Apple Could Knock The World’s Biggest Android Maker Out Of The U.S. Tomorrow

Apple Could Knock The World’s Biggest Android Maker Out Of The U.S. Tomorrow

Photo by pj_vanf - http://flic.kr/p/akd5eE

HTC, the world’s largest maker of Android phones, is in all likelihood furiously rubbing rabbit’s feet and sweating buckets in the face of a potential trade ruling Tuesday that could slam the door on U.S. sales of all handsets using the Google mobile operating system. Experts already predict Android is in “serious trouble.”

The Washington, DC-based U.S. Trade Commission Tuesday rules on HTC’s appeal of a July decision that the company’s Android phones violated two Apple patents. The two patents allow smartphones to display and transmit basic data, such as phone numbers, contact information and applications. As such, a ruling against HTC could outright ban sales during the most lucrative holiday period, slashing Android’s U.S. marketshare from 25 percent to nothing.

Because the six-member panel cannot force HTC to pay damages, denying the company’s appeal would put Apple in the cat-bird seat. The iPhone maker could squeeze every dime from HTC for licensing or sue. Perhaps recognizing the bind HTC is in, Asian traders Monday pushed the handset maker’s stock to the lowest point in more than 17 months.

However, the impact of an HTC loss could be felt by all Android manufacturers. “It’s hard to see how any Android device could not infringe, or how companies could work around them,” patent expert Florian Mueller said back in July, after HTC’s original patent loss.

Tuesday could be an early Christmas for Apple, leaving HTC, Android and Google with nothing but coal in their stockings.

  • aidan taylor

    Think of the effect on the american economy? How stupid are you guys?

  • Fernando Teixeira

    OMG THERMONUCLEAR HAS BEGUN

  • Kayneeezy

    Hahahaha!!!! Thermonuclear baby!!! 

  • Kayneeezy

    people will just move to the next android device.. or get an iPhone.. 

  • volodoscope

    Umm, that would not affect the economy at all. HTC is a foreign company, while Apple is American company. It will affect Asian mobile economy though.

  • Guest

    Suck it HTC!:D

  • Ed_Kel

    You are, sir, a prime candidate for Economics 101. Even if HTC was an American company, the exit of the company would have no impact whatsoever. In order for your hypothesis to be correct, one would also have to assume that an equal share of consumers to their market share would no longer purchase a smartphone.

  • cassandralite

    Hey, remember that 1984 commercial–Apple v fascism?  Meet the new boss.  Same as…

  • David S Foreman

    Actually the new boss is pretty cool.  

  • Absolute

    People cheering Apple’s bullying are outright pathetic.

    This isn’t Samsung with its outright copying of Apple products…these are two vague patents that shouldn’t be enforceable in this modern day and age period, especially against a company that goes out of its way to look nothing like iOS and iPhones/iPads.

    You lot do not want Apple to simply make good products, you want a future where the only worthwhile tech products are tied into Apple’s ecosystem and Apple’s ecosystem only and if you aren’t part of it you miss out on the future.

    Fuck competition, am I right?

  • Absolute

    People cheering Apple’s bullying are outright pathetic.

    This isn’t Samsung with its outright copying of Apple products…these are two vague patents that shouldn’t be enforceable in this modern day and age period, especially against a company that goes out of its way to look nothing like iOS and iPhones/iPads.

    You lot do not want Apple to simply make good products, you want a future where the only worthwhile tech products are tied into Apple’s ecosystem and Apple’s ecosystem only and if you aren’t part of it you miss out on the future.

    Fuck competition, am I right?

  • aardman

    Apparently, not as stupid as you?

  • Absolute

    Yea…for now.

    As long as you want to be part of their ecosystem.

    And use only their products

    And agree only to their rules

    And do not wish to switch to a different platform in the future.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    The Apple future is a dictatorship. Beautiful as it may be.

  • cassandralite

    Typical.  Yeah, the new boss is really cool unless you don’t work for the new boss or prefer something else–exactly the way Steve was going after IBM 30 years ago.  Power corrupts.  Absolutely.

  • ericthehalfbee

    Vague is whose opinion? I’ve read them and they don’t appear vague to me at all.

    Apple isn’t going to take over the smartphone world as the doomsayers suggest. Android will continue on – Google will just have to remove areas they infringe or pay licensing fees, that’s all. They’ve already started doing that with ICS and Android users can’t wait to get ICS on their phones.

    Sorry, but people who suggest that all the Apple “fans” want is for everyone to use Apple and for all other competitors to disappear are, well, idiots. There’s really no polite way to put it.

  • Justin Gilbert

    For anyone thinking that Android isn’t a rip off of the iPhone look at smartphones before and after the iPhone.  I loved my android phone, but its a blatant rip off of Apple ideas.  

    I’ve also loved the one, “there’s only so many ways to make a smart phone.” This just isn’t true.  Microsoft has a very innovative mobile OS out right now and it didn’t rip off the general look and feel of Apple’s.  its actually pretty refreshing.  Google and makers of devices utilizing the Android OS deserve to be sued, be forced to pay licensing fees, and hopefully learn to bring something new to the table.

  • snookasnoo

    So silly and uninformed.  Google and the others do the same thing.  Ask the companies who use Android without licensing from Google how much they enjoyed being sued by Google for using supposedly open OS.
    Its really obvious to anyone paying attention that Google committed massive IP theft with Android.  The Dalvik JVM they copied from Sun/Oracle is next.

  • snookasnoo

    Right…its just the same…

  • snookasnoo

    Translation…you know nothing about Apple or their products.

  • snookasnoo

    Or Google could remove all the IP they infringed on from Apple and Sun/Oracle.  But then they wouldn’t have a product.

  • cassandralite

    Really?  So being a mainstream reporter sent to cover the Apple annual meeting, 1/24/84, at which the Mac was introduced–and to interview Steve; and buying a Mac that day (for $2500, even though it did nothing); and using Apple computer products exclusively since that day…means I know nothing.  It’s a really ironic accusation from a guy whose moniker is “idon’t Know”. 

  • Absolute

    I’m uninformed? Everything about your posting is incorrect.

    Google has yet to sue a single person for using Android without their permission (being that you don’t need permission)

    The parts of Android that require licensing are the Google apps which are not open sourced.

    Also Google isn’t being sued for copying Dalvik VM…they are being sued because their version of JavaVM (Dalvik is Google’s btw) may or may not contain code required to function that now belongs to Oracle….after Sun was okay with them using Java and was even happy about it as per a message from the Sun CEO.

    Oracle then bought Sun, and looking to make some money decided to sue Google for Android.

    Also the case isn’t over…funny how you already made up your mind.

    learn the damn case then try to be a smart ass.

  • Absolute

    You know…for centuries before Apple decided to brainwash people the phrase was “inspired by”

    Now it’s always copy…copy this copy that, etc etc…or in your case rip-off.

    You cannot patent an idea for a reason…everyone is inspired by everyone and Apple is no different…hence their brand spanking new notification system. Inspired by Android.

    Android 1.0 does not look like iOS…Android 1.0-4.0 look nothing like iOS…but you can definitely sense inspiration. As being a not dumb as rocks company Google realized after Apple changed the game in the smartphone arena that the version of Android they had simply did not cut it anymore. Against BB and WM? sure…Against iOS? no way.

    Also since you’re so keen on calling it a rip off of iOS…can I get a bullet point list of what is ripped off that Apple actually has exclusive rights to?

  • Absolute

    auto-hyperlinking…

  • Absolute

    Hey tell me why Apple isn’t against SOPA?

  • cassandralite

    Hey, you just made my case.  I assume that, out of ignorance, you have no idea what SOPA is really about.  It’s a giant grab by the Hollywood studios, and it essentially amounts to internship censorship.  Apple’s not being against fits perfectly with the point I made.  You better do a little more homework.

  • cassandralite

    Sorry, I thought you were replying to me instead of Idon’t Know.  You were actually agreeing with me, right?

  • Absolute

    lol, yea I’m agreeing with you.

  • Fjord Prefect

    Well said. I never liked Microsoft much, but I applaud their work on the new Windows phone OS. For the first time, M$ thought outside of the box, something everyone else seems reluctant to do. Samsung recently claimed that the similarity between their devices and Apple’s stems from the fact that there is only one way to devise a touch-screen OS. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy if I’ve ever heard one.

  • STRIPBLUNTS

    Not a good year for HTC! I swear it was only a year ago, they were shouting at the top of their lungs, how well they were doing & how they’d be on top, in NO TIME! Reality just smacked them upside the head!

  • Andrew John

    No, you can patent ideas if they’re used in some way. It’s wether or not they get approved that is the decreeing point. Most of the patent trolls use concepts of technology to force companies to pay licensing fees for things like how you input text inside a browser search window. If these patents are enforceable, then so are all the patents Samsung rip off without paying licensing fees. It is black and white.

    Now why someone like you comes to an Apple forums to clearly flame/troll proves how pathetic your life is. Not content enough to hate Apple for being the opposition, you then troll Apple forums to peddle your juvenile bile. That proves one more thing. How insecure you are with your life. If you feel so strongly against Apple, then walk into an Apple store and take your argument there instead of hiding behind a keyboard as all hit and run cowards do.

  • Fjord Prefect

    1) Apple patented the technology of recognizing phone numbers and turning them into clickable links. Android copied this.
    2) Slide-to-unlock. Apple owns this.
    3) The multi-touch gestures for swiping and pinching were invented by Apple.

    I could go on, but basically, Apple did the research and then Google came in and tweaked their phone OS to work the same way. Is that fair?

  • Fjord Prefect

    Not really. Creating true competition with new ideas is what Microsoft is doing with their phone OS. Copying instead of innovating is what Google is doing with theirs.

  • rohitkapur

    I love my iPhone 4S and have used the iPhone for a while, but this is seriously going to decrease competition in the U.S.
    I have friends who really like their android phones because of the ability to customize the home screen and would probably never switch to iOS or Windows Phone.

  • Absolute

    everyone infringes the first patent.

    slide to unlock, Apple owns a rather specific implementation of this

    And no…they were not.

    ______________

    but he said that Android in it’s inception (to market) was a direct rip-off of iOS…none of those existed at that time (except maybe the auto-hyperlinking which everything infringes)

  • Absolute

    I don’t hate Apple…you invented that definition of me yourself.

  • cassandralite

    Next time I’ll put on my glasses.

  • LukealiciousX

    Oh that is true. Good point. But I’m also happy for Apple, they’re making so much progress and growing! I want my first phone to be an iPhone, but I might wait until that new one is released in 2012 if it is, and then wait a while more.

  • heeloliver

    Um we still would have Motorola, the maker of the Droid. (well, most of them). Those are still pretty big. I like my Droid X a lot!

  • Nick Smith

    “The two patents allow smartphones to display and transmit basic data”Sounds incredibly vague to me.  I’m not going to lie and say I know exactly what these patents are and how much of the “copying” is stuff that any smartphone would need, but it seems like this is just an attack against a competing market based on very shaky ground. 

  • heeloliver

    oh hai nick

  • androidgenus

    Hang on. I had this on my windows mobile 6 device…

  • JLNHS

    prior art c. 1994: 
    http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc

  • Mitchell Noel

    1) Symbian, Windows and Blackberry phones have been able to do this for years prior to the iPhone. There are also a few early 80’s PC software packages that were able to do this while Apple was still wet behind the ears.

    2)Apple’s “Slide To Unlock” ownership refers to dragging an object along a specific track to a defined destination. They were the ones to make this patent so specific. Android unlock screens do not have specific tracks or specific destinations, and therefore, do not infringe on this patent.

    3) Why don’t you do some research on Jeff Han before spreading false information? Apple did not invent multi-touch screens, nor did they invent pinch to zoom or any of the initial multi-touch gestures used in the first iPhone. They also certainly can not patent a “swipe” motion, which is a common touch screen gesture used since the beginning of touch screens, and would be considered too obvious to be an original idea.

    I do wish you would go on, because it’s fun for me to refute every single claim you make about Apple inventing new technology. There’s a difference between inventing, and innovating, most important of which is that you can’t claim ownership of a technology if all you did was modify someone else’s work. If Apple were to defend any of the technology that they created for the iPhone, nobody would be making a big deal about it. However, in this case, they’re using patents with vague descriptive language to defend their ownership of a technology that was created and used by another company decades prior to Apple’s implementation of it in the iPhone.

    The technology that Apple is claiming to be invented by them was used more than 25 years prior to the first iPhone. Ignoring that, you’ve still got 3 phone OSs using the same technology for at least a year prior to the first iPhone being released. The point is, Apple didn’t invent this, and they have no ownership rights to it, despite the fact that the clusterfuck we call the Patent Office issued them a patent for it.

  • Mitchell Noel

    Progress is not made in the courtroom, it’s made in the labs and testing facilities.
    Progress is being ahead of the competition, not removing the competition.
    Growth is not claiming Android stole from iOS while, at the same time, touting the all “new” notification system that they obviously stole from Android. It’s like something I read a few months ago, “If you want to see what the next version of iOS will have, look at last year’s Android release”.

    The truth is, Apple hasn’t invented anything new to add to the iPhone in quite some time. They’ve only been buying up other companies that have already done the work for new features, flat out copying features from competition, or buying patents from other companies to attack its competition. That, to me, is not the actions of a growing company, but rather those of a company that’s floundering.

    Also, with regards to mobile sales, Apple is losing ground every day to Android, and their growth can more easily be explained by the growth of the smartphone industry as a whole, and not by attracting customers away from competition.

  • Charlton Nguyen

    androids marketshare is closer to 45%. http://phandroid.com/2011/11/0

  • I7h4zard

    Apple is a patent troll now. It fears Android. HTC has the right to make its phones. I anything, Apple’s been copying patents for years.

  • I7h4zard

    These comments are filled with brilliance, and utter failure. If you say that Android copied iOS, iOS copied Windows Mobile, Symbian, and many other mobile OSes that preceded it. If you hold an Android phone in your hand and an iPhone in the other (say, the HTC Vivid/EVO 3D/SGSII), you will notice a pretty significant difference. Then again, this is Cult of Mac. Emphasis on Cult. If you think Apple is completely original, then you have never known the tech world prior to Apple. Many of these patents being sued over are now crucial to cell phones, such as multitouch (Apple did NOT patent this first) and OS functions. 

    If anything, Motorola can sue. They own the patent to the actual cell phone. 

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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