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Woz Fears Stifling of Startups Due to Patent Wars

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the innovation-is-verboten dept.

Patents 300

An anonymous reader writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that Apple and other tech companies' patent hoarding could prevent entrepreneurs doing the same thing that he and Steve Jobs did in starting a computer company in a garage. Woz also says the jury is still out on Tim Cook as the right CEO to lead Apple forward after Steve Jobs." He still gives Apple a bit of a break: "'Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them,' he says. 'It is creating so much and is so successful and it is not just following the formulas of other companies – [Apple is] totally establishing new markets that didn't exist.'"

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300 comments

And they will probably declare him a nut (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#39627099)

because it goes against the corporate way...

Re:And they will probably declare him a nut (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627243)

Woz has long been the guy that people like us listen to, while the rest of the world worshiped at the altar of Jobs.

Not surprisingly, everyone else went with the cut-throat, they're all trying to get in my kool aid, kill them with our IP... no-matter-how ridiculous, business guy with a, "I'm going to annihilate them if it's the last thing I do" attitude.

Woz and Jobs (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627865)

Woz's always the geek, while Jobs the guy with street smarts

Re:And they will probably declare him a nut (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#39627563)

We are all aware that patents do this, and it's not an accident. This is what patents are for.

Patent Warchests - not just for the big fights (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#39627101)

Of course patent chests are there to stave off the attacks of other massive companies - heck, look at the Facebook response to Yahoo's patent attack - it snaps up a quick 800 patents and uses the new ones against yahoo in retalliation - but they are also used (probably much less noticably) to swat at the small flies that the big boys want to get rid of.

What better way to make some easy cash, when a start-up has a good idea, point out that your patents invariably make their product "infringe" then come out with their product under your own name - and possibly use your new patents to broker another settlement with some other big player in THEIR new emerging technology.

[Apple is] totally establishing new markets that (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627105)

you bet. an entire industry of lawyer specializations!!!

Re: [Apple is] totally establishing new markets th (5, Informative)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 2 years ago | (#39627949)

Precisely.

Woz's biography (I don't remember which one it was, but it focused more on the early days leading up to the Apple II and Lisa and had Captain Crunch/Draper and Jobs' drug use and partying featured fairly prominently), as well as The Cuckoo's Egg (Cliff Stoll) and The Happy Hacker, were pivotal to my formative years as a technologist.

His statements here don't really make sense, within the context of the autobiography. It was written in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and I read it right around when OSX was making its emergence (it's not on Amazon, afaik), so it didn't have the color of the iRevolution (gag) to falsely tinge things sepia.

Frankly, I can't help but think that the statements in the biography I read were right: something crucial in Woz's brain burnt themselves out when he made the Apple II. He obviously is not paying attention to the changing

Apple hasn't done anything "first" or creative since they first released the iPhone. Yes, the iPhone was quite a jump over what existed at the time, and it was precisely in the direction that people wanted to go. However, it wasn't as capable as many devices on the market at the time in both computing capabilities and audio capabilities (and the i* products still aren't, in any way, better).

Apple software in particular is lacking innovation (since at least 2007). We have osX which is still lackluster at best at context switches (still, after over a decade with negligible improvement) and is removing functionality in leaps and bounds (using a butchered and buggy Microsoft stack for SMB/CIFS and butchering the cups project? seriously, is that what passes for innovation?). This butchery will only be surpassed by Windows 8 in recent memory. iOS is positively crippled compared to Android, with some of the most frustrating UI inconsistencies and shortcomings in capabilities (eg. map navigation which is rivaled by a 7 year old in-car Garmin; killing downloads if you switch to something else). iTunes is now a fractured by platform as well, with tablets not being able to re-download games and apps someone has already paid for on their phones. The hell?

The hardware in the workstations is, admittedly, nice: but aside from the incrementalism of the 1990s which ultimately failed them until they switched to x86, how are they distinguishing themselves today in this department? Bigger, brighter, and more expensive displays with "Thunderbolt" technology - a technology which Apple (and Intel, for whatever reason) have let completely languished for the year and a half that it's been out, turning what has absolutely awesome potential into a completely proprietary display interface which offers nothing but cost over HDMI (or for that matter, DVI, really). The lackluster nature of iOS has done the same with the iPhone and iPad: no true multiprocessing? No contextual use with peripheral emphasis? No WiDi or similar?

("But Caimlas, you asshole", I'm sure someone will say. "We have jiggapixel retina displays!" Yes; yes you do - you also pay for that with horrendous battery life, despite the meager 3.5" display on the phones.)

Sorry. Woz has lost the plot and is not paying attention. Apple has done some absolutely fantastic things since 2000. They've made great progress, pushing other companies to innovate and copy, and have shown even greater potential. And then, the innovation stopped: they started to be litigious bastards at almost precisely the same time.

I would personally love for Apple to come back as the company they were in 2005, when they were kicking ass and taking names. We'd see a lot of cool things happening. But since roughly the time of iTunes, there hasn't been much other than market daring with the iPad to come out of their company I'd consider even remotely 'innovative'. The more I have to deal with Apple products in a support role, the more I feel like they're not even giving their hardware software enough development attention to keep them running stable, with some serious engineering problems that make Windows-self-clobbering-via-antivirus seem benign.

Very disappointing statements from the Woz.

Different Business Model (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627111)

That's why most startups don't do real business anymore: their model is to hype an idea and be bought up early, by a large corporation with its own protective patent portfolio.

What break? (4, Insightful)

Jeeeb (1141117) | about 2 years ago | (#39627119)

He still gives Apple a bit of a break: "Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them,” he says. “It is creating so much and is so successful and it is not just following the formulas of other companies – [Apple is] totally establishing new markets that didn’t exist."

I'm not a huge Apple fan but that seems pretty much true to me. They weren't all 100% original (what is?) but iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad have pretty much all created new markets or massively expanded existing ones. I mean I can't remember seeing rows of tablets on sale at my local electronics store prior to the iPad but now every company and his dog seems to have a tablet product. In fact the only tablets I remember hearing about before the iPad were laptops with touchscreens and huge price tags slapped on."

Re:What break? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627169)

Apple hasn't created anything. Everything existed before. Apple excels at marketing. That's it. They use the same chipsets and the same technology as everybody else. It is so bloody frustrating. Then they get rewarded for removing features and making shit HARDER to use. Yet some how we again say "look out easy it is" when in reality the majority of people run into more problems and can't figure the damm thing out. Is it better than some of Microsoft's offering? Not really. It offers a slight improvement by being the smaller player in some markets. The cost is significant though.

Re:What break? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627265)

Apple finishes their products though (some use the term polish) unlike many other manufacturers. HTC/Samsung and the rest of the makers of smart phones and electronic gadgets have a tendency to rush things to market and just throw them out before they are complete. They are often not very well thought out and have major bugs and glitches or poor performance in comparison to Apple products.

Like my brand new Galaxy Nexus for example had a glitch where the sound would randomly go up and down, then they fixed that and now the phones connection is intermittently lost, to top it off the camera and speakers suck both hardware and software wise in comparison to the 4s iphone's. All that was needed was a little more time to iron out the bugs and add some polish, but typical big manufacturers just simply can't or choose not to do so.

While I dislike Apple's products due to the lack of options, such as a larger screen, removable battery etc.. you simply have to admit they spend an awful lot of time and care on their products to make sure they are polished and the major bugs are worked out.

Re:What break? (5, Insightful)

CoderExpert (2613949) | about 2 years ago | (#39627403)

Despite the perceived "fanboyism", there is some truth in that too. I used to think Apple users were huge fanboys before. But this year I got MacBook Air and despite some quirks like different keyboard layout (I'm used to PC) and Finder trying to hide much of the file system, I am quite impressed with it. It is very polished, and despite the GP saying that Apple doesn't innovate, I haven't for example seen multi-touch trackpad in any other laptop. It makes a great difference. The quality of it is also much better than I have used before, as is screen and audio quality (I always wondered why my headphones sounded like shit with my old laptop even while it cost 3000 dollars!).

The overall product is very finished. On top of that you get a nice UNIX system on the background and tons of apps that come with it. For example Automator and the system-wide services menu for your scripts make a HUGE difference.

And of course, there are also many commercial games available for the platform and now that Steam is too, there should just be more. Linux just cannot compete that. Even if you are a geek, OS X is a very good choice, as it's pretty much what Linux on desktop should be.

Re:What break? (4, Insightful)

slippyblade (962288) | about 2 years ago | (#39627459)

You haven't seen multi-touch trackpad in other systems because of... PATENTS!

Re:What break? (0, Flamebait)

CoderExpert (2613949) | about 2 years ago | (#39627473)

You haven't seen multi-touch trackpad in other systems because of... PATENTS!

Wait, so did Apple innovate or not? How did they get that (supposed) patent if someone else had done it before?

Re:What break? (2)

Trahloc (842734) | about 2 years ago | (#39627565)

There have been many multi touch implementations, just because someone was the first to file doesn't mean they were first to think up the general concept. Hell any kindergartner that's given some finger paint is prior art for 'multi touch' as far as I'm concerned.

Re:What break? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627567)

Just like the mouse multitouch was demonstrated years before in academia, the GUI at PARK.

Re:What break? (4, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 2 years ago | (#39627607)

Wait, so did Apple innovate or not? How did they get that (supposed) patent if someone else had done it before?

It is called acquisition. They purchased the company Fingerworks [wikipedia.org] for all their patents.

Re:What break? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627695)

if you havn't seen multi touch trackpads on non apple laptops then your not looking.

Re:What break? (5, Insightful)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#39627431)

I expect this to go away. This sort of perfection was the result of a giant cock up top who could say, "X is not acceptable, fix it, no alternative." Your average exec is an mba, who all about cost vs reward. Not the engineering mindset of X or nothing.

Re:What break? (4, Interesting)

ccguy (1116865) | about 2 years ago | (#39627489)

Like my brand new Galaxy Nexus for example had a glitch where the sound would randomly go up and down,

I wrote about this in my amazon.co.uk review, was instantly voted "not useful" by a lot of people. Other reviews mentioning shininess are of course "most useful".
Don't know if it's a legion of astroturfers, fanboys, or just other buyers who have a hard time admitting they made a bad purchase.

Re:What break? (3, Interesting)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 2 years ago | (#39627581)

Or, on the PC/Laptop side, the systems are simply more reliable than a typical OOTB Windows 7 or Linux (my basis for comparison is Ubuntu) install. If you're unlucky (this depends highly on which vendor(s) you buy your hardware from, and the quality of the drivers they provide), you'll still run into the occasional bluescreen or things that simply break and require a reboot (yes, even on Ubuntu :p)...

Just in the last two years of Windows 7 use, I've seen a few bluescreens with EMU audio hardware, Realtek laptop NICs, and even a virtual network driver (AVM's Fritz!VPN application - that was a particularly nasty one, because the machine would hang on standby and then only bluescreen about half an hour later... very difficult to troubleshoot). Oh and don't even get me started on Intel's crappy video drivers... bug-infested crap (if it weren't for the higher power consumption and heat I'd switch to a laptop with discrete graphics just for the better drivers).

As far as I know (since I'm more or less a pure Windows user - can't get used to OSX for the life of me, nor do I want to - hell, maybe it's just a "grass is greener" thing), these are problems that more or less don't exist in the Mac camp... I keep hearing from musicians how they've never had a crash with their MacBook - our keyboarder, who uses his Windows 7 laptop as a soundbank on stage, actually had a bluescreen during a gig a few months ago. :(

Re:What break? (2)

YoungSaint (1158131) | about 2 years ago | (#39627955)

"Linux (my basis for comparison is Ubuntu) " That's probably part of the problem right there. I've used all three OS's as my 'daily driver.' Win7 is probably the most unstable, Followed by OSX(they hide stuff, so you would never notice until you started dicking around with it), and then Linux. The most stable install i've had is crunchbang linux. (based on debian stable.) The last two could easily switch places depending on what you're doing. Ubuntu is, IIRC, based on debian unstable. (Downvote city here I come) Which is fine, except that things break easily in unstable. Ubuntu tested and grabbed the ones that work. Which means they get newer packages, and if the testing goes well, do not sacrifice stability. Well, sometime around the 2010 releases, they started really going after the UI, and the stability suffered. It's not really that noticeable if you run a stock desktop system, but start installing some odd packages for testing, and you'll run across some weird stuff you won't see in debian.

Re:What break? (5, Insightful)

drcagn (715012) | about 2 years ago | (#39627345)

You're thinking too much like a techie. Regardless of whether the new market was carved out of excellent tech or excellent marketing, Apple is still carving new markets. If the iPad didn't exist, do you think the tablet market would look anything like it does today? No? Then Apple pretty much created a new market.

Re:What break? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627381)

Expanded the market, perhaps. There were tablets on the market long before the iPad was under development. They just kinda sucked, so there wasn't much demand.

iPhone? A polished convergence of the touchscreen PDAs and cell phones, without a stylus.

iPod? The first model lacked features (and had less space) compared to its competitors.

What market did Apple create, other than the App Store, again?

Re:What break? (0, Flamebait)

Jeeeb (1141117) | about 2 years ago | (#39627477)

Expanded the market, perhaps. There were tablets on the market long before the iPad was under development. They just kinda sucked, so there wasn't much demand.

The only tablets I remember before the iPad were laptops with touchscreens. There wasn't anything resembling a consumer focused ultra-portable entertainment hub which is what the iPad is.

iPhone? A polished convergence of the touchscreen PDAs and cell phones, without a stylus.

So in other words quite original. So original and ground backing that it basically revolutionized the mobile market and forced other manufacturers plus Google and Microsoft to scramble to copy the concept

iPod? The first model lacked features (and had less space) compared to its competitors.

But it was sleek, slim, nice to use, and integrated with iTunes. Before the iPod harddisk players were a bit of a non-event. iPod massively expanded that market.

What market did Apple create, other than the App Store, again?

Basically all of the above plus iTunes. Also the MacBook seriously shook up the laptop market hitting a combination of nice features (e.g. decent touchpad, well thought out charger), and a good balance between battery life, performance, looks and cost that no-one else was achieving at the time.

Re:What break? (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#39627805)

and a good balance between battery life, performance, looks and cost that no-one else was achieving at the time.

And who else is now? Serious question.

The market for all of them. (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | about 2 years ago | (#39627511)

You say yourself that there was no market because they sucked.

Make things that don't suck, and the market emerges.

Look, I get tired of the mindlessness of the Apple critics.

I was a smartphone user for years and held off for two years on getting an iPhone once iPhone was released because I was sure that it couldn't be that much better, that it was all hype. After all, I already HAD a smartphone that I was completely satisfied with (a high-end Treo).

Boy did I feel stupid when I finally got my first iPhone (a 3GS, some months after it had been released). I realized that I had been walking around using a Treo when I could have been about 10x as functional and connected on the go using an iPhone, which was a device in a completely different *universe* if you actually wanted to get stuff done with your phone.

Listen, everyone *knew* there was no market for tablets before iPad. That was exactly the critique and it was spot-on. But Apple executed so well (and at half the price that people had imagined) that they CREATED a market out of whole cloth. Hell, half the people on Slashdot still argue that the iPad market is non-existent and will dry up just as soon as people "wake up" and realize that the device they're using is... I don't remember how the argument goes, exactly. Useless? Overpriced? Stupid? Whatever. I dont' care. The market didn't exist until iPad.

Listen, in 2007 I was a hardcore Linux user. Slackware 2, 3 -> Red Hat 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 -> Fedora 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. I walked around with a Treo. I was one of the few tablet users with a Toshiba Portege m200, an upgrade from the separate Thinkpad T-series and Vadem Clio tablet team I'd used previous to that.

In 2009 I finally grudgingly tried an iPhone and a day later had one of my own. By 2010 I was all Apple with an iPhone, an iPad, and a Macbook Pro. It's not because I'm an apple fanboy. I *was* a Linux fanboy and an irrational Apple critic, and I realize that only in retrospect.

Maybe you don't like Apple products, but to question whether or not they created the market for capacitive touch low-button smartphones or capacitive touch tablets that run a mobile OS? That makes you sound like an irrational Apple critic of the same sort that I was.

Apple makes fabulous stuff. They are *not* the Apple of 1997, but most Slashdot Apple critics don't realize that because they're steadfastly trying to convince themselves either that (1) Apple is incompetent at everything but marketing (despite a decade and a half of growth) or (2) Apple is the second coming of Microsoft (who was never, ever as creative or innovative on their very best day).

Re:The market for all of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627735)

Alright so lets admit apple innovates nothing, except for UI and that includes the sleek cases because technically apple has never done anything original on the hardware side since they were headquartered in a garage, same can probably be said about microsoft. But lets not pretend apple created these markets, apple just looks at what has been done before and hasn't taken off and then shits out something with a sleek UI and all the sudden millions of fan boys have to have it because its the new trend, kind of the way fashion works, there is actually little value to the things being produced compared to whats all ready out there and what has previously been done, but because its a designer now doing it that has a following it creates and artificial valuation on something that otherwise would never have been deemed worth while. Of course by doing this they are not creating a market but helping to mature the market that has already been created (neglected) since now their is profit in this area which leads others to invest in the market driving it forward. Lets please not confuse innovators (someone who makes jeans with butt warmer) with trend setters (someone who takes a good pair of jeans and rips holes in them because they deem it the new look).

Re:The market for all of them. (2)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39627779)

I do think Apple created a product the market was ready for, and was the first to make this particular advancement step. But I don't think they would have been first had they waited much longer. I don't think they would have been first had another company let geeks and nerds make product decisions. But they do make their products good. I would have an iPhone today if they had not done things like carrier exclusivity and be the exclusive app store for it. So I have a Samsung Galaxy S II instead. Jobs might have had the genius to make lots of things a lot of people want. But he didn't have the genius to make things the way everyone wants.

Re:The market for all of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627827)

"Make things that don't suck, and the market emerges." or when all the technology involved matures enough to be useable by the masses the blindlingly obvious market product emerges.

Re:What break? (2)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39627615)

iPod? The first model lacked features (and had less space) compared to its competitors.

I really hope you're just poking fun at "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame." The only players with comparable capacities were friggin' bricks with 2.5" drives in them. Awful things. The iPod managed to put a (then) high-capacity MP3 player into a manageably small form factor, and it didn't really start to take off until they'd put out a few more generations. Also, GP did specify that Apple may not create markets per se, but they have had a colossal impact on markets that may have existed, but without much to be said for them, ie, tablets were pretty lousy niche products until the iPad.

Re:What break? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627743)

Reasonably small? The Nomads were of reasonable size at the time and provided you with two battery slots both of which could be user swapped. Remember this was at a time where the competition was primarily portable CD players and that the small form factor did have some substantial costs.

But, by buying an iPod you got lesser sound quality and less than half the storage capacity.

What apple did that was revolutionary was it through tons of money into convincing people that they needed their brand of MP3 player.

Re:What break? (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#39627697)

iPhone? A polished convergence of the touchscreen PDAs and cell phones, without a stylus.

iPod? The first model lacked features (and had less space) compared to its competitors.

On the iPhone: The first model lacked features compared to its competitors -- including the average feature phones of the time. (It still lacks features that competing phones have been commonly offering for years.) I don't know if I'd call that "polished" so much as "astonishingly incomplete"

The iPad would have been interesting, but we'd already seen several similar tablets in various stages of development the previous year.

I can't deny that they significantly expanded the smart phone and tablet markets. However, I can't honestly say that they've done anything that could be considered innovation or produced products that are as complete or even as usable as competing offerings.

Re:What break? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627175)

Is creating new markets actually a good thing for anyone other than the company that created it though? Why do we celebrate the creation of a new market as if it were equivalent to actually doing something useful?

Re:What break? (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 years ago | (#39627275)

Because creating a new market is synonymous with fulfilling a previously unrecognized need. It actually is something useful. Not useful in the same way as inventing agriculture was, but useful nonetheless.

Re:What break? (2)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 2 years ago | (#39627619)

New markets mean new opportunities for everyone. For example, the App Store's revenue is in the billions and while Apple takes a 30% cut the rest of that goes to developers. That's a lot of money and opportunity for the indie developer.

Re:What break? (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39627623)

Yeah. Consumers benefit because obviously a bunch of them want the item(s) being sold if it opens up new market space.

Re:What break? (4, Insightful)

countach (534280) | about 2 years ago | (#39627185)

Yeah, relative speaking they're "good". Relative to Bill Gates and his mob, and relative to a lot of other stuff that goes on in corporate America. Even so, they play pretty hard ball, and don't think twice about rolling over their developer community if it suits their supposedly higher purpose. And they're playing pretty hard ball in squashing the incumbents in books, music, magazines, newspapers, film, apps, etc etc. I guess some of those guys deserve to be squashed, but still its going a bit far saying Apple are pure good guys.

Re:What break? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627187)

No, none of those things they did created a new market. They just moved their brand into an existing market, and somehow, perhaps through sheer customer devotion, convinced enough people there was money in it to bring it together.

I suppose you could say it was a "massive expansion" but Woz's phrasing was "totally establishing new markets that didn't exist" and that is not true at all.

That's just rampant fanboyism.

Re:What break? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627199)

I think Woz sees Apple in a different way than anyone else (including Apple).

Lol, Apple fanboys, they remain funny (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#39627755)

Yeah, iPods, iTunes, iPhone and iPad are so new... because nobody ever heard of a walkman, online music store, mobile phone or tablet before. Nor is Apple all that succesfull, yes, they sell a LOT of a single model but in total sales, many others surpass them. (Android activations outstrip in a matter of days, total iPhone sales. iTunes sells a lot of online music but only if you don't count traditional retailers)

The parent poster claims he can't remember seeing rows of tablets before. Well, then he must not have been looking. Archos has been in the market for a long time. Of course, you could further specify that a tablet only counts if it is 8.9 inches and a certain thickness and color but most reasonable people know that tech gadgets evolve. Tablets were once laptops, then thin laptops, then those hybrid laptops whose keyboard could be hidden with a touch screen. In fact, weren't THOSE devices once called tablets?

What Apple is really good at is taking existing tech, investing a LOT in large scale production and thus beat everyone else on price. 64GB iPad when most competitors just can't afford to buy memory that cheap to compete.

But new and revolutionary? Maybe if you have blinders on and only see mainstream products but for the early adapters, the i* brandline is and always has been old hat. For example, retina display? The next thing might well be glasses type displays, holding a tablet is so last month.

And for all that mainstream innovation we get one of the most evil patent company out there. Mind you, I have long had the impression Woz is a willing slave. Jobs screwed him over so many times and still he comes back begging for more. He knows a thing or two about computers but socially, he is a tool. Crying patents will destroy innovation while defending a company that only copies and sues everyone under the sun seems to me to suggest a person with a limited grasp of the world. Gosh, a geek with problems understanding the world. How unusual.

Stop trying to excuse your need for a shiny toy with trying to think Apple is cool or nice or different. It is not. Buy your shiny and accept your dollars support slavery and patent wars and the removal of jobs from the west. Just don't be a hypocrite about it.

Oh Please ... (2, Informative)

giorgist (1208992) | about 2 years ago | (#39627123)

Google creates cloud print ... release the code and makes it available to everybody
Apple creates Airprint ... patent encumbers it and puts barbed wire around it and anybody with a similar idea

Re:Oh Please ... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627149)

Like the DLNA open-standard, then Apple creates lock-in with its proprietary 'AirPlay' instead.

Re:Oh Please ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627201)

Um... you do realize that AirPrint support is built in to most recent linux distributions, right?
Apple implemented it in CUPS 1.4.6 (and you can get it running on earlier versions with a little work, since it's mostly just combining a few existing standards).

But why let facts get in the way of apple bashing.

Re:Oh Please ... (3, Informative)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#39627365)

Erm, well except for the fact that Apple created AirPrint first (Sept 15, 2010), and THEN google released theirs (Jan 10, 2011). Silly facts always getting in the way of a good point.

Re:Oh Please ... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627421)

I don't think he was attempting to list it in chronological order, the point still stands: Google creates something and releases it freely, Apple creates something and locks it down. Airprint/Cloudprint isn't a good example, but DLNA vs AirPlay is, they could have used DLNA and allowed interoperability with existing devices but instead they deliberately prevented it by creating a proprietary, closed competitor.

Re:Oh Please ... (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 2 years ago | (#39627627)

Have Google released the source code to their search engine?

Thought not.

Re:Oh Please ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627649)

Have Google released the source code to their search engine?


Thought not.

What's that got to do with interoperability protocols/mechanisms? I suppose fanboys rushing to defend apple don't care about nor understand the context of the discussion to which they are replying, such is the way with peabrains like yourself.

Creative energy gone from Apple (1)

amasiancrasian (1132031) | about 2 years ago | (#39627125)

If you looked at the recent Apple store front displays, or even their recent TV advertisements, they're horrible. They're nowhere as good as the Steve Jobs era TV ads (the Siri ad was very robotic, and the iPad ad didn't put the human using the iPad in the limelight, but the iPad itself and how wonderful its screen is: the narration made me think it was a bank commercial when I didn't look towards the TV). Instead, the Apple storefront displays feature some preprinted image of their latest product, instead of the crazy floating balloons.

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627197)

I don't think it was there to begin with. They weren't creative. Tablets were around forever before the i-maxi but the technology was just too expensive, and touchscreens still sucked so they were prohibitive. If microsoft would have kept pushing its tablets until the tech became cheap enough the market for i-maxi's never would have existed and apple would be more irrelevant now than they are now. Their products suck, end of story.

MOBILE LINUX TO THE RESCUE!

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627209)

Please give it up, unless you're talking about Linux insofar as Android, no one wants to hear it. I use Linux, but don't delude myself into thinking that the populace is going to walk around using Ubuntu (stupid name, no one cares about it's significance/meaning). No one cares about KDE/Gnome/XFCE, and they are not going to walk around entering Bash commands. Before you say it, Linux is NOT at the point in which you don't ever have to use the terminal.

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39627433)

My wife saw me print a document the other day by typing "lpr name.pdf" and she made me show her how to do it, because it is way faster than starting an application and clicking your way through a bunch of dialogs.

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627483)

My wife saw me print a document the other day by typing "lpr name.pdf"

as much as you linux users would like to think it, xeyes [wikipedia.org] doesn't count as your spouse.

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (2)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#39627485)

EXCELENT.

It's nice to see that "normal" people (or at least, some of them) are realizing that U.I. is not that marvelous panacea for all the computer problems.

Indeed it makes a lot of things easier. But not all of them, and not always!

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627687)

OK, you work for "Linux Weekly News" and after X years of marriage, you finally found one use case where you wife might be interested in a shell command. Congrats.

(Then she tries lpr ~/Desktop/My Cool Files/Letter to Grandma.odt and has to call you because the printer is exploding binary symbols.)

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#39627625)

Before you say it, Linux is NOT at the point in which you don't ever have to use the terminal.

And neither is OSX, or Windows.

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (1, Troll)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39627413)

Indeed. And the 3rd gen iPad is way wide of the mark too. Heavier, hotter, sucks battery, all because Tim Cook couldn't think of any way to improve it except to crank resolution up way past anything anybody actually wanted. Oh, and not give it a proper name. Let's see how that works out.

I can say this much in favor of Tim Cook: he did a great job of setting the stage for further gains by Android.

Re:Creative energy gone from Apple (-1, Troll)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39627707)

Indeed. And the 3rd gen iPad is way wide of the mark too. Heavier, hotter, sucks battery, all because Tim Cook couldn't think of any way to improve it except to crank resolution up way past anything anybody actually wanted. Oh, and not give it a proper name. Let's see how that works out.

I can say this much in favor of Tim Cook: he did a great job of setting the stage for further gains by Android.

I do not agree that my post is a troll, Apple mods. Please get this through your koolaid addled skulls: crticism is not trolling. Far from it, I actually complimented Tim Cook for the good work he has done in the aid of ridding us all of the Apple menace.

Collective Amnesia (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627161)

Everyone is going to forget about how apple tries to stop everyone with vague patents: lock screens, touch screens, tablets, launching applications by touching icons.

Yep (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627173)

I'm trying to do the indie developer thing and I know that after these years of working full-time on a product with an upcoming initial release, the biggest threat to me isn't product failure but a frivolous patent suit burying me and likely making me give up the results of all the thousands of hours I've invested. I still plan on releasing this particular product, but the extensions and off-shoots I'll write for it will either stay private (and I'll make my money in a completely different field) or I'll end up moving to another country without software patents. It's shitty that the U.S. patent system is basically set up to force non-rich people to work for others (and thus have some indemnity), or pair up with lawyers to become pure patent trolls. In my worse moments, I've considered the latter as a sort of "this is what you've turned me into!" revenge fantasy.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627235)

This isn't meant to sound harsh, and I wish you the best of luck, but you're assuming way to much that your app will even be noticed enough to warrant a frivolous suit.

Re:Yep (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#39627519)

Better safe than sorry.

There's no evidence that his app will not be the next blockbuster neither. I would cope with his preocupations than with your lack of it.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627525)

I said it was the biggest threat to me, not that it's a certainty. And isn't it kind of sad that the basic logic here is that so long as your work isn't very successful or popular, you'll probably be safe? Even so, many of the apps named in that patent suit last year (I believe it was for in-app purchases, which is provided using Apple APIs) were ones I hadn't heard of. I think there are getting to be more shakedown artists, aka patent holders, with low standards.

(Btw, I appreciate your tone. I like it when we ACs are nice.)

Possibly (2, Interesting)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39627223)

When it comes to patents stifling competition is, at the minimum, part of the equation, I wonder what would happen with no patents at all, the ultimate form of competition?

Re:Possibly (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39627247)

You mean no patents for junk ideas as well as for the few gems of innovation? Then I suspect maybe a few innovators might be discouraged. But corporations will still continue, sans a few overpaid lawyers.

Re:Possibly (1)

Therad (2493316) | about 2 years ago | (#39627373)

The big corporations will still steal ideas, but this time, the. Smaller fish atleast have a small chance of survival.

A more interesting idea would be to make patents person-specific. I.e no company can ever own patents, only humans can.

Re:Possibly (1)

rdebath (884132) | about 2 years ago | (#39627889)

That's easy, for patents, the environment hasn't changed much since the Patent was invented.

So if a "little guy" gets a markable idea a big company will come along, copy it, and use it's larger manufacturing capacity to put through a shitty knock off before the little guy gets the first one out of the door. If the little guy tries to go to court (which will still in theory be possibly) he'll be swamped under lawyers. If two middle size companies come out with similar products at the same time they'll sue each other and waste lots of court time trying to convince everyone that the other guy knocked them off.

So nope, patent reform is needed, abolishing patents is still a really bad idea.

NB: The "equation" is different for copyrights though.

The patent system encourages this behavior (5, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39627227)

As long as we have a patent system that blindly issues a patent to damn near anything applied for, even though there's no real innovation involved ... e.g. stuff that the best engineers/programmers in their field could do without much effort if given a task that needs it, then we'll be having these wars. Patents need to be limited to the kinds of innovation that that we simply would not have if the applicant had not figured it out or spent the extensive effort and cost to come up with it.

Fundamentally, patents are themselves a government sanction theft of intellectual property from those that invent it, just because they didn't invent it first. Only because we can't know whether someone did invent it, or did steal it, do we justify a patent (which is really nothing more than government sanctioned exclusivity). But our patent office is not working to filter genuine innovation from trivia ideas. A few years ago I scanned over some random patents, selecting those in areas I happened to know, and found that the vast majority were easily doable, and not innovation. The ratio was around 500 (junk) to 1 (innovation). This was one sampling, so that can be off. I only used higher numbers spanning about the last 5 years at that time.

So it's not really the corporations doing this. They have to react this way under such a system, or end up being a loser. This is why we need an epic-major overhaul of the patent system itself, and not some minor tweaks that politicians have paid lip service to.

I have written more detail about this recently here [wordpress.com] .

Re:The patent system encourages this behavior (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627541)

You see, the most innovation I've seen spurred by patents is in vocabulary. Estimator, intepolator, filter are all the same thing. As when Apple changed MP3 player to iPod, or streamming to podcast. Companies have managed to master the language to get away with ambiguous patents. If something the most innovation is into tricking the patent office into accepting anything that will serve as a weapon against other companies.

Re:The patent system encourages this behavior (2)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39627703)

Apple's greatest innovations are much the same as Microsoft's ... extreme marketing.

Re:The patent system encourages this behavior (1)

IrrepressibleMonkey (1045046) | about 2 years ago | (#39627817)

Apple's greatest innovations are much the same as Microsoft's ... extreme marketing.

Even if we take that statement on face value, without Apple's "extreme marketing" the current market for tablets (and arguably consumer-targeted smartphones) would not exist. Innovation that refines a product category and creates the market for it to be sold? That's not something to be derided.

Oh, nonsense. (4, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 years ago | (#39627251)

Apple's savior is an MP3 player. They didn't invent the market, they just made it shinier than it was before.

If you've read Jobs's bio, he was ready to go nuclear on Google over Android, so yes, Apple's just as ready as anybody else to pound you into sand if you dare try to make anything resembling their products. Apple is not a good guy. If you love Apple products, they're just YOUR bad guy.

Finally, few people are qualified to tell whether the newly appointed head of a half TRILLION dollar company is going to be successful. Woz is probably more qualified than I am, but not by much. Tbh, I truly believe the only people who are really qualified to know are living in 2017, if not 2022 or so. Ask one of them.

LoL (3, Insightful)

daath93 (1356187) | about 2 years ago | (#39627289)

Really? Woz is actually going to say anything about patent trolling being bad after his company has just about sued everyone who makes something with a rectangular screen for patent infringement? THAT is f'n priceless.

Re:LoL (3, Insightful)

Kahlandad (1999936) | about 2 years ago | (#39627599)

Woz wanted to give away the Apple I schematics for free... I don't think he's the Apple founder you should be bashing.

Re:LoL (1)

SendBot (29932) | about 2 years ago | (#39627747)

If you know anything about Woz, you'd know that he has zero influence on Apple's legal activities. Just because he's a celebrity and collects a check doesn't mean he actually works for them or tells them what to do. He's admitted in many different ways he just wants to build and hack, not run a company.

Monopoly through patent holdings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627303)

Whatever happened to braking up Companies that have a monopoly over industry?

There was a time when this kind of corporate behavior was kept in check.

Not just following the formulas of other companies (3, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39627343)

I disagree. Apple is following the formula of Microsoft, which is to abide by no morals and have no shame.

Re:Not just following the formulas of other compan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627671)

That's the problem of most if not all very successful companies. I believe that's because of two things: when hugely successful you start to attract a new kind of people; people to whom power and imperial dreams are their main driving forces. Remember "world domination"? And successful, dominant companies naturally gets more interested in defending their position rather than to continue to act like a entrepreneurial company.

Apple makes over priced prototypes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627439)

Apple, has for the last 2 decades made over priced prototypes for others to copy. Maybe if they could get back to the roots that Woz innovated, well maybe. (disclosure I'm short the stock for what I think is a good reason)

Idea about how to solve this patent mess (1)

magsk (1316183) | about 2 years ago | (#39627503)

First I think patents are outdated, and the future will be filled with trade secrets instead of patents.

Anyway, one of the rules of earning a patent are that it is simply an improvment on an existing thing. So wouldnt it make sense for HTC for example to patent their entire HTC one x, that will soon be released? Then all the item s in that phone are no longer patent protected from the software to chips , because the act of putting them all together in the configuration that the HTC one x, did is a clear improvement on them as pieces.

Is it not an improvement of the 3g chip or the java software when they are put together to create the phone?

I think it would hold up, I remember reading this article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/business/15schumer.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com] And the main villain in it Claudio Ballard said the following, ot justify his patents “I didn’t invent the scanner; I didn’t invent networking, or computers or software,” he said. “But I am an expert at systems integration, and I created this complete end-to-end solution” for digital check processing.

Yes and no (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#39627517)

I largely agree with what Woz said but..... Since Steve Jobs died they can't seem to figure out what to name the next generation iPad. I never bought an iPhone or iPad before but I did buy the latest one and I find myself having to describe which one it is instead of using an actual name. The other thing is I switched a while back to Apple because I got sick of Microsoft updating every time I turned around and I had in the past better luck with Apple. I was shocked at the Lion upgrade which made a mess of my machine. A recent update added to the mess. The worst was iTunes which some one thought it'd be cool to get rid of "Hide iTunes" and make it really slow to unhide the bottom menu bar, which is now the only way short of turning it off to get rid of iTunes, and sometimes that doesn't work so I end up having to turn off iTunes just to get out of it. I guess they want to trap you in some vain hope you'll buy more. Instead I rarely turn it on now and use my Touch for music. Across the board I've noticed Apple software released in the last year seems buggier than in the past. It feels like they are rushing stuff to market rather than doing a proper debugging. One example is Author which has lots of issues like after my first few attempts it no longer accepts Keynote files and even a reinstall couldn't sort out the mess. Also sound clips refuse to loop. There are a few other issues I just wish it was more stable. Hard to layout a book when you don't know what content it'll accept. Also they released it without iPhone or Touch support. They also dropped support for Mpeg and only support that bastard M4p format that Apple came up with. What's a pain is only Compressor 4 and I take it the latest Final Cut Pro support that format in 2K and Compressor sucks and Final Cut Pro is now iMovie Pro so I avoid it like the plague. My point is it feels like chaos is setting in. I hope I'm wrong but if not the company could be a mess in another year. Steve Jobs was the ring master and the lions don't seem to know what to do now that he's gone. They might start eating the audience if some one doesn't take control.

"He still gives Apple a bit of a break:" (3, Interesting)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#39627543)

He still gives Apple a bit of a break: "Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them,”

And I would do the same.

I'm not stupid to bash and kill my own cash cow.

Anyway, I always liestened to what this guy said all these years.

He is a good engineer, but not just it: he likes and encourages good technology no matters from who.

*Apple* is the good guy? (3, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#39627561)

Seriously, what a fucking blind spot, Woz. If anything, Apple is the most vicious patent suer of all. I really hope B&N fucks Apple's patent portfolio for good.

I am particularly irritated by Woz's assertion, because it just plays into the zombie-Jobs reality distortion field.

Re:*Apple* is the good guy? (0)

IrrepressibleMonkey (1045046) | about 2 years ago | (#39627787)

I really hope B&N fucks Apple's patent portfolio for good.

Er, how's that? I'm not aware of the patent dispute between Apple and B&N. Can you provide some insight? (Unless this is just blind fandroid rage and you've somehow managed to confuse Microsoft and Apple...)

Re:*Apple* is the good guy? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#39627835)

Seriously, what a fucking blind spot, Woz. If anything, Apple is the most vicious patent suer of all. I really hope B&N fucks Apple's patent portfolio for good. I am particularly irritated by Woz's assertion, because it just plays into the zombie-Jobs reality distortion field.

At least answer Woz's claim, instead of bashing him on something irrelevant to his point. He didn't say Apple was better because of suing less, he said something different. It was mentioned in the summary.

Ideas? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#39627613)

I always thought patents were about products and not idea. There are too many "gee i think I can make something that does something interesting" and write a vague design. It has never been built and never researched. Cas in point the touch sensitive floor. IBM has not built one but they got the patent anyway. The problem is that no one else can develop it because someone already has the patent even if they never develop it themselves. Ideas are a dime a dozen and should not be patentable.

Is Woz still relavent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627633)

Just asking a question, not making a statement.

Of course Apple wants to stifle startups (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627637)

Apple was on the other side. Now they're the big boys. 40 years ago they blueboxed. Now the garage is jailbreaking.

The revolutionary *always* ends up becoming the new boss, same as the old boss. It's like when a country goes communist and ends up having a royal bloodline (Castro, Kim). Of course they're not going to start out at the inception and say, "I want to be king". No. It starts with a revoluion. It ends with a king a few decades later. Legions of boiled frogs love the dear leader. Duh!

Re:Of course Apple wants to stifle startups (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39627931)

If you had not narrowed it to just "communist" and just did "dictatorial" in general, then you could have also included Syria.

Revolution! We need a country of WOZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39627757)

We could patent everything and have it stolen by someone named steve/china.

WOZ country: *accepting applications* - no one named steve need apply

Why doesn't Woz ever lead the company (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 2 years ago | (#39627823)

He's like the Porsche of Volkswagen. "You surly nazis have your car of immense engineering that'll hold the same basic design over the next 70 years & have at least 2 more generations of car based on it afterwards? Porsche out!"

as usual, add "In the US" to title (2)

Alkonaut (604183) | about 2 years ago | (#39627935)

It don't think this patent debacle stifles innovation or startups, I think it does so in the US because of a broken patent system and borked legal system. Incubate your startup company somewhere where it can either fail, or grow large enough to stand up to the patent trolls before they ever find themselves in that situation.

If I started a company in the US, an attorney or patent advisor would be person #3 involved. In europe I'd be confident to run a much larger innvoation-heavy a startup with without legal advise. I'm not shitting you: you can run a company for years with dozens of employees and not even have a business card from a lawyer in your office.

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