evil apple

Apple has a long history of being ironic, and not in the positive sense of the word. Their latest bout of ironic shenanigans: accusing Samsung and Motorola of being "anticompetitive." Frankly, this is such an outrageous accusation that I just don't know where to start with it.

  1. First off, a little history: as Daily Tech points out, Steve Jobs famously said "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." What changed? Well... I don't like to get into the politics of Android vs. Apple, as I think Apple truly makes some great products, and have occasionally recommended them over alternate products. But in my mind, they're simply switching tactics as a company: they're out of ideas, and are replacing innovation with litigation.
  2. The original Macintosh wasn't the only time the company "borrowed" a great idea. A few years ago, Gizmodo pointed out some similarities between Braun products of the 1960's and  Apple products of the 2000's. That's not a coincidence, either; Apple's Senior VP of Industrial Design, Jonathan Ive, has been influenced by Braun's (now former) Chief of Design, Dieter Rams. The pictured designs from both companies fall under both designers. [via]
  3. The "anticompetitive" complaints in question by Apple are in reference to a countersuit by Samsung. You know what a countersuit is? It's when somebody sues you, so you sue back. In other words, Apple sued first, and Samsung shot back. Since this entire situation is juvenile, I'll stick to a juvenile metaphor: it's a lot like trying to hit somebody in dodge ball, then complaining when they try to hit you back.
  4. While we're talking about how ridiculous the entire patent lawsuit situation is... well, seriously, just look at this. It speaks for itself:
    The entire patent system is utterly FUBAR, and stifles innovation more than it protects it. But hey, that's a story for another day. The point is this: Apple started the game of dodge ball by single-handedly taking the first shot at damn near everyone on the other team - and anyone they missed on the first set of shots, they came back for later.

    In no particular order: Motorola sued Apple, so Apple countersued. Then just sued. Apple sued HTC, and HTC countersued. Apple sued Samsung over the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab looking similar to the iPhone and iPad, and won a few initial injunctions. Samsung countersued. The company has also recently sued Amazon and threatened to do the same to GetJar. At this point, if your head doesn't hurt and you don't hate patent systems with a burning passion, you can search ArsTechnica for "Apple sues." You'll have enough reading material to last you a few days.

  5. If you ask me, if you're suing the pants off of everyone who does anything remotely resembling your stupidly-broad patent (more on that next), you're being pretty damn anticompetitive. You know what's even more anticompetitive? Photoshoping the images you use in the suit (bonus: one more). Admittedly, the German judge did actually physically examine the devices, so we can't really say the images were the sole factor in his decision. The point stands, though.

  6. Ok, so I'm not done bitching about how screwed up the patent system is. You know what Apple's patent of the iPad is for, according to Samsung's court filing?

    ...an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface... and a thin form factor.

    What in the actual fork.

Sure, the situation is way complicated, and there are a ton of legal complications to consider here. There are so many patent suits flying every which way that it's hard to keep up with who's suing who, let alone figure out the basic legality behind each case. But be that as it may, you have to admit: there's a lot of irony, and it's being driven by some seriously questionable ethics.

[Source: FOSS Patents via Daily Tech. Image credit: Reuters, The Chunkersons. Thanks to Dr. Macinyasha for the jab in the ribs.]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Darkseider

    This is why I will NEVER own or buy anything from Microsoft or Apple. I have been using *nix for over 20 years and Android now fits in nicely.

  • Andrew

    Are they planning on suing every tv manufacturer? Don't TV's also have "...an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface... and a thin form factor."

    • Flashfox

      These lawsuits are crazy. They went from protecting the creator of novel ideas to becoming a joke. One can only wonder how some of these very broad patents are even allowed to exist?

    • Zomby2D

      That description can apply to a lot of digital photo frames too.

      • http://allonewordt.com Felix

        Leave out the display part then you get table tops, steering wheels, or anything that has been drawn with a rectangle. It's ridiculous! What about the tablets BEFORE the iPAd?

  • Michael

    Seems like that diagram has a lot of growth left before the full star config is complete.

  • Quryous

    I've GOT to have a copy of that lead in picture, with the teeth. Anyone know where I can get a larger copy for my PC Wallpaper?

  • Dward

    That patent in point 6 is representative of a standard picture frame, or a newspaper :-)

  • Michel DAggelinckx

    when this patent war ends the diagram will probably show the internal structure of a 256 bit microprocessor.
    hmmm, maybe i should take a paten on this. :)

    • Asphyx

      Will that require the chart to be built using the 28nm proccess?

  • http://tweakmydevice.com Ryan Murdock

    I'm actually quite pleased w Moto and my experience so far w this Droid X. First Moto device I've owned and I plan to buy a couple Bionics in a week. Before Goog purchased Moto I had written off owning any more of their devices but now hopefully G will direct M to be more dev friendly.

    Yes, Apple blows. I also have an iPhone 4 and dislike it very much. Apple has always produced nice hardware (as we all have learned they just stole product ideas) but their software experience is lacking. The hot "new" features of iOS 5 improve on the user experience but come on Apple....my Windows Mobile phone did most all that 10 years ago!

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    Patents!!!! Patents!!!! Take your patents on which you can be sued by apple!!! Take such patents here :D

  • L boogie

    The makers of iSue and the purveyors of good artists copy, great artists steal is crying foul about other firms being anti-competitive, funniest thing I've heard so far. I guess Apple was playing fair seeking a continent-wide injunction of a company's product line, manipulating Court documents to seek said injunction, initiating legal assaults against those who was deemed a threat to your success etc. Hmmm, I guess I've been looking at Apple all wrong, BS.

  • Perry Ahern

    Dear Samsung: We've used our patents to block the sale of your products in multiple markets, now please stop using your patents to be so anticompetitive! Love, FruitCo

  • Andres

    What about Moses and his tablets? Go get him apple! That would be historical!

    • fp

      Hysterical, more likely.

  • Chris

    Apple's strong point is more than design. It's the ability to peddle their designs to the unsuspecting masses who aren't smart enough or old enough to know that there are devices just as good out there, the only difference being that they're not advertised by a bald man in a black turtleneck and are 30-40% cheaper.

  • SharlzG

    Wise words Chris.

  • SparklingCyaNide

    well isn't Apple just a bunch of hypocrites! *spoiler*I've known all along...