Is Google Apple’s next courtroom sparring partner?

By , Aug 28, 2012

Samsung’s $1 billion loss to Apple last week may have widespread repercussions, including Google’s Android software. What previously was a proxy cold war with cell phone makers, the stand-in soldiers, could heat up dramatically and place the Mountain View, Calif. firm squarely in the middle of Apple’s legal radar and making Steve Jobs’ threatened “thermonuclear war” over Android a reality.

That legal war “is drawing closer to Google’s doorstep,” reports the New York Times. The court ruling that Samsung violated Apple patents related to changing a screen’s view or tapping to zoom closer are all part of Android. Indeed, Google just recently removed from Android a feature that bounces your iOS screen to indicate you’ve reached the bottom. Dumping that feature from Android was more out of “design reasons” than Samsung’s courtroom defeat, a source told the Times.

One analyst believes Samsung’s loss will prompt Google to get its Android patent house in order.

“What it means for the Android folks is a very careful review, back to the drawing board, including a close examination of Apple’s stable of patents to weed out anything that looks risky,” Forrester’s Charles Golvin said.

Google is also lending legal support to its hardware partners, the Times reports. Until recently, Google could keep Apple at arm’s length, releasing statements that lawsuits against handset makers “don’t relate to the core Android operating system.” Because the Internet giant doesn’t directly financially benefit from the free Android software, Apple viewed Samsung and other Android device makers as softer targets.

Then came Motorola Mobility. When Google purchased the Android handset manufacturer, not only did it gain more control over the end-to-end process along with a boatload of patents, the acquisition also provided a more direct entry for legal challengers.

But the patent picture is not lopsided in Apple’s favor. Along with Google Maps, Google search is part of the iPhone’s Safari. Other popular Google apps, such as Gmail, could be pulled from Apple’s App Store.

It is possible Apple and Google could form some sort of frenemies relationship akin to that in place with Samsung. Although Apple sued Samsung repeatedly, the Cupertino, Calif. company still uses components from the South Korean company in its iPhone and iPad.

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  • http://yoursn0w.com Ali Wadi

    These days too many news about Lawsuit and less on useful news on our iDevices :(

    I wish they can settle theses down easily and let us as a “consumer” have the best available product to buy…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/eldadlarbi Eldad King

    Apple is going to suffer immensely from all this fights even if they win. Their devices will go out of fashion soon if they do not thread with caution.

    • http://twitter.com/doubleaa25 Adham

      Many people say they are killing innovation. Maybe they are. But you need to keep note that they PATENTED the stuff they created, meaning it’s theirs and if they want to sue people who infringe on the patents they can.

      And personally if Google, Samsung, and other Android companies were smart, they would have tried to get a cross-licensing agreement like Microsoft did. Then they would be spared of the lawsuits.

      My opinion, hate me if you want.

  • http://twitter.com/Pitchy Pitchy

    If Apple keeps up with this, then I am done with them. I just sold my iPad this weekend and bought a Galaxy Note Tablet. Only time will tell if that was a good idea, but all of these lawsuits are leaving a bad taste in my mouth when I mutter the word Apple.

    • JamesR624

      Im all for what you are saying but as far as android tablets go, you coulda’ done much better. Nothing to do with samsung personally but the screen and hardware quality is horrible on the Galaxy Note 10.1. I would’ve suggested either a Nexus 7 or a Asus Transformer Pad TF300 or Infinity TF700. Both are much higher quality and both Google (obviously) and ASUS are very good at getting android updates out quickly.

      • http://twitter.com/Pitchy Pitchy

        I looked at the Transformer Infinity with the 1080p screen and I love what they are doing with the battery pack in the keyboard dock… but my wife and I do a ton of stuff with photoshop as that is her career and more of a hobby with mine but I do a lot of web design stuff at work… so the S Pen thing seems awesome for that.

        I think our 12 yr old is going to love the hell out of the S Note – Formula thing for her math classes.

        I watched a review between the Infinity and the Note on youtube…. I believe it was MobileTech who did it and midway through the review the screen crapped out on the Infinity which made me a bit skeptical as she just finished talking about quality control and how Samsung does a lot better at q/a and Asus was trying to catch up.

        I will probably pick up an iPad mini for xmas just because I will definitely miss a lot of my apps… Our youngest wants a Kindle Fire but I imagine we will pick her up a Nexus 7 for xmas as well.