Apple: Amateurs Copy, Geniuses Steal
Jane is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
There's the old saying in business: amateurs copy, geniuses steal.
The genius comes from the ability to take what's needed and getting around legal and other hurdles, such as being bad-mouthed in the marketplace for not being as innovative as the competition. Interestingly that seems to be exactly what Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) did with Xerox's (NYSE: XRX) prototype of graphic user interface, developed at PARC. Yet Apple seems to be ignoring that reality with its version of the Smartphone - the iPhone - as it goes up against versions of the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) android.
Instead of figuring out ways to outfox the genius competitors, which use android - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd., Motorola Mobility Inc. (NYSE: MMI), and HTC Corp - Apple has been engaged in patent wars for their alleged infringement on some of the iPhone technology. Recently, Apple did win a round with HTC. But, likely, HTC will simply make the software fix. So will all the others Apple is hunting down to spank before regulatory bodies and in the court of law.
However, the war between the two technologies of the iPhone and android will be won based on marketing including partnerships with retailers and public relations as well as the growing importance of price point. Regarding the latter, Europe is going for the lower-cost android versus pricey iPhone.
Successful companies avoid litiigation, even settling when they might have won in the court of law, because the process is a distraction, expensive, can create negative publicity, and involves risk since no legal experts worth their salt will predict outcomes. Investors don't like added risk.
Question: Will investors factor in Apple's legal strategy when buying and selling? It is trading at about $406.53, with the 52-week pattern between $310.50 and $426.70. Since Apple is in transition after death of Steve Jobs, investors are on high alert for signals of moves that aren't smart. As course correction, Apple might back off the patent war and cut development costs so that it can provide a lower price point on all products. There's a dog fight out there.
I don't own stock in any companies mentioned. For 3 days I trained for a part-time sales position with Wireless Advocates which handles the android, not iPhone, in a partnership with Staples.