What does Apple Own, Is it Magic or Coincidence?
Muhammad is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
A lot of talk has gone on as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and rival phone/refrigerator maker Samsung, battle in court. The two have had an interesting history of litigation which began back in the Spring of 2011. This was the beginning of what the media now dubs the mobile device patent wars, which also includes Apple suing Motorola, which is owned by Google.
The battle is very public, with Apple calling the company out at its own WWDC conference, with Apple’s Siri asking the audience: “But, Siri-ously, I am excited about the new Samsung – not the phone, the refrigerator. Hubba Hubba (rimshot).”
Apple has also battled the Samsung Galaxy tablet head to head touting the new Retina display which has a DPI (Dots per Inch) similar to that of a sheet of printed paper. The new screen gives Apple an edge over the Galaxy Tablet, and the maker of that LCD? Samsung.
Yes, the strange part is that while the two companies are suing each other in more than 50 countries, they are also strong business partners currently. However, Apple may be looking to switch their alliance with LG (NYSE: LG), which supplies the majority of iPhone displays.
The latest round of disputes began last week with the Jury trial in full swing. With the entire flurry around this now high profile case, Apple, the secretive tech giant is starting to open up its doors to the world to win this case.
The company outlined that 16 designers sat round a kitchen room table with multiple designs of what could’ve been the iPhone. Colors included varieties of gray, white, black, and also curved screens and the sort. The project was also called “Project Purple,” and was developed in a building outside the company with a sign titled ‘Fight Club’.
Apple also spent more than a billion dollars advertising the iPhone and iPad. I thought with all the publicity through journalists and local media the company rarely advertised - how wrong I was. And, despite what they would have their customers or competitors think, they watch their rivals intensely. Here is what an industrial engineer had to say:
“Paul, I need your latest summary of our enemies for an ID brainstorm on Friday… If you have any more data beyond this please could you update the chart? I wonder if there’s anything worth noting about the HP/Palm leak.”
It seems kind of odd, if not interesting, that a company so secretive would divulge this much information to win a patent battle. While much of this information has been speculated or written about previously, never has the company gone on record about the internal workings at Apple.
It seems to me there are some similarities to this and the patent dispute between Apple and Microsoft, in which Apple sued Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) for the rights to the Graphical User Interface (GUI), or desktop metaphor that allowed for movable objects and mouse. The end result was that Apple had used the concept from Xerox and could not own the idea.
Back then was different in the sense that perhaps Apple wasn’t in the clear as far as ownership of the GUI. What was clear, the future of computing would require a GUI for every computer from that point forward which brings me back to design and what the next nine iPhones might look or feel like. I personally would enjoy discovering a new input method that could change everything again, but it is possible that what is on the iPhone is what we will have for a very long time.
When thinking about the invention of the book, its creators likely had no idea how long it would last, but I imagine it is at least a few thousand years so far. Will the concepts that Apple is suing for be similar? And if so, does this mean that a company can own those ideas? At least for a few generations.
One thing is clear: that by attempting to own this concept that could define computing for an unperceived amount of time, Apple seems to be willing to throw out its ethics of secrecy to win.
muhammadbazil has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.