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Apple and HTC Settle Patent Dispute

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the come-together dept.

Android 179

An anonymous reader writes "HTC and Apple have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential. From the article: '"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," Peter Chou, HTC's chief executive, said in a statement. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, also expressed relief in a statement. "We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation," he said.'"

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HTC can't compete anymore (5, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 2 years ago | (#41950277)

HTC uesd to be a legitimate contender, so Apple did all they could to block them from the market. With all the resources HTC has diverted to the patent wars, they can't really compete anymore and Apple probably doesn't see them as a legitimate contender. Apple probably just figures they might as well suck whatever money's left taking from them. Borrowing from the Ars article on the same topic, HTC (read: the little guys) is just the upfront victim of the patent wars.

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950339)

Don't worry, patent law doesn't need reform. IBM said so.

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (4, Interesting)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41951029)

HTC used to be a legitimate contender, so Apple did all they could to block them from the market. With all the resources HTC has diverted to the patent wars, they can't really compete anymore and Apple probably doesn't see them as a legitimate contender. Apple probably just figures they might as well suck whatever money's left taking from them. Borrowing from the Ars article on the same topic, HTC (read: the little guys) is just the upfront victim of the patent wars.

HTC now is (as far as I know) now the only company with full access to apple's patents. If those patents really are as valuable as Apple claims, HTC is now in a great position to roll out some strong products. In fact, since they could make android handsets they are in a unique position to use both the Apple and Google patents. If HTC isn't in imminent danger, the next few years could be amazing for them.

Attack of the Clones (1)

huckamania (533052) | about 2 years ago | (#41951507)

Only with bigger screens, more memory and better performance. Unless there is a prohibitive per-unit cost, they will also be cheaper. Apple may have made a boo-boo.

Re:Attack of the Clones (0)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about 2 years ago | (#41951631)

Apple may have made a boo-boo.

Well then just give them some go-go juice, honey chil'!

Re:Attack of the Clones (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41951741)

Apple didn't make a mistake.

They just got access to all the patents of some of the slickest phone designers with the best screens, more memory, and better performance, experienced in two different Operating Systems. You said so yourself, and then turned around an awarded the score to HTC. What kind of reasoning is that?

Apple is the clear winner here. HTC gains only legal relief. Nothing Apple has patented is of value, except as a club to beat others with.

The HTC ONE line of phones puts Apple to shame. Whether its the Windows Phone version or the Android version, HTC designs are top notch, even better than Samsung. HTCs problem is they have spent so much time and money fighting Apple they have nothing left to bribe the purchasing agents for the big carriers into accepting their phones (unlike Samsung).

Apple could use HTC's expertise. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple purchase them outright or at least gain a majority stock position. If they did that, they would have a beachhead into both Windows Phone and Android, because its easy to see that IOS is beginning its death spiral, and Apple has to do something.

Re:Attack of the Clones (2, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#41952291)

...because its easy to see that IOS is beginning its death spiral...

iOS is beginning its death spiral? Are you joking? It's market percentage might be decreasing (and it seems to actually be holding pretty steady right now, going up in one quarter, down in another, and back up again) but it's unit sales continue to rise - their declining percentage is simply an indication of how fast the entire market is growing. Other manufacturers/OSes are seeing their unit sales decline but Apple most certainly isn't one of them. Their sales figures have been on a constant upward trajectory (with the only slowdowns easily attributable to consumers waiting for the new iPhone and thus delaying purchase).

If that's a death spiral, I think a lot of companies want to be in a death spiral...

Re:Attack of the Clones (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41952501)

I said BEGINNING its death spiral. That you can't see a trend right before your very eyes says more about you than Apple.

Top Execs fired at apple for major maps failures.
Deliberate production caps on new releases just so they can say they sold out.
Iphone 5 sales faltering [opposingviews.com] .
3 out of 4 [huffingtonpost.com] smartphones purchases are Android.

Apple needs a refresh. Their initial sale clime with every new release is merely eating their own young, reselling to the same customer base while quietly running buy-back programs [arstechnica.com] to take their old units off the street.

You are confusing deployed numbers with new new purchases which blinds you to trends. With a 3 year head start, Apple has a lot of faithful, who re-buy Apple each time. But New (first time) smartphone phone buyers are going 54% to Android [nielsen.com] and a distant 36% to Apple. The irresistible lure of Apple has worn off.

The market is calling TOP for Apple right now.

Re:Attack of the Clones (-1, Troll)

zieroh (307208) | about 2 years ago | (#41952533)

Deliberate production caps on new releases just so they can say they sold out.

Citation, please. Provide it or shut the fuck up.

Re:Attack of the Clones (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41953161)

Deliberate production caps on new releases just so they can say they sold out.

Citation, please. Provide it or shut the fuck up.

http://news.techeye.net/mobile/apple-pulls-out-all-the-marketing-stops [techeye.net]

There you go.
I here it helps if you put your hand over your ears and sing LA LALA LA real loud.

Re:Attack of the Clones (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41952293)

Apple is the clear winner here. HTC gains only legal relief. Nothing Apple has patented is of value, except as a club to beat others with.

If that legal relief includes exemption from being beating with that club, regardless of what they do, that might well be a great competitive advantage on its own.

Re:Attack of the Clones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952521)

HTC does actually make a pretty decent phone. I have an HTC phone and I only have two complaints about it: HTC makes crappy radios, and Sense can be annoying at times.

Re:Attack of the Clones (0)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41953067)

Never had a problem with their radios. (Presumably you mean the radios in their phones, which of course, they don't make).

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (3, Interesting)

Raumkraut (518382) | about 2 years ago | (#41952149)

HTC now is (as far as I know) now the only company with full access to apple's patents.

Interesting thought.
If there's one thing we've learnt about Apple, it's that they don't like to share. I can't imagine that full cross-licensing of their patents (current and future!) was a desirable outcome for Apple, going into this litigation.

Either Apple were set to lose, badly, or there's scheming afoot...

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 2 years ago | (#41953369)

Maybe cooler heads prevailed. From one country to another the courts were ruling this way or that way. Maybe each decided the ($legal costs + penalties in losing countries) > (potentially losing market on giving competitor access to patents). We can debate which party got the short end of the deal in terms of licensing fees or competitor access to patents, but in the end it was probably a better outcome for both than to throw money in a black hole of litigation, penalties, and sales bans. I think it will be better for the consumer to. Many of those patents are pretty trivial. There's probably a few gems in there, but most are the kind of thing any experienced engineer/programmer would have come up with on their own when faced with a similar hurdle to overcome.

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 years ago | (#41951073)

With all the resources HTC has diverted to the patent wars, they can't really compete anymore...

Whilst I'm sure lawyers aren't cheap, engineers aren't cheap either... And for a company with resources as HTC, I really doubt a few legal battles are a significant expenditure...

HTC aren't nowhere near as big as Apple, but with a revenue around 9 Billion USD, I doubt a few millions for lawyers is a game changer.

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (2)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 2 years ago | (#41951177)

Not sure where you're getting those numbers. In Q3 2012, HTC recorded net income of $137 million so burning millions on unnecessary lawyer fees is in the 1-10% range of their net income. That's pretty significant and a lot of revenue which could otherwise be put towards hardware or software development. God knows a few extra engineers would certainly help push out those Android updates for more models and/or earlier. Even with a cross-licensing deal, they'll probably lose millions to Apple... who knows what they're gonna get back (don't you love when they don't disclose the terms?). Such a waste.

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/08/htc-announces-3q-2012-financials/ [engadget.com]

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41951869)

HTC recorded net income of $137 million so burning millions on unnecessary lawyer fees is in the 1-10% range of their net income.

He said revenue.
You counter with net income.
He's talking Yearly.
You counter with Quarterly.

Lets keep the discussion about the same thing, mkay?

HTC still has revenue of 2,339.2 million /quarter or 9.3 Billion yearly. Source [businessweek.com] .

HTCs problems stems from Management's batshit crazy investment pattern in technologies and partnerships that drain cash and return nothing. (Beets Audio). The 13 million (USD) they lost on that stuff plus the 41 million lost fighting Apple patent suits are significant, and bring down earnings from 189.6 million to 134.4. (Quarterly numbers)

They should be plowing that money into sales efforts even if it means "bribing" the purchasing agents and management of the major carriers like some of the manufacturers do. (You didn't for a minute assume carriers choose phones based on specs/looks/price alone did you?). Even with the fanciest gear, if a Carrier won't feature your phone because you didn't fly them to some exotic vacation resort you can't make any headway.

Re:HTC can't compete anymore (2)

greenbird (859670) | about 2 years ago | (#41952175)

HTC aren't nowhere near as big as Apple, but with a revenue around 9 Billion USD, I doubt a few millions for lawyers is a game changer.

Your base are assumptions are way, way off. From SFGate [sfgate.com] :

Compare those accomplishments with recent investments by Apple and Google, and you'll be disappointed. Collectively, the two have spent an estimated $400 million on litigation expenses fighting the so-called "smartphone wars," a worldwide spate of patent suits that so far has done little more than enrich lawyers and reduce consumer choice in the mobile device market.

Shockingly, both companies spent far more in the last two years simply purchasing patents - new ammunition for the patent war effort - than they invested in research and design.

They spend more on patent wars then they do on research.

Why am I reminded of (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950285)

the SCO Linux licensing agreements by this?

Re:Why am I reminded of (2)

kasperd (592156) | about 2 years ago | (#41950311)

the SCO Linux licensing agreements by this?

Because one case was about copyright and the other was about patents?

Re:Why am I reminded of (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#41951129)

If, in either case, you'd need a massive war chest (of patents, money, or otherwise) and an army of lawyers just to keep your product out of Injunction Junction*, does such a detail matter for groups who want to make hardware without getting hounded by a protection-fee landmine?

I think it doesn't matter, and that it's just as much of a icky travesty here as there. That the settle-terms are confidential here suggest the patents in question may (at least as of now) be inherently non-FRAND too. It's just a legal mess all around.

*Any reference to this video [youtube.com] is unintentional and purely coincidental.

First sigh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950287)

Of collective relief.

Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950305)

Could it be that HTC have started performing badly as a company, so Apple don't consider them worth the lawyer fees any more?

Re:Coincidence? (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#41950595)

Could it be that HTC have started performing badly as a company, so Apple don't consider them worth the lawyer fees any more?

That's certainly what tech crunch implies about HTC [techcrunch.com] . Now that HTC has switched to Windows they can be considered as dead:

This settlement with HTC is essentially a sign that Apple considers it a competitor neutralized, and that’s far from the case with Samsung.

I think that, in the spring once Microsoft's marketing money has disappeared, HTC may start coming out with competitive Android models again and has a decent chance of a revival.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | about 2 years ago | (#41951027)

Now that HTC has switched to Windows they can be considered as dead:

Have I missed something here? The One X+ which is out in the coming days ships with Android, doesn't it?

Re:Coincidence? (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951159)

Have I missed something here? The One X+ which is out in the coming days ships with Android, doesn't it?

LG have benefited from dropping Microsoft and focussing on Android. HTC claimed [and I would agree with them] that one of the reasons for its drop in the market was sending a confusing message to customers with too many models. That said, If HTC is large enough to support multiple platforms. I think it *could* be a great idea, unfortunately I think creating a new market with an exciting product could have been great. I suspect sharing the 2% *Microsoft* share of the market a bad idea; choosing a failed product and trying to make it work where other companies have failed, although in context of this Article, choosing Microsoft may well have been necessary for the negotiations.

Re:Coincidence? (2)

occasional_dabbler (1735162) | about 2 years ago | (#41951267)

I remain to be convined that the Windows phone OS is dead. MSFT still has massive market presence and has a good chance of bulldozing Win 8 and all its siblings through to some sort of success. The big differentiator over previous MSFT moblile OSs is that it isn't rubbish. I have an HTC 8X and despite the very valid concerns over the app availability, the device itself is slick and gorgeous.

I suspect that HTC's strong involvement with MSFT did have a bearing on Apple settling with them; not because they think they're going to die but because they are taking themselves out of the frontline of Jobs' jihad

Re:Coincidence? (5, Informative)

punit_r (1080185) | about 2 years ago | (#41950677)

Could it be that HTC have started performing badly as a company, so Apple don't consider them worth the lawyer fees any more?

That and a few more. I imagine it to be a mixture of several factors:

1. HTC successfully managed to transfer cases to a venue away from Californian courts

2. ITC found only one of the four / five Apple's patents to be valid and infringed by HTC devices (one related to data-tapping, i.e., detecting links, phone number etc within emails and texts)

3. HTC won a case in Europe on similar patents, where most of Apple's patents were deemed invalid. Only one was deemed valid, and HTC was found not to infringe that.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57466424-94/u.k-judge-htc-phones-do-not-infringe-apple-patents/ [cnet.com]

4. Judges in Delaware found that few of HTC standard essential patents to be likely valid and possibly infringed by Apple and HTC exploring seeking an injunction against iPhone 5 and new iPads using these patents.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57509251-37/u.s-judge-htc-patents-likely-valid-in-apple-suit/ [cnet.com]

So, Apple saw a possibility of loosing the case.

It is still significant development coming from Apple. They have repeatedly held that they are not in the business of licensing "product differentiating features". Only known licensing deal is with Microsoft and Nokia. HTC is the first company which also manufactures Android phones to have reached a settlement with Apple.

Re:Coincidence? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951657)

So, Apple saw a possibility of loosing the case.

Does nobody around here know how to spell LOSE? I hate being a spelling and grammar nazi, but seriously, what the fuck?!

loose

Adjective: Not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached: "a loose tooth".
Synonyms: adjective. lax - slack - free

Verb: Set free; release: "the hounds have been loosed".
Synonyms: release - loosen - untie - unfasten - unbind - undo

lose

Verb: 1. Be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something): "I've lost my appetite". 2. Cause (someone) to fail to gain or retain (something): "you lost me my appointment at the university".
Synonyms: miss - waste

Re:Coincidence? (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 2 years ago | (#41953405)

It's a homonym. Many very intelligent people will swap them and will not notice it until they proofread. Myself and several other programmers I know whom I respect as intelligent individuals, have trouble with homonyms. I sometimes swap one/won. The two words are very different spelling and meaning, so to make such a grievous error must demonstrate a significant amount of retardation on my part. I don't even understand how I'm forming these sentences!

Re:Coincidence? (1)

Viceice (462967) | about 2 years ago | (#41953053)

It is a significant development. I think the death of Steve Jobs could not have come at a better time, because if he were still around, what would be the odds of Apple settling with anybody?

Could this be the start of some major policy shifts at Apple?

damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (-1, Offtopic)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41950307)

had an HTC Inspire 4G and hated it

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950377)

Perfect summary of every Android device.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950451)

Did you finish farting out all of tim cook's semen before you posted this, or are you clenching so you can spew from a different hole?

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951319)

Currently 70% insightful and only 30% troll for what is inarguably a vile and off-topic post unworthy of any serious moderator's points. The Apple hate has never been stronger.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950665)

Perfect summary of what females think of you.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (4, Insightful)

metalmaster (1005171) | about 2 years ago | (#41950509)

HTC's One series phones are a lot better

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41950641)

that's nice

too bad for them i like the iphone or Galaxy S3

Samsung is android at this point. they are the only ones making money in the android phone sector. at least in the USA. everyone else is losing money

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41950823)

Samsung is android at this point. they are the only ones making money in the android phone sector. at least in the USA. everyone else is losing money

Simply not true, Sony is making awfully inroads. In fact its counteracting loses on its PC's. Ironically LG now they have got rid of Microsoft are profitable again. Asus is posted great success with its new nexus tablets. I also believe Google are doing quite nicely, and recently are going to focus on mobile first not second. Huawei and ZTE is doing great too. Lets be honest its a smartphone market...its an Android market

Just because your iPhone is failing, with its massive drop in market share from 23.1% to 14.9% does not mean the rest of the industry is doing badly :)

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41950881)

unit sales and revenue does not equal profits

Apple and Samsung take home something like 95% of all mobile PROFITS

for slashtarts profits is what you have left over after you build and sell your device and pay off all the costs associated with it. everyone else loses money or fights for the scraps left over

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951021)

Apple and Samsung take home something like 95% of all mobile PROFITS

LOL there is no share of profits, There are only profits...and these companies are making profits on phones. This is a lie and you can't show me the figures. Apple does overcharge its customers, but lets face it posting bullshit from the days when we still talked about the "iphone killer" simply do not fly now, even the Samsung Galaxy on its own outsells the iphone, are we meant to pretend that Google makes nothing from its play store and advertising. Bury your head in the sand, Android has hit 75% and your still claiming it to be unporfitable. You live in fantasy land.

Ironically the days of any Apple dominance are over in pursuit of those profits. In fact in the Android market Apple is struggling to remain relevant.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951257)

Ironically the days of any Apple dominance are over in pursuit of those profits.

Uh... you're delusional. Apple is doing better than it has ever done... wait, scratch that... Apple is now more profitable than any company in history ever. kthxbai.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951317)

Uh... you're delusional. Apple is doing better than it has ever done... wait, scratch that... Apple is now more profitable than any company in history ever. kthxbai.

Its market share in mobile phones has dropped from 23.1% to 14.9% its tablet share has dropped to 50.4%. Its ipod shares have shrunk to nothing, Android outsell Apple 5:1.

"the days of any Apple dominance are over in pursuit of those profits" I pretty much stand by that quote. The reality is Apple is have been riding high on market dominance [real and perceived] cashing in on all the and adopter money with massive mark-ups...but these are now mature markets. Apple has nowhere to go and its massive share drop reflects that. Lets face it its an Android world now.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951567)

Your figures need citations... looks like you're talking about the US only, where, indeed, Apple is in third place. Despite this, in 2012 alone, Apple has had more growth in mobile marketshare than any other single company, and their marketshare will continue to grow. But you go ahead and believe what you want in your twisted fantasy world, because outside of that, your worst nightmares are coming true.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (3)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951737)

Your figures need citations... looks like you're talking about the US only, where, indeed, Apple is in third place. Despite this, in 2012 alone, Apple has had more growth in mobile marketshare than any other single company, and their marketshare will continue to grow. But you go ahead and believe what you want in your twisted fantasy world, because outside of that, your worst nightmares are coming true.

I am using IDC's latest figures.

https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23771812 [idc.com] for mobile

https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23772412 [idc.com] for tablets

To put Apples market decile of 23.1% to 14.9% in some sort of perspective Android grew its market share from 52.8% to 75%.

Clearly I had no trouble backing up my figures. Perhaps you should have used an Android device to check your facts. Then you wouldn't look so foolish.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (1)

korean.ian (1264578) | about 2 years ago | (#41952099)

But you are comparing 1 company (Apple) to the multiple companies who sell Android devices (Samsung, LG, Sony, Google themselves and now apparently HTC). Certainly, Apple's market share has shrunk as other companies enter the market wit competitive products. This does not however, spell the imminent demise of Apple. if we look at Apple's quarterly report from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, we can see they actually improved profit year-on-year.

As to your comment downthread about global smart phone sales, well it seems Apple is doing alright there.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/06/15/apple-samsung-55-of-global-smartphone-sales-90-of-profits/ [forbes.com]

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41952323)

But you are comparing 1 company (Apple) to the multiple companies who sell Android devices (Samsung, LG, Sony, Google themselves and now apparently HTC). Certainly, Apple's market share has shrunk as other companies enter the market wit competitive products. This does not however, spell the imminent demise of Apple.

I will ignore your out of date figures. we are now have quarter 3 figures published, and again you have failed to supply a breakdown of profits for smartphones, or even an explanation of how the current figure is worked out [seriously they do not exist]. Please do not twist my comments into what they are not. I have nowhere claimed there Apples "imminent demise", I personally believe they have failed to make the transition from new market to mature market, and its already started to hurt them.

I would love a breakdown of profit by company on a hardware and content combined basis, but you again fail to supply a list. A mythical figure combing Apple with Samsung is equally a nonsense especially when trying to prove Apples relevance.

The bottom line is Apple is losing Market share, and its desire to keep its massive profits is the problem.The very thing you are trying to defend.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41952335)

In case I haven't enphasised how stupid and out of date this post I include this quote from the original article "“At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments,” says Michael Morgan, senior analyst, devices, applications & content.

Q3 Microsoft Phone 2%

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (3, Informative)

puto (533470) | about 2 years ago | (#41951081)

I work for ATT and we only offer 1 sony phone at a time, especially in the last year. And they are pretty too look at, but just awful phones, that no one really buys, and when they do, they are returned rather quickly, and the ones that keep them are fraught with warranty replacements. Sony is not making any inroads in the US market.

Re:damn, i was hoping HTC would die off (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951275)

Sony is not making any inroads in the US market.

The US market is irrelevant. The world market is, and Sony are now the 4th largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world [up from 7th]. Sony phones are doing awfully well.

Really? (5, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | about 2 years ago | (#41950315)

HTC thought it would be a good idea to settle with a patent troll?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950375)

They are dying. They just can't afford a prolong lawsuit anymore. Apple has little to gain from killing HTC at this point (along with risking patents validity) and HTC has little to gain from the continued lawsuit. It's a settlement because both parties really have nothing to gain from continued lawsuit.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#41950443)

A patent troll is a person or company that holds patents but doesn't create products. That being the case your comment makes no sense.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950545)

It has also come to mean a company that sues competitors with bogus patents, gaming the system etc. Rounded corners anyone?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951875)

I don't think the 'rounded corners' patent you refer to exists.

There is a patent for the front and rear outlines of the iPhone 3, but that includes not just the corners but the button and screen layout as well - which, together, are a distinctive design, not simple geometry. Is that the patent you're referring to?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950547)

Nowadays it's Foxconn that creates the products. Apple just tells them how many rows they should add when they increase the version number.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

zieroh (307208) | about 2 years ago | (#41952269)

Nowadays it's Foxconn that creates the products. Apple just tells them how many rows they should add when they increase the version number.

You need to put down the crack pipe, AC. That's about the most retarded thing I've heard anyone on slashdot say, today.

Re:Really? (-1, Offtopic)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#41950803)

Note the modding abuse. Giving the correct definition of a patent troll gets modded "off topic". The person misusing the term "insightful". How low slashdot has stooped.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951269)

We're on the internet where internet slang definitions change very very often.

That definition of patent troll might have been valid a few years ago, but now Apple is what springs to mind when those words are mentioned.

But they're basically the same, they both ask money for Imaginary Property they didn't research.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

zieroh (307208) | about 2 years ago | (#41952261)

Note the modding abuse. Giving the correct definition of a patent troll gets modded "off topic". The person misusing the term "insightful". How low slashdot has stooped.

Yep. Used to be that Slashdot was merely overrun with misguided linux fanboys pontificating on things that they somehow believed they were experts in (politics, religion, etc) in between bouts of chronic masturbation.

Nowadays, Slashdot is overrun with loudmouth fandroids who are on some kind of god-given mission to prove to everyone around them that Android is The Way and the Truth (or something like that) in between bouts of chronic masturbation.

Having spent the last ten-odd years hanging around slashdot, I feel comfortable making the observation that while the linux fanboys were occasionally annoying, they were on the whole actually intelligent and occasionally had insightful things to say. The fandroids, though, are merely chronic masturbators.

And since I've spent the last decade here amassing a pretty healthy karmic war chest, I can afford to get modded down once in a while.

Re:Really? (0, Troll)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#41952327)

Unfortunately, on Slashdot, "patent troll" means "company I don't like using their patents".

Apple and Microsoft often get labeled as patent trolls despite the fact that they invest large (and, by that, I mean ENORMOUS) amounts of resources in R&D and actually create numerous products but now it's cool to dislike them so, patent troll it is.

Samsung, however, who utilizes their FRAND patents in anti-competitive ways are cool so their "victims of patent abuse". It's how things work on Slashdot now.

I mean, really - I knew as soon as I saw the news that Apple and HTC had come to a licensing agreement that, somehow, Slashdot's crowd would find some way to vilify Apple and the majority of the comments in this thread bear that out. They reach a licensing agreement to mutually share their patents (current and future) with another company and somehow they're still perceived as the villain.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

zieroh (307208) | about 2 years ago | (#41952561)

Unfortunately, on Slashdot, "patent troll" means "company I don't like using their patents".

This.

NOT HTC !! HTPUSSY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950349)

There can be no doubt anymore !!

Non-paywalled link (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950359)

The link appears to bring up a paywall for me, either that or a bunch of ad-laden crap that privoxy flushes.

Here's a better link [pcmag.com]

So what happens now.. (1, Flamebait)

Rexdude (747457) | about 2 years ago | (#41950381)

..HTC phones come with an added Apple Tax? The article doesn't mention what the patents in question were. I have a One X, and I'll say this - If I had to choose a manufacturer skin I'd go with Sense anyday over Samsung's Touchwiz. Can't imagine what HTC might have copied off Apple if it's UI related. They have a fully customizable home screen, themes, skins, extra widgets...none of which you'll find on any iPhone.

Re:So what happens now (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41950525)

That's because us iPhone owners don't care
I change my wallpaper once every 6 months or so. I cant even remember if I even set my iPhone 5's wallpaper

Re:So what happens now (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41950945)

That's because us iPhone owners don't care
I change my wallpaper once every 6 months or so. I cant even remember if I even set my iPhone 5's wallpaper

...but the market has noticed. The market is noticing that Apple are behind on both software and hardware, and better value phones are available elsewhere, which is why Android outsells Apple 5:1.

Maybe Apple should focus on providing a great experience so disappointing users, like those over maps will not happen again. Rather than pretending the opposition its working day and night to provide great products.

Re:So what happens now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952605)

..HTC phones come with an added Apple Tax? The article doesn't mention what the patents in question were.

I don't think there will be an Apple tax. It's a cross-licensing agreement. HTC can use Apple patents and vice versa.

I have a One X, and I'll say this - If I had to choose a manufacturer skin I'd go with Sense anyday over Samsung's Touchwiz. Can't imagine what HTC might have copied off Apple if it's UI related. They have a fully customizable home screen, themes, skins, extra widgets...none of which you'll find on any iPhone.

I don't know anything about Touchwiz, but Sense sucks fairly badly. I have an HTC Sensation and I "fully customized" the home screen by installing ADW Launcher to mask the awful Sense one.

Nice followup to Why you can't build a smartphone (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 2 years ago | (#41950385)

Actually, the post was "Why you can't build your own smartphone", but that didn't fit.

It is impossible to build a smartphone without violating imaginary property laws. So no small, scrappy entrepreneur with a dream will ever be able to make one and sell it. The only people who can make smartphones are big-time players with the money to fight the lawsuits. The barrier to independent entrepreneurship to an impossible level.

Good business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950391)

Want to increase productivity, reduce costs and foster innovation ?

Just kill all the lawyers.

Re:Good business (1)

Jae686 (1203100) | about 2 years ago | (#41952231)

If I had mod points you would get +1 Insightfull

What's the angle? (5, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | about 2 years ago | (#41950395)

Very curious about what happened here?

Maybe Apple gave them decent terms as long as HTC swallowed a bit of a poison pill: the patent license deal dies if HTC is purchased by, or merges with another company (Apple did something similar with RIM). The last thing Apple wants is consolidation that would make the Android ecosystem healthier.

Or maybe MS played a role? It was reported that HTC managed to get Microsoft on side, largely by agreeing to continue to make Windows Phones'. Maybe having Microsoft on their side helped in negotiations with Apple.

Maybe it's divide to conquer? If the weaker manufacturers in the Android ecosystem have a license to use all the basic touch screen methods, and the stronger ones don't then it could lead to greater inconsistency between Android phones and could weaken the strong players (i.e. Samsung).

Ultimately, Apple's biggest threats are Samsung and Google/Nexus. I mention Nexus in particular because there is nothing that Apple & MS could hate more then the low margins of the Nexus devices. Whether or not the Nexus 4 itself is a success, the nexus line has become a threat to the traditionally high margins on mobile devices and it must have re-inforced Apple's determination to kill Android.

Re:What's the angle? (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41950505)

Very curious about what happened here?

Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel [slashdot.org]
That's what happened.

Obviously IBM couldn't have allowed a giant clusterfuck of patent lawsuits to go forward after they had just publicly said the system isn't broken.
So they engineered two massive corporations cross-licensing their portfolios in order to fit the IBM definition of "not broken"
If it makes you feel better, I'm sure the illuminati & free masons were involved and the reptilians were not.

Re:What's the angle? (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#41950527)

Apple's legal barrel is too hot. You can only engage a certain number of fronts in a certain number of courts and countries. And at a certain point if you win TOO many patent battles, you trigger anti-trust attention. It's not inconsistent, it's realpolitik.

Re:What's the angle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950697)

"Very curious about what happened here?"
Nothing particularly surprising. Like in almost every patent dispute in existence, two sides ultimately came to an agreement. Big technology companies infringe other people's patents ALL THE TIME. They get away with it because they have patents of their own, which they use as negotiating leverage. Eventually both sides agree to a valuation (i.e., whose technology is worth more) and cross-license.

Intel and AMD cross-license their technology. It just doesn't make sense for them to sue on every patent they own.

Re:What's the angle? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951235)

It's obvious... HTC is negotiating and not being unreasonable. Apple plays nice with those that play nice with Apple. Samsung could have gotten the same treatment had they played ball– Apple gave them every opportunity and then some to take responsibility for their intellectual theft, but Samsung was too arrogant and ended up owing Apple a billion dollars.

Re:What's the angle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951889)

Dude this is slashdot. How dare you not insult apple and praise innovation king Samsung!?!

Re:What's the angle? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41951253)

HTC did make a bucket load of Windows Phone and Windows CE PDA's and phones back in the day, when the iPod still had a hard drive.

Re:What's the angle? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41951263)

Expect a joint strike on Samsung in 5, 4, 3, 2, ...

Re:What's the angle? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41952391)

Ultimately, Apple's biggest threats are Samsung and Google/Nexus.

Apple's biggest threat is itself. Rather than paying as much attention as possible to the care and feeding of its millions of fanatically loyal groupies, they decided to see just how many they could drive away by developing a new corporate image as a profiteering, arrogant bully that regards environmental programs as a nuisance.

And everybody else? Patents like this = crime! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950457)

The whole situation is beyond fucked-up.

It is not acceptable, that you have to license 250,000 patents (as stated in a recent /. "article"), just to build a mobile phone.

Yeah, people who did years of research for a great idea deserve something back. But 1. PEOPLE. Not companies. NEVER companies. 2. if they did years of research, but their result is shit and so barely worth anything, but necessary, then they do NOT deserve to name their own crazy extortion prices, 3. rounded corners are NOT patentable, 4. ideas are not patentable! ideas "on a computer" are STILL not patentable! (because impossible to enforce in practice, not because good ideas wouldn't be worth anything. [not that anyone nowadays really would have a good idea. they all just have "engineer ideas". which are really shitty ones, that get realized anyway, because the "inventor" is an idiot who tried to work ten times as hard to make his shitty "ideas" come true, and so they are the ones coming true.])

I, for one, won't give a fuck about patents! They stopped existing! Whatcha gonna do? Sue? Who? I am not the one who wrote that software. It is this "anonymous person on the Internet" that nobody can get at, and even if, would end up at Apple, Monsanto or another of those criminal bastard companies, so they can sue the shit out of each other.

Patents, Copyright, Trademarks, and all that imaginary property bullshit always was a crime, and always will be!

Re:And everybody else? Patents like this = crime! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950471)

You can be sued for simply using unlicensed technology. It is illegal to make, sell, or use a patented technology without a license from the patent owner.

So yes, they'll sue YOU. They don't need to find the "anonymous person on the internet" who wrote the code.

Re:And everybody else? Patents like this = crime! (1)

afgam28 (48611) | about 2 years ago | (#41951861)

I'm not a fan of what Apple is doing in terms of litigation, but to be fair, they don't have a patent on rounded corners.

Their claim to rounded rectangles is part of a set of design patents, which includes the home button, edge-to-edge glass, the bezel, and other design features. The problem is not so much that Samsung* copied the rounded rectangles from the iPhone, but they've copied it in addition to a whole set of other design features. Lots of other phones and computing devices have rounded rectangles, so this is not in and of itself protected. But prior to Samsung's Galaxy S, I don't think there were any phones that infringed on all of Apple's claimed patents.

As an analogy, imagine if someone started a computer and smartphone company called "Apples". Apple then comes and complains that they've used the letters 'a', 'p', 'p', 'l' and 'e' in the same sequence as Apple has. Then a horde of angry Slashdotters comes and cries "Apple thinks they can trademark the letter 'a'!?!?!? The system is broken!!!!"

Yes, you can make a valid argument that Apple is abusing the system. But a half-truth like Apple has patented rounded rectangles distracts from that message, and weakens the argument.

* The rounded rectangles thing came up in the Samsung trial, not the HTC one. The HTC case is more about things like multitouch gestures like "pinch to zoom".

Re:And everybody else? Patents like this = crime! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953107)

Actually you should pay more attention. Apple does have a patent on rounded corners, they were recently awarded a patent that specifically leaves out all features such as the home button, edge-to-edge glass, the bezel and everything else. Leaves it at just the rectangle with rounded corners.

Good news (1)

Krokus (88121) | about 2 years ago | (#41950485)

"We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation"

That's great news, Tim. You've got some catching up to do. :)

Re:Good news (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41952317)

Maybe Tim Cook will innovate the iPhone again and make it another half inch longer. [youtube.com]

What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41950705)

"We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation,"

As opposed to what? 'not really focused' or 'cheap torch focused'

Cheers
The corporate-speak Nazi

Re:What? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about 2 years ago | (#41952079)

There is a rumor about that Apple does not own the patents on central parts of there iCloud technology. They are in fact held by a small company and were awarded over 5 years prior to Apples patent filing.

Android isn't free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41951045)

This is the 15th Android-related contract.
http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/11/apple-htc-settlement-is-already-15th.html

Meanwhile, Federal Trade Commission staff have formally recommended that the government sue Google over anti-trust violations involving the licensing of FRAND patents.

Yes it is. Patents abuse isn't (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951243)

This is the 15th Android-related contract.
http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/11/apple-htc-settlement-is-already-15th.html [fosspatents.com]

Meanwhile, Federal Trade Commission staff have formally recommended that the government sue Google over anti-trust violations involving the licensing of FRAND patents.

LOL android is free. Patent abuse will of course continue, with Microsoft, and Apple abusing the system for there own gains. The bottom line is Microsoft phones have hit a high of...2%, and Apples are down from 23.1% to 14.9%. Clearly they should be innovating instead of litigating.

The reality is though Patent settlements are what the mobile industry have *always* been about. Hell its part of the reason why FRAND exists.

Re:Yes it is. Patents abuse isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952151)

ROFL! Sorry to burst your bubble, and that of all the other freeloaders and Apple-gangbangers on /., but Android isn't free to use in salable products, so practically speaking Android isn't free.

Re:Yes it is. Patents abuse isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952199)

The Apple-HTC patent settlement arose because Android isn't free. FRAND exists to avoid patent licensing battles and to promote in-house developed technology.
We also have Google spending billions of dollars to acquire Motorola Mobility, and the U.S. government strongly considering suing Google over anti-trust violations involving FRAND patent licensing practices, because Android isn't even free to its principal developer, Google.

Nice sound bite Tim. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41951223)

Tim Cook wouldn't know innovation if the zombie corpse of Steve Jobs rose from the dead and bit him in the face.

Re:Nice sound bite Tim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952233)

And you're posting wisecracks on /. because you're just so amazingly hip and intelligent.

I can see it's really burning slashdotters up that Apple has settled this deal. What a sorry lot you are!

I don't expect HTC to release a Nexus device (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#41951611)

For two reasons, I thin HTC won't be commissioned by Google to make a Nexus device:
1. HTC is on its last legs, more or less. They are ready to make deals with any and all, and their willingness to have prominent Windows phones is a sign of that (I know Samsung also makes Windows phones, but in case of Samsung, they are just symbolic gestures). That makes HTC a liability, to the Android ecosystem.

2. The deal with Apple likely includes a poison pill, and Google may not want to touch HTC anymore.

Re:I don't expect HTC to release a Nexus device (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41951691)

1. HTC is on its last legs, more or less.

Not sure where this nonsense really came from, HTC were *very* successful last year on the back of Android, now other companies are producing more compelling products, and it sells less [there are other reasons], but HTC is still profitable, its just it has the same cost of sales...with lower sales. They are very far from their last legs. They are not Nokia.

As for Microsoft HTC was originally the goto manufacturer for Microsoft phones,and I don't think they ever stopped [even samsung make micosoft phones]. If they are successful they have the opportunity to steal that 2% windows market share!? from Nokia.

I agree that patents and/or patent protection is what this deal...and the new Microsoft phones are about [and that they are happening as HTC is weakened], but information is sparse. HTC still sell a lot of smartphones, and most of those are Android. Its going to be an Android manufacturer for a long time to come.

;) personally I would love to see a Nokia Nexus.

HTC's issue with Android are due to Design Choice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952075)

I can t speak for eveyone - but I had an HTC phone as my first android phone. It was OK and it wasnt enough to put me off HTC. HOWEVER... when I went looking for a new model to replace it I took my bad experiences with the phone with me when I was looking. I wanted a phone with an SD Card (micro) slot. My new phone runs a 64 GB micro SD card. That makes a huge difference over a 16GG non expandable phone.

Power was (and is) an issue on weekend days when Im using the phone a lot and Im not near a power point - so I looked for the biggest battery and reviews that said good battery life. (and since then - Ive added the ability to access and change the battery - I now carry 2 spare Batteries in my backpack. They provide me with MORE power than I can use in a day NO MATTER what I do or run on the phone.

To a lesser degree - but still something I looked for were CPU speed - and all the models I looked at just lagged a little bit behind the best - memory (no better than anyone else) and the Camera - Ive stopped carrying my point and shoot camera's because although my android phone ISNT as good - its easy, fast, always on me and I can upload any pics I take - on the spot. HTC's cameras just didnt seem to match the others....

The locking down of the bootloaders also DID NOT impress me - although its a decision they have backed away from - but with me and others it made the company seem customer unfriendly.

Where HTC DID seem to excel was in audio quality but that wasnt something I care enough about (I wear out headphones every few months and so I dont spend the money on headphones to make audio the decisive quality. WHAT DO OTHERS THINK. Why are you not buying HTC phones ?

Product innovation (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41952277)

Apple's flagship product is thug lawsuits. Apple will continue business as usual.

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