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Apple Wants Patents For Crippling Cellphones

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the say-it-ain't-so-steve dept.

Cellphones 371

theodp writes "Evil is in the eye of the beholder, but there's certainly not much to like in the newly-disclosed Apple patent applications for Systems and Methods for Provisioning Computing Devices. Provisioning, says Apple, allows carriers to 'specify access limitations to certain device resources which may otherwise be available to users of the device.' So what problem are we trying to solve here? 'Mobile devices often have capabilities that the carriers do not want utilized on their networks,' explains Apple. 'Various applications on these devices may also need to be restricted.'"

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371 comments

Confirmed (5, Funny)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615615)

This can only mean the iPhone is coming to Verizon!

Re:Confirmed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615757)

My first thought!!!

Re:Confirmed (5, Funny)

ThisIsForReal (897233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615765)

I can picture a scene of pure evil, years from now, when Apple begins suing cell phone makers once their patent has been granted.

"Your cell phone sucks. It doesn't use all of its potential, so you are infringing on our patent and you owe us money."

Re:Confirmed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615817)

Talk about prior art...

In Gulag U.S.A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615859)

Cellphones cripple APPLE!

Yours In Ashgabat,
K. Trout

Re: turn-by-turn directions? (1)

zaaj (678276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616059)

My first thought too - My blackberry has a GPS reciever in it, but the feature is turned off by Verizon because they want to charge a monthly premium for their navigation service, which is unnecessary with GPS enabled and software installed on the handset itself. Irritatingly, it disables the GPS for other applications (GPS Trace logging for OpenStreetMap anyone?) and I don't need the navigation service enough to want to pay every month for it.

Why the patent, I couldn't guess, unless it is as others here are saying - patent it so you can sue carriers who want to implement the system to prevent them from crippling the iPhone.

Re:Confirmed (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616167)

Funny - I've never felt any great need to own an iPhone. But, now that I know Apple is capable of crippling and/or killing an iPhone, I feel this urge to run out and get one. Now, I know that if my iPhone tries to suck my brains out, Apple can prevent it. /sarcasm

Queue Verizon talk in... (1)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615641)

Oh wow, that was quick.

Re:Queue Verizon talk in... (0)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615923)

BTW, you meant "cue".

Re:Queue Verizon talk in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616079)

What if he was asking the Verizon talk to line up? Hmm? Nah, you are right.

That is hardly news (5, Funny)

warp_kez (711090) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615645)

When most phones, including the iPhone, come into contact with anything Apple, they become crippled.

At least we can officially call it: The Apple Effect.

Re:That is hardly news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615693)

"Interesting"?

Re:That is hardly news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616265)

What you mean is, by comparison, other cell phones seem crippled when compared to iPhone.

"defectivebydesign" (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615659)

This tag has never been more appropriate...

Actually I like that pretty much ! (1)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616089)

If iPhones are "defectivebydesign", that means that for people with other devices (say, Nokia N900 for example) without such defects, accessing the network will be a breeze.

Thanks Apple !

Not defective by design (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615669)

This story is tagged "defectivebydesign", but what Apple wants to do is anything but.

Operators have a hard limit on the amount of service they can actually provision. Allowing any and all devices to run willy nilly on the network would be certain death, even for the best-laid network. By throttling certain services, turning off certain capabilities, and allowing remote provisioning management, Apple is making sure that the device they are providing to users will work and continue to work on the network.

This is a very important feature not only for the NOs, but also for businesses who would provide these phones to their field teams. Though, to be honest, restriction of features doesn't seem very patentable, at least there are other implementations that already exist. WinMo has had this since WM6.1, for example.

Re:Not defective by design (4, Insightful)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615713)

restriction of features doesn't seem very patentable

Haven't been around the patent office lately, have you?

Re:Not defective by design (4, Insightful)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615743)

Operators have a hard limit on the amount of service they can actually provision. Allowing any and all devices to run willy nilly on the network would be certain death, even for the best-laid network.

Or alternatively, why not use an appropriate charging structure, so that it becomes prohibitively expensive for the end user to consume excessive resources? And use the extra revenue earned from those users who are willing to pay for large consumption to increase the capacity.

Re:Not defective by design (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615795)

That's one option, but there is still the risk of a rogue app (perhaps a virus) getting installed and bogging down a local cell before the user is hit with the excess charges. Worse if it is a popular app.

Re:Not defective by design (4, Insightful)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616395)

This reasoning just doesn't hold. Some netbooks already have 3G chips, I bet that will be a standard feature in all mobile computers in the near future. The result of this is that the network operators cannot control the clients.

It should be blindingly obvious to anyone that the network has to cope with rogue devices. Assuming that wireless clients are all well-behaved is a phenomenally stupid idea.

The "we're only protecting the user from excess charges" idea might hold water if the same companies weren't happy to send you insane roaming charges...

Re:Not defective by design (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616425)

That wouldn't be a problem if they gave people what they REALLY want, a warning that they are about to incur excessive charges! They carefully avoid letting people know about that before it's too late and then act mystified when people complain about 5 figure phone bills.

Besides, I thought the whole point of the App Store dane brammage was to make sure iPhone users never end up with a rogue app.

Re:Not defective by design (1)

No Grand Plan (975972) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615805)

Or alternatively, why not use an appropriate charging structure, so that it becomes prohibitively expensive for the end user to consume excessive resources? And use the extra revenue earned from those users who are willing to pay for large consumption to increase the capacity.

Now that's a good business idea.

Re:Not defective by design (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616037)

The the slashdot groupthink would complain that they are reaping huge profits and overcharging customers for service that is sub-par. Hypocrisy runs rampant on /.

Wait, I've seen this before (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616125)

Isn't that what slashdot has been ripping into the cable ISPs for? Throttling certain services, and charging for "excessive" use (bandwidth caps)? AT&T and Verizon are always bragging about their networks ... why don't we make them live up to the hype?

Oh, yeah, because it's hype ...

Re:Not defective by design (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616221)

The carriers would need to implement it pay as you go or there would be millions of people with 4 figure bills at the end of the month saying "WTF - I just downloaded this app for $0.99 and a month later I've got a $2,500 bill? FU carrier - see me in class action court!"

Re:Not defective by design (5, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615823)

This story is tagged "defectivebydesign", but what Apple wants to do is anything but.

Operators have a hard limit on the amount of service they can actually provision. Allowing any and all devices to run willy nilly on the network would be certain death, even for the best-laid network. By throttling certain services, turning off certain capabilities, and allowing remote provisioning management, Apple is making sure that the device they are providing to users will work and continue to work on the network.

This is a very important feature not only for the NOs, but also for businesses who would provide these phones to their field teams. Though, to be honest, restriction of features doesn't seem very patentable, at least there are other implementations that already exist. WinMo has had this since WM6.1, for example.

You don't seem to understand the flawed business model that communications providers have been running with since the beginning. They never had enough capacity for their customers. They could, but they need to pay their CEO's $20M bonuses instead of grow their infrastructure. So as it stands today, there just isn't enough network for us, which is why when there are city/county/state-wide emergencies many calls do not go through.

The only analogy I've been able to come up with that paints a good picture about why it's such a flawed model is what I call the Coca-Cola Principle. If Coca-Cola was suddenly able to reclaim the soda in the can I just purchased before it hit my lips, they could in effect resell my can of Coke before I could even drink it. This is exactly what every single communications provider has done. Comcast (unfortunately my home ISP) is perhaps one of the worst offenders of this. Having resold the bandwidth I paid for multiple hundreds of times. Eventually instead of providing me with what I have been paying for (unlimited broadband, as in no bandwidth cap), they reneged on their deal and put in a hard cap of 250gb/mo.

You sound a lot like a corporatist to me. Oh noes those poor Network Operators need to cripple us to continue to be able to oversell their product/service. Well, what I say is, shitcan the CEOs taking these ridiculous sums of money and grow your infrastructure to meet YOUR promises as well as the economic DEMAND.

Re:Not defective by design (2, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615867)

You don't seem to understand the flawed business model that communications providers have been running with since the beginning. They never had enough capacity for their customers. They could, but they need to pay their CEO's $20M bonuses instead of grow their infrastructure.

Wow, only $20M to put in a $1.7Bn infrastructure upgrade, with $2.3Bn extra costs to implement it with strong integration to the current infrastructure and while prematurely terminating part of the current infrastructure before value's been realized on it? You must be the best business process accountant ever!

Re:Not defective by design (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615965)

I am not in the business, but lower the $20m to $2m and you can probably "electrify" a couple more rural areas. People making $2m shouldn't be starving and we are getting more people on the grid.

Re:Not defective by design (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616171)

$18M is pocket change. A few million dollars doesn't solve anything; how about you stop buying the occasional order-out pizza, because $18 for a meal one night a month is outrageous when you could make some chicken soup to last the family a whole week for twice as much (making it $5 instead of $18)! That whole $216/year saved is MASSIVE!

Re:Not defective by design (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615985)

Really Slashdot? A troll comparing an executive bonuses to the cost of infrastructure is modded insightful and someone calling him on it is modded flamebait? I'm a socialist and these socialist drones disgust me.

Re:Not defective by design (4, Funny)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615969)

The only analogy I've been able to come up with that paints a good picture about why it's such a flawed model is what I call the Coca-Cola Principle....

No good! Don't understand! Your analogy has no cars!

Not free=flawed? (4, Interesting)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616367)

You don't seem to understand the flawed business model that communications providers have been running with since the beginning.

The business model since the beginning has been to build networks with business users in mind, and then selling unused capacity to consumers at bargain rates.

At one time, a buck a minute was normal, and for business users, still a bargain compared to the "mobile phone" that Perry Mason used.

Since the networks grew at an amazing rate, eventually reducing costs to commodity levels, that model was hardly flawed.

They never had enough capacity for their customers.

There have always been areas where use has jumped fast enough to outstrip network expansion.
If you mean network resources have never been unlimited, I'll grant you that.

So as it stands today, there just isn't enough network for us, which is why when there are city/county/state-wide emergencies many calls do not go through.

YOUR calls don't go through - the important ones do.
That's by design.
Cell operators are required by Federal law to interrupt consumer cell service to prevent the network becoming unavailable to emergency responders.

Comcast (unfortunately my home ISP) is perhaps one of the worst offenders of this. Having resold the bandwidth I paid for multiple hundreds of times. Eventually instead of providing me with what I have been paying for (unlimited broadband, as in no bandwidth cap), they reneged on their deal and put in a hard cap of 250gb/mo.

So...what you are saying is that your monthly charge should cover 25 terabytes of transfer or more?

The fact of the matter is that you didn't buy ALL their bandwidth - they aren't reselling YOUR bandwidth - that's pure rubbish.

The question is how to strike a balance between use and cost.

There is a certain cost per byte that has to be recovered, or no one gets to play.

I probably come pretty close to the cap at times, but have never heard anything from Comcast.
On my business accounts, I shatter that barrier every month - that's why I have business accounts that aren't subject to it.

You should stop whining and do the same.

Comcast COULD have simply limited your speed so that you couldn't exceed the cap.
It would still be unlimited.

That was rejected as a bad compromise for obvious reasons - most people don't use bandwidth at a sustained high rate.

Re:Not defective by design (3, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616407)

You don't seem to understand the flawed business model that communications providers have been running with since the beginning. They never had enough capacity for their customers. They could, but they need to pay their CEO's $20M bonuses instead of grow their infrastructure. So as it stands today, there just isn't enough network for us, which is why when there are city/county/state-wide emergencies many calls do not go through.

That's not a flawed business model. You can meet 90% of your customer's needs for X dollars, and 99% of your customer's needs for 10X dollars, and 99.9% of your customer's needs for 100X dollars, and 99.99% of your customer's needs for 1000X dollars... see the problem? Increasing capacity to a point where you can fully satisfy state-wide emergencies is incredibly expensive, and leaves half of the network unused at regular times. That is a flawed business model, which is why it's not done by any infrastructure provider - there are brownouts in summer heat waves, there are water shortages in droughts, there are network shortages in emergencies, etc. This is the trade-off we make in exchange for not having $5000/month cell phone bills.

Re:Not defective by design (2, Interesting)

Mascot (120795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615931)

Operators have a hard limit on the amount of service they can actually provision. Allowing any and all devices to run willy nilly on the network would be certain death, even for the best-laid network.

Do you have any examples of this? Apart from the non-standard system needed to support the iPhone's voice mail stuff, I can't figure out what you might be referring to.

Re:Not defective by design (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615943)

By throttling certain services, turning off certain capabilities, and allowing remote provisioning management, Apple is making sure that the device they are providing to the users who aren't cut off will work and continue to work on the network.

There, that's better

Re:Not defective by design (5, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615947)

Wow - didn't take long for the apologists to come out of the woodwork. Here's what I'd like to see instead: A balanced comment that takes into consideration the needs of BOTH parties in a transaction/business relationship/whatever, rather than just the point of view of the party with the most power. I think we (i.e. "reasonable people") understand that one-sided relationships that favor one party over the other aren't optimal in a civilized society. But I can't quite understand the psychology behind those that rapidly spring to the defense of the powerful. Unless you're working for them and will directly benefit from maintaining or adding further imbalance to the status quo, WHY?

In your particular example, I would counter that the real reason for crippling devices has much more to do with control for the purpose of maximizing income than control for technical reasons. The fear isn't that willy-nilly allowance of device capabilities will bring down the network, it's that it will allow customers to create their own solutions rather than paying a lucrative monthly fee for the officially sanctioned service that optimizes monetization of the service rather than optimizing the ability of people to do what they need/want to do. Use of the term "crippling" isn't accidental - it's an accurate description of what is being done.

Re:Not defective by design (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616011)

My last phone from T-Mobile is hardware capable of MP3 playback and ringtones. It is however flashed with T-Mobile firmware locking those features out *unless* the ringtone in question is purchased from T-Mobile.

This has nothing whatsoever with them provisioning services and everything to do with them wanting me to pay extra for permission to use my own music files or pay extra for permission to use their music files.

Re:Not defective by design (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616033)

If you don't have enough network capacity to deal with the number of users, the solution would be to stop accepting new customers. Either that, or raise prices so either you can improve your network, such that it will handle the number of people using the network. The network does have limited capacity. This means that if your network is going beyond capacity, you need to expand the network, or kick some people off. Everybody complains when their ISP throttles their internet connection, or when they don't get the speeds they are supposed to due to an overloaded network. I don't see how this is any different.

as in Europe (4, Insightful)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616177)

you are absolutely right. That is why in Europe, where phones are not restricted, not a single Carrier has survived today. Oh wait... try again
you are absolutely right. If users were to use their USB cable to install a free ringtone, this would totally overload the network. Oh wait... mmm; bollocks

Re:Not defective by design (5, Insightful)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616193)

Can you then explain why, in Europe, I can chuck any SIM into any (not SIM locked) GSM device and it just bloody works?

This phone crippling crap is performed by US carriers mostly in order to maximize their profits and there are no technical reasons whatsoever to restrict any capabilities of a certified GSM phone.

Like it or not: A phone, which is crippled by design, like the iPhone, is defective by design.

Re:Not defective by design (2)

EvilNTUser (573674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616235)

Are you kidding? Not only does trusting client side security always end up in disaster, but European cell phone networks seem to be doing just fine.

Stop buying into the carriers' propaganda already and start buying your phones directly from the manufacturers. You'd never be in this mess if the average American had done so from the start. The world's largest cell phone manufacturer [nokiausa.com] would prefer to not sell you crippled devices, and look how much US market share it's been rewarded with.

Re:Not defective by design (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616375)

Then they should limit the amount of service they provide and not what you do with that service. They should also quit advertising capabilities they have no intention of actually providing. In the case where their network is already overloaded, they should quit advertising PERIOD. After all, if they're overloaded they don't have room to add more customers and might be better off if a few leave. They can spend those advertising dollars on expanding their network capabilities instead.

It's amazing, when ISPs and cellular providers talk to the FCC, their networks are stuffed to the rafters with packets and teetering on the edge of collapse due to the load, but within minutes of reading their claims to the FCC I inevitably see an advertisement where they offer more and faster service. One of those is a lie.

Most of the restrictions are a scam anyway. They want to claim either unlimited or that the limits are large and then implement a lower constructive limit without technically committing fraud (or more properly stated, make the fraud more difficult to prove in court). Of course, in many cases the features they disable have nothing to do with use of resources and everything to do with making you pay more to get them to flip a bit for you and "generously allow" your phone to do something it is already capable of at no cost to them.

How about they just offer a simple plan at a fair price and compete on quality and price for a change?

Re:Not defective by design (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616381)

What you are forgetting(or simply eliding) is that many of the features commonly crippled by carriers are ones that reduce load on the network and whose existence creates little or no network overhead.

Little niceties like not being able to transfer/play media files from a computer onto a phone whose hardware can support it. That takes zero network resources, while the "Vcast" option involves considerable data transfer. Same thing with not being able to transfer pictures off the thing, in order to drive MMS revenues. Or disabling GPS in order to drive revenue for your own crippled nav-app.

If this was about the health of their precious little networks, the only control they'd have to exert would be over the cellular modem portion of the device, and they'd be encouraging as much off-network data traffic as possible(USB/BT/WiFi) and local storage of things like map data. I'm not saying that that never happens; but, empirically, the clear direction of the crippling trend is in favor of more network load, not less.

Leave Apple Alone! (5, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615695)

They're just patenting this defect so they can sue anyone that would try to harm us.

Re:Leave Apple Alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615717)

Spoken like a Tru(TM) Fanboi!

Re:Leave Apple Alone! (2, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615781)

Spoken like a Tru(TM) Fanboi!

No, apparently I'm a windows fanboi [slashdot.org] this week.

I'll forgive your misjudgment though, since someone modded the Apple comment insightful.

ridiculous... but good (5, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615715)

Apple and any inventor should be ashamed to put their name on such a crappy patent; there is not a bit on an idea in there.

However, if this serves to keep others from implementing carrier-based restrictions, I'm all for it: implementing this is going to hurt Apple and help everybody else.

Apple seems intent on suicide (0, Troll)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615929)

I admit it. I hate Apple. I hate their philosophy. I hate their restrictions. I hate their closed nature. I hate their smugness. I hate their marketing lies like "it just works" and "think different" (aka like a brainwashed moron).

But lately I was very happy when my hip cool 20-something cousin who goes to clubs and uses MSN and Facebook and Twitter bought an iPhone and was cursing about it almost immediately. If they can't get the young hip crowd with their non-functional difficult to used crippled horseshit maybe there is hope that in the not too distant future the company will just fucking die. All I hear about lately is how Apple is restricting some nice neat feature or use of a device. Fuck them. Die evil turtle neck wearing turkies!!!

Re:ridiculous... but good (3, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615949)

However, if this serves to keep others from implementing carrier-based restrictions, I'm all for it: implementing this is going to hurt Apple and help everybody else.

That was exactly my first thought. However, you know it's not going to go down like that, because everyone else is going to want the feature. Instead, all the phones will end up with the feature anyway, and you'll just pay more for Apple's licensing fee.

Re:ridiculous... but good (1)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616415)

THIS got modded Insightful?!

1> The patent isn't on the idea of restricting phones, it's on a specific method.

2> No, it doesn't stop carriers from placing restrictions. Nothing ever will.

I guess actually understanding an issue before commenting is beyond the free-beer-trolls.

Are They Really Unable to Cap You? (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615723)

The patent component of this news aside, we've seen iPhones turned into web servers [slashdot.org], iPhones running PHP and Apache [slashdot.org] and even playing reduced frame rate WoW on your iPhone [slashdot.org]. So, when we saw these articles it is easily suspected that they could be an abuse to the network. But how could an Apache server on my iPhone be anymore of an abuse than an Apache server on my home computer connected to Comcast? I mean, the networks are probably different but can't they institute a cap and just let my phone slow to a crawl due to limited bandwidth while everyone else doesn't even notice my usage? Are the cell phone networks really that helpless in that they cannot cap usages on cell phones?

Either there's something about the potential abuse of cell phones on networks or Apple just wants another patent. Probably both.

All I ask of Apple (or anyone really) is that -- if they implement this patent on a phone -- they advertise this "feature" and stay true to the numbers of what you can expect out of your potentially crippled device. My biggest problem with my ISP is that they flat out lie to me about what I'm paying for. When I see things like "unlimited data plan" on cell phones I can only laugh ...

Re:Are They Really Unable to Cap You? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615855)

Are the cell phone networks really that helpless in that they cannot cap usages on cell phones?

You've obviously never heard of that little group called the Federal Communications Commission http://fcc.gov/ [fcc.gov]

I use the iPhone Configuration Utility... (2, Insightful)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615725)

...on my own personal iPhone. Why? Well, it's easier than remembering how to hook it up to the 5 Google calendars I need it to sync and edit...

Yeah. Just one phone. I don't have to be a big corporation to find tools like that useful.

This makes me evil, right?

Effectively a hardware license? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615733)

So, I didn't buy my iPieceOfShit, I iLicensed it? How is this even legal?

Re:Effectively a hardware license? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615899)

No, you licensed access to the network you connect to with the iPhone. Also they COULD simply lease a cell phone to you (like a cable modem).

I have issue with Apple's "their network" claim (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615761)

It is not "their" network. It is hosted on the radio frequencies effectively leased to them by the FCC which is ultimately owned by "we the people."

With all that said, it is within the rights of the property owners to determine how the leased property can be used. I find that it is past time that the FCC or even congress enact rules that prevent carriers from harming consumers in much the same way that Bell Telephone abused consumers.

Apple, it is not for the carriers to say what specific services are enabled on what devices so long as the devices are compatible with the network. (Compatibility can be defined broadly so I would also urge that this is defined appropriately as well.)

It is inappropriate for wireless carriers to determine what specific devices are inappropriate for use on a publicly owned radio frequency resource just as it would be inappropriate for any one entity to determine what specific vehicles are permitted to travel on public thoroughfares. While certain general prohibitions should be appropriately directed, they should be enforced to by a regulating body, not by carriers who often use such restrictions as leverage to sell other services.

Re:I have issue with Apple's "their network" claim (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615927)

It is not "their" network. It is hosted on the radio frequencies effectively leased to them by the FCC which is ultimately owned by "we the people."

You're retarded. The FCC leased them access to radio frequencies; they, however, have their own hardware for everything else. It reaches the cell phone, comes down a wire, to their CO, and enters the POTS just like your land line. This is like saying you own your phone line, so your ISP shouldn't be able to restrict what you can send over YOUR network when you dial in.. i.e. you're retarded.

Re:I have issue with Apple's "their network" claim (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616107)

I know... I shouldn't respond to this but I will anyway. Without the radio frequency lease, they don't have a network. It is the most critical component of their business operating model. The FCC is the governing body for that component.

The same arguments could have been and likely were offered as excuses why Bell Telephone should be able to dictate what equipment is used on the phone networks and in fact, it is demonstrable that they owned a great deal more physical aspects of their phone network than wireless carriers and they still failed on the grounds that the interests of the public and those of other businesses and innovation were being harmed by Bell's practices. What Bell Telephone didn't "own" was the right-of-way to operate their network as a monopoly. And since they were ruled an abusive monopoly, they were broken up.

I won't say you are retarded in response, but I will say you fail to appreciate history and how precedent may be applied to present and future cases like these.

Re:I have issue with Apple's "their network" claim (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616189)

I know... I shouldn't respond to this but I will anyway. Without the radio frequency lease, they don't have a network. It is the most critical component of their business operating model. The FCC is the governing body for that component.

Oh okay, I get you. The Sun is a universal resource and owned by all of us, so anything sunlight falls on should automatically belong to We, the People, and not be so-called "Private Property" bullshit that Corporate Greed wants you to believe in.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but... (4, Insightful)

agorist_apostle (1491899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615767)

...does anyone else ever get the feeling that there is a whole cabal of businesses, government organizations, etc, out there just trying to manage the piss out of them? Managed content, managed hardware, managed media...there is too much management...

Re:Maybe I'm paranoid, but... (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615893)

The secret no one is supposed to talk about is that "management" is where all the money is going. Whether it is government, health care, education, telecommunications, insurance... you name it. All the money is going to the middle men who don't know how do anything but push papers and write contracts. There is no value added by these people at all. The health care industry is just full of people working in "business" areas. When I lived in Indianapolis an office I went to when I was sick had I think 3 doctors and about 12 people working in the office in various positions. Health insurance companies are chock full of people who know almost nothing but are making huge checks. Public school districts have huge multi-story "administration" buildings full of people who don't teach. That's where all the money is going... start hiring people who actually know some stuff and actually contribute to the bottom line and we'll start to move in the right direction again.

Re:Maybe I'm paranoid, but... (3, Interesting)

c_forq (924234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616253)

The problem is that in most cases these people are essential. They know something, just not in the field they are working in. I know a person who worked in one of those school administrative offices, they were paid more than any teacher in the district - but they brought over 2 million dollars into the district. Knowing how to write and win grants is very valuable. Likewise with hospitals, knowing how to make a treatment covered by medicare, and having knowledge of the multitude of forms out there (both government and insurance) is very valuable. Maybe it shouldn't be, but there also shouldn't be the Darfur situation and abject poverty in the US, but there is.

Re:Maybe I'm paranoid, but... (0)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616411)

If what you say is true then the US is in for a world of hurt. All that money going to people who do nothing but push paper all day then goes out and buys things from stores who buy things from manufacturers who employ people who make things and of course all along the line there are IT people needed to maintain all the infrastructure that keeps it going... ie: lay off all those middle managers and we'd suddenly have > 30% unemployment and our economy would be in the grave.

You better have a plan on what those people SHOULD be doing rather than passing YouTube videos around all day or plan on losing your job right along with them.

It might be better to simply accept the mass delusion and continue as if you never came up with this idea...

Re:Maybe I'm paranoid, but... (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616297)

...does anyone else ever get the feeling that there is a whole cabal of businesses, government organizations, etc, out there just trying to monetize the piss out of them? Monetized content, monetized hardware, monetized media...there is too much monetization...

There - fixed that for you.

Differentiation is good (3, Interesting)

axlrosen (88070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615771)

If you don't like a company crippling a product, what are the alternatives?

Well, one alternative is that the company couple sell different physical products with the different capabilities. Of course, that would increase costs, so both the crippled and uncrippled versions would cost more.

Or, the company could only sell uncrippled hardware. Now, what price would they sell it for? They certainly can't sell it for the lower price of a crippled product, because they'd lose money. So now you've lost the choice between a lower-price/lower-featured product, and a higher-price/higher-featured product. In other words, richer people win, poorer people lose.

So we should recognize that there's a benefit to being able to sell different sets of features to different consumers. More people get what they want at a price they can afford.

It is actually good for Apple PR (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615783)

Now lets be realistic here people.
You get a Cell Phone and most of them even the low end systems are more powerful then computers 10 years ago. So most phones can do a lot of stuff.
Now you have different carriers. They can Suck and have a small limited network where only some services will properly run. So if you had a phone that can do anything on a network that cant when you try to do something that the network can't handle you get an error, or it just doens't work. The geeks like us will see this as either a reason to switch carriers or hack the system to get it to work. But for average joe it will be like. Why offer us the feature if we can't use it, or it is broken so the entire system is broken.
So if your carrier will not support the feature then it shouldn't be on the phone. So people will be happy with your product as it works. And if they see someone on an different network with the same product and there is a new feature then you think about switching the carrier not the phone technology. So if the iPhone will be on different networks and there is one willing to support different features you need. You can switch to that vender without thinking man this iPhone sucks because I cannot tether with my computer. While the truth is the iPhone can teather it is just you stupid carrier who won't let you.

Re:It is actually good for Apple PR (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615921)

The parent post would actually make sense if Apple and AT&T didn't enforce a false monopoly on the market. This is another reason that exclusivity deals should be illegal.

Just a thought.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29615827)

So, you build this super-nifty gadget that does all sorts of cool things... but you don't want those cool things to actually be used?
 
  Why not build them without that capability in the first place?

What are we purchasing then? (2, Interesting)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615831)

I could agree with this if and only if they are giving you the phone for free and you are only buying the service. But when you are expected to buy the hardware, it is no one's business what you do with it. Too many companiess want to control what you do with the gadgets that you buy. Why are we allowing this in our society?

Crazy scenario, if you buy a toaster with a computer chip in it that has a little app that holds memory of who you are and how you like your toast toasted, should we then allow the companies to own the rights to how you want to modify the toaster?

I know I know, someone will say, it's about the network and keeping it clean of apps with viruses or that the apps are what make a company $$$, but it's all becoming too invasive.

I say ISSUE the patent... (1)

ActusReus (1162583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615905)

... just with the caveat that they can't license it to anyone else, and they must sue any infringers who cripple phones also.

So it's DRM... ON A CELLPHONE (3, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615933)

Is "ON A CELLPHONE" the new "ON THE INTERNET"? A quick glance over the claims reveals nothing that hasn't been done with DRM before in other settings.

Compete with Apple if you do not like it (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615961)

Hey folks, you all have a path open to you if you don't like the way Apple and AT&T manage the IPhone. Simply design, build, market, and sell a competing phone and service that is as popular as the IPhone. What's holding you back?

Re:Compete with Apple if you do not like it (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616325)

What's holding you back?

Millions of dollars and man-decades of investment plus the likelihood of a patent arsenal that would ensure the investment is a failure. Or to be more clear: Lack of an even playing field.

WTF? (3, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615977)

Man, I hate Micros... err Apple. Actually, I think I just hate Steve Jobs. Most of Apple's fascist type behavior appears to be coming from him.

RIM has prior art... (2, Interesting)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29615991)

You can do all of this via Blackberry Enterprise Server.

My 'berry is so locked down by the guru's at head office that I have the same web browsing restrictions on it, that I do on our point of sale desktops, all courtesy of the BES and SonicWall routers.

More fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616017)

Hell yeah as independent developers we need more fragmentation.

Prior art? (1)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616097)

Hasn't this sort of thing been done for years? I bought a Motorola Razr phone with AT&T some time back and a number of the standard features were disabled. Verizon takes phones all the time and mucks with the software to disable features, often so that they can rent the features back to you at some cost. So, what's new about Apple's approach that makes it patentable?

The only thin that I can think of is that traditionally carriers would "provision" the phones by licensing the phone's firmware then writing a new variation and burning it into all the phones that they sell. I can only suppose that Apple's solution is reduced to a secured / signed configuration file so that you can simply install that and not screw with the phone's firmware/OS.

AT&T has prior art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616103)

They crippled my Nokia 6582 years ago...

Re:AT&T has prior art... (1)

obonicus (1090353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616289)

A joke, but hasn't Nokia (possibly among others) been doing this for ages? I had a Nokia N73 and my carrier's unique firmware disabled features like Stereo Bluetooth and PTT. The N73 was released Q3 2006 according to wiki.

Slashdot Apple Logo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29616119)

I think it's high time Apple got a new logo on this site..
          Do Borg implants work on fruit..?

Every cellular manufacturer has prior art btw (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616121)

As a former Motorola mobile devices employee, I can attest to that. All cell makers have provisioning, it is nothing new, interesting, unique, or patentable (in my opinion). Just another example of Apple thinking that it excretes golden feces...

Patent Restricted (1)

Powys (1274816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616165)

Does that mean it would be a patent violation for any other manufacturer to limit capabilities? If so I'm all for it. Let Apple restrict their products if it means everybody else isn't allowed to!!!

Another evil company (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616237)

... that's what Apple are showing themselves to be. If, occasionally, I feel interested in their innovative products, this kind of news is what always keeps me from acting upon it.

It seems that Apple has become too successful for its own good -- somethings that seems to affect (virtually?) all major corporations these days. At first they start out with a cool product and they're good at keeping their customers happy about it. Then they become a success and make a lot of money. But, almost inevitably the company gets sold and/or one or more assholes take over the helm. Assholes? Yeah, they're the type that understand that "It's the stockholders, stupid!" Therefore, if a decision to do something differently will probably make the company more money -- even if it's likely to piss off many customers -- then it's the right thing to do. Hell, they usually don't even care about breaking the law; normally they're careful that the potential fines don't exceed the resulting profits, but that's not always the case. Not that I'm accusing Apple of ever having done anything illegal, but I see no reason to trust them either.

Show me a successful company that has always put customer satisfaction before profits, and I'll show you a company that you can trust (at least until the next change of management). Actually, I'll bet that there are lots of them... just precious few (if any) that are publicly owned.

I think this is a Good Idea (1)

golodh (893453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29616247)

For once I am wholly in favor of a patent: the one just obtained by Apple on limiting the functionality of mobile devices.

In my opinion, the license fees for the monetization of this proud piece of Intellectual Property cannot be set too high. A license fee of 15$ per appliance for any other manufacturers wishing to license this remarkable piece of Intellectual Property seems wholly appropriate.

Incidentally, I do not own an iPhone or any other mobile communication device manufactured by Apple and I definitely have no plans to acquire one. I am quite happy with my 3-year-old mobile telephone, which is a prepaid model, and I have no plans to convert to a subscription. Thanks.

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