
Let’s look at the companies behind the devices.
Where does the real power behind Android devices come from; the common thread that gives them any sort of real competition against the iPhone? Google’s Android OS. It would seem like strange timing for Google to want to acquire Motorola, what with the pending legal battle. Unless you consider that Google has been on a long quest to be the trusted corporate bank of all forms of personal information and communication. They have invested tremendous time and effort into becoming the gate keeper to the information that is your life. Google’s business is to know as much as possible about you. They don’t survive as a business by offering you free services and they don’t provide these services for the fun of it. Advertisers keep Google in business because Google has all the information they want. Information about you.
Now here comes Apple, a company that has more cash than the US government. A company that has already mined so much data from your mobile devices that it literally doesn’t know what to do with it, seeking to put Google’s most efficient form of data mining out of business, if at all possible.
Is Apple really concerned that it will not be able to survive against the competition? Do they genuinely expect rulings in their favor when the history of electronics patents doesn’t seem to favor their claims at all? It seems like a foolish thing to even attempt, unless they are desperately trying to secure a role as a data mining company by any means available.
It is not Apple the hardware company against any individual hardware company. It is the iOS data mining system against all Android data mining systems. These patent wars are being presented as hardware patent disputes, yet even their claims of infringement appear to point to similarities in software design (see the iPhinger claim).
Given that this is a battle between two entities, it really doesn’t matter which one ultimately wins. Either way, we are facing a future where one company controls access to information about all of us as well as our communication with each other.
When our communication and our very identities are owned by a single corporation, it may very well be the deathbed of free society.
There are no winners in war.