...to see any winners here.
The heads of Apple and Google are said to be in talks to try and find a solution to the current patent war over the Android operating system. Much like President Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook inherited a some-would-say pointless war from his predecessor, but unlike the politicians it seems the techies are willing to try "jaw, jaw, …
...to see any winners here.
That the lawyers are winning aplenty.
"Impossible to see any winners here."
Except we don't know what the terms of the agreement will be.
Personally what I find impossible is trying to guess what Google could possibly offer Apple to stop their lawsuits. And why would Apple do that, unless Google agreed to stop infringing Apple's patents. A royalty on for the use of some patents and an agreement to not infringe others? But *that* would require that Google and Apple agree on the exact meaning and applicability of any patent to any feature of Android and that would effectively amount to Google giving Apple a veto in any features of Android - and any disagreement would only result in... new lawsuits.
So the questions remains, what can Google offer Apple?
An interesting turn of events, if true, and if both sides are serious.
"unless Google agreed to stop infringing Apple's patents"
Err - which patents are Google infringing?
In the Samsung case the infringement was limited to Samsung's customizations, otherwise google would be in the dock.
The whole concept of Android UI ripping off the iPhone is utter rubbish in any case - the UIs are completely different
... usually don't have winners.
The BBC has published a jawdropping interview with the Jury Foreman.
"Not that there's anything [wrong] with older prior art - but the key was that the hardware was different, the software was an entirely different methodology, and the more modern software could not be loaded onto the older example and be run without error.... the key was you could not replace one for the other."
This confirms what he said in the Bloomberg interview. LMFAO. Despite this 'test' being completely inappropriate, its clear he never attempted to run Samsung's TouchWiz on Apple's iOS.
What an A1, top-of-the-wazza, complete and unadulterated f**kup.
There is no way the current verdict will stand on appeal.
P.S. the reason why I'm publishing this here is because El Reg hasn't published the Bloomberg interview nor the BBC interview. Go figure.
"Personally what I find impossible is trying to guess what Google could possibly offer Apple to stop their lawsuits"
Easy. Call off the patent lawsuit from the Google-aqcuired Motorola. Since Apple is a latecomer to mobile phones, the Motorola patents could be quite a nuisance to it. After all, Motorola was the first in the field, before any other mobile phone company you care to name.
(Nuclear bomb icon thanks to Jobs' declared thermonuclear war)
Difficult to be sure on that, fortunately we have never had one.
Anyone care to translate what he said into something more understandable?
viz, the URLs for the Bloomberg (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-25/apple-samsung-jury-foreman-says-google-e-mail-persuasive) and BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19425051) interviews, respectively. Rather than the «40,000 foot» perspective Mr Hogan loftily claims to have employed (three times in the BBC interview), he seems to have consistently placed himself in Apple's position, defending his «video-compression» patents against an «infringing» Samsung. This seems to have made him blind to the evidence of Apple infringement presented by Samsung and unfortunately, as the only person on the jury with any experience in these matters, he was able to get the rest of the jurors to follow his line. If this judgement is not overturned on appeal, then the state of the justice system in the US is even more rotten than most of us have hitherto realised....
When I was on jury service in the UK, it was very clear that what took place in the jury room was to be kept confidential and you would be punished under law if you divulged information.
"Once the trial begins, you must not discuss the case with anyone, except the other jury members in the jury deliberation room.
Even when the trial’s over you must not discuss what went on in the deliberation room with anyone, even with family members.
If you do, you are in 'contempt of court' and can be fined."
There are good reasons for this, what's being reported now is the one person's recollection of the proceedings that took place; we're not getting the whole truth.
Yep, there's something rotten in that jury. Groklaw's coverage of the extent to which they screwed up makes it look like Samsung will probably tear that judgement to bits. Only the lawyers win.
Meantime, some choice points from Michael Wolff in the Gruiniad:
"As for the first point, Apple is not just a big company, but the biggest. And it is not just the biggest American company, but the most American company. It has entered a rarefied brand status in which it is now almost synonymous with American virtue: American as Apple. Its good design sense has become a major point of American pride, if not nationalism. The brand is a national asset. Apple is AT&T in its pre-break-up from; it's GM, in its what's-good-for-General-Motors-is-good-for-the-country stage; it's United Fruit when it made US foreign policy; it's Microsoft when desktop computing was transforming the world."
""The system itself assumes that litigation is the check on the system. Which means, fundamentally, that the litigant with the most resources and greatest status wins."
It's not about "innovation", or anything like it, really.
Revenue US$ 247.5 billion (2011)
Net income US$ 18.3 billion (2011)
Total assets US$ 384.3 billion (2011)
Total equity US$ 224.7 billion (2011)
Revenue US$ 108.249 billion (2011)
Net income US$ 25.922 billion (2011)
Total assets US$ 116.371 billion (2011)
Total equity US$ 76.615 billion (2011)
Except for that one time, in Japan, where some other country did win. But aside from that, all the other thermonuclear wars we have had... oh wait...
Does anyone have a reliable source as to what was infringed?
On the one hand there's stuff like "rounded rectangles" and the claim that they looked like Iphones (personally I can't see that Samsung phones look more like Iphones, than any other phones, but I can see that that's an argument specific to Samsung that they made). Then there's the "bounce back on scroll" patent, which I believe is specific to Samsung's TouchWiz.
But then I've read articles talking about "pinch" multitouch zoom gesture, double click to zoom, and click and drag to scroll. All of these are in standard Android (as they should be - they're bog standard UI elements that I find it mad that could be patented). The UIs are indeed completely different - but it's worrying if there are some trivial bog standard patents that Apple have been granted. Anyone know what the actual details are?
is Michael Wolff that arrogant that he believes that crap? If he honestly believes that apple is the "most American company" and is "synonymous with American virtue" and a "major point of American pride" then he seriously need to take a step back and take a look at himself and his values if he thinks that apples shenanigans are something to be proud of...
Apple have been nothing but bullies and full of their own self importance, they try to crush the marketplace into submission because they are bigger and have a bigger... they take other peoples work spin it around, re-badge and brand it and sell it as their own idea... they go back on their word, even when they loose in court, they don’t care, they just go ahead as normal**...
Hmmm... but on reflection, maybe he's right !!I'll get my coat...
**Apple computer vs apple music - Apple computer were forbidden to enter the music market using the name Apple. Apple music are not in a strong enough financial position to take them back to the courts to get an enforcement
Sorry about the pedantry but no thermonuclear weapons were involved "that one time", just plain old fission.
There is no way the current verdict will stand on appeal.
Your faith in the US legal system is touching.
Bad verdicts are upheld all the time. What's more likely to happen on appeal is that the remedies get adjusted - Samsung ends up paying less money, perhaps some of the specific findings are overturned, perhaps some of the patents are invalidated, etc. And, of course, we still don't know what will happen in the way of preliminary or permanent injunctions.
 Note that I'm not saying this verdict is bad. I'm not happy about it (and I found Orlowski's rambling defense of it the other day unconvincing), but I haven't studied it enough to make any stronger claims about it either way.
is Michael Wolff that arrogant that he believes that crap? If he honestly believes that apple is the "most American company" and is "synonymous with American virtue" and a "major point of American pride"
Since he apparently started by claiming Apple is the "biggest" company, he's already lost credibility. Anyone who glosses "largest market cap" as "biggest" (particularly if they don't consider historical market capitalizations, adjusted for inflation) probably isn't worth reading. That sort of intellectual laxity is unlikely to produce much in the way of insight.
But yes, I agree that "most American company" and "synonymous with American virtue" are vapid characterizations.
Apple made headlines recently for having the largest market cap of any company ever. Inflation adjusted it's still a long way behind Microsoft and IBM but it's currently about $623bn and was more than $300bn for the whole of 2011. It's got a p/e of just over 15, so its earnings are about $40bn. Its most recent quarterly net profit was $8.8bn, Samsung's latest quarterly net profit was $4.53bn. Apple's been on a tear lately but also Samsung's operating profit was 79% up year-on-year when measured in Korean won.
Apple also made headlines for having more cash than the US government. Its cash position is roughly what you've got for its total assets. But that makes the value of the phrase "app store", a grid of icons and rounded squares approximately zero, so you're not as far off the mark as I first imagined!
The personnel count means very little when you can hire a significant chunk of Foxconn's 1 million employees. Managing Apple's 20 products is much less employee intensive than Samsung's 20 industries.
Make no mistake, Apple is the very big bully here.
" I've read articles talking about "pinch" multitouch zoom gesture, double click to zoom, and click and drag to scroll. All of these are in standard Android (as they should be - they're bog standard UI elements that I find it mad that could be patented)."
Just out of interest, does anyone know when these standard UI elements appeared?
"That $12 billion we spunked on Motorola, to reassure our OEMs that they wouldn't get any nasty lawsuits, was a total waste of money."
Now Apple and Google are going for the jugular:
Like hell is Apple worried about bad publicity. You really think Tim Cook reads Reddit?
The stock is up, Apple's strongest competitor might not have anything on the shelves at Christmas. Sure, Tim Cook must be getting REAL worried.
Well, at least their old products won't. Their new ones should be as long as they are not sold out as they were not found to infringe.
It's a topsy turvy world. One legal system throws apples case out of court and orders apple to apologise publicity, in the media and on apples own website. A judge bans one device believing it would be found infringing and a jury finds in in the clear but a bunch of older ones do.
I'm going to set up an international mediation copmany, once people agree to go with whatever I decide I'll flip my coin and judgement is done. At £1,000,000 a flip I'll save the industry an absolute fortune.
"The stock is up"
For now. Fortunes come and go over time and the markets, well, they suffer greater doses of hysteria by the day it seems.
"Apple's strongest competitor might not have anything on the shelves at Christmas. "
In the US that may hold true, for the rest of us we'll likely still have the choice - thankfully :)
"Like hell is Apple worried about bad publicity. "
They should be. A massive part of their hype and sales comes from people who hold a high opinion of Apple as a good company - if people start seeing them as being more interested in lawyers than innovation the halo will slip.
"Apple's strongest competitor might not have anything on the shelves at Christmas"
Apart from the Galaxy S3, the Note 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy Note 2 et al which were not part of the lawsuit.
So basically Samsung will "only" have their entire current range for sale at Christmas.
I hope the uk legal system gets it's arse in gear and rejects Apples appeal soon about putting up a 'Samsung did not copy us" notice or whatever the wording is on their website. Maybe in the long run Apple would have been better off just asking Samsung to do the same, i.e. explicitly stating their tablets are not copies of iPads. Might have prevented the alleged consumers who where buying one device thinking it was a different one and subsequently stop people now thinking a samsung device is a cheaper but functionally/technically identical apple device.
"A massive part of their hype and sales comes from people who hold a high opinion of Apple as a good company"
I had to laugh at this. Do you truly believe anyone has any illusions about what Samsung does? That they've been copying products since forever?
You don't have to ask Americans, I work with several Koreans and even they know this. Samsung has a very bad reputation there with all the scams and government bribes they're involved in. Copying is the least they do.
People only buy them because they're cheap.
It's high time someone showed Samsung that what they do isn't right. Apple haters can spew their poison in all the forums in the world and it won't change this because in the end only hardcore Samdroid fans can't or don't want to see it.
> had to laugh at this. Do you truly believe anyone has any illusions about what Samsung does?
> That they've been copying products since forever?
That is beside the point of Apple fearing bad publicity.
A lot of Apple buyers buy Apple because they believe buying apple products make them a better human being, someone who does god and is good.
Having Apple appear as the bad guy (we patented the rounded corners) is bad for Apple's public image, and therefore for their sales.
No, that's largely incorrect IMHO. In fact many will not have checked out the price of an iPhone at all, just compared how much the cost is for what they were thinking of from various manufacturers in terms of what processor they want, how much memory, screen type, hardware capabilities etc. Sometimes if the hardware / OS version combination they want is only available from one manufacturer currently then they will not be considering price much at all to choose the handset as long as it is reasonable. More likely comparing which shop or network has the best deal for the one type of gadget they want.
The only point I will agree with is that Samsung have copied products. But my reply to that is.... and? So what.
You don't think every other company out there have done the same? We are where we are today due to people taking an idea (either old or new), refining it, maybe putting a little twist on it, repackaging it and calling it their own.
Apple have done it, Samsung have done it, Microsoft have done it, heck, you would be more hard pushed to find a company that hasn't copied someone else.
If we didn't allow people to take something and refine it and make it better then we would stagnate in our technological progression.
Sure Sammy could have changed more, perhaps been a little more subtle, but this trial is a farce and we all know it.
And Samsung cheap? I don't know how big the silver spoon was you were born with, but the cost of a new Galaxy S3 is quite a lot to most people.
By your same logic then people only buy crApple because they are expensive and they know most people can't afford all the newest kit and therefore won't have them. Whereas they look all "kewl" and such sipping their Starbucks and playing on their new Macbook or iWhatever.
"... just compared how much the cost is for what they were thinking of from various manufacturers in terms of what processor they want, how much memory, screen type, hardware capabilities etc..."
What world do you live in? Even most technical people do not bother. It's irrelevant for what is, essentially, a mobile telephone with a subset of more general consumer computer ability. Does it work as a telephone reasonably responsively? How long does the battery last? Can one load the popular free "apps", play music and does the calendar and messaging work (including email)? Very importantly, as it is carried in pockets or handbags and flashed around in public: do I like the look of it (and will it impress the opposite sex) and is it comfortable to hold? As this does not stay in your study or bedroom, appearance counts for a lot.Actually, the appearance is probably the singel most critical factor.
Some may ask about "updates" because they've read about it. But clearly, few expect to keep the thing long enough to be affected or even care. There's a thriving market in second-hand devices, that are unlikely to be up to the latest spec. in any sense, with even "techies" buying second hand.
Catch up: it's a mobile telephone plus music player and calendar in essence. The rest is fluff. Indeed, one could argue that if it needs so much memory, CPU etc. to run, it must be a pretty rubbish design, technically, as those old Nokias seemed to manage pretty well with a lot less and keep running for much longer.
Only would-be "techies" make such stuff a priority when buying a mobile telephone, or MP3 player or whatever pocket device. Just go into a mobile 'phone shop, watch and listen.
Jesus, "Metavisor", there is not enough facepalm in this universe for you. If I have any horses in this race, it's probably a small investment in a few iOS devices, but even I want to see you buried up to the neck in discarded turtlenecks.
@Nick Davies, If it's such a good phone as compared to the iPhone, why doesn't it hold its value as well as the iPhone does? Cue all the downvotes, but there won't be anything close to a convincing answer to this question, (though I do predict some lame generalised insult all iPhone users). The from what i've seen of second hand prices, S3 is already to less than 73% of its original retail value, so faring even worse than the average smartphone depreciation rate shown here and no-where close to retaining value like the iPhone does:
"What world do you live in?"
My criteria for my new phone was... can it play HD video and is it cheap enough? I settled on the Xperia Mini Pro because it had a keyboard and I wanted to see how that differed from the swipe-type ones (result: a lot, I can type reasonable length emails and forum posts that I just wouldn't have bothered on the swipe-type). The display resolution sucks (480x320 IIRC) but it records and plays HD without problems, it does the sort of stuff I'd expect, my only real complaint is the internal memory is a little small and I can't uninstall the stupid pre-installed Facebook rubbish. But other than that, it's been fine.
"Does it work as a telephone reasonably responsively?" - not a criteria, I'd expect a phone to pass off a reasonable impression of being a phone. "How long does the battery last?" - where does one find a reasonably honest estimate? In my experience, from power-up with an older WinAMP playing MP3s, I would get 7-8 hours. From power-up and then killing the bloatware runs-at-startup rubbish (that'd be Facebook and half a dozen other things), we'd be looking at 9-12 hours of MP3ing, maybe more. "Can one load the popular free "apps"" - I installed all my usual stuff (sftp, telnet, moboplayer, mango, kana tutorial, and a bunch of other things). "play music" - of course it can! Even the later feature phones could do that. "and does the calendar and messaging work (including email)?" - not used Calendar much; haven't found one I liked since the Psion 3a. Email for POP, got eight mailboxes. The mail client could be better (messages deleted off the server (say, after a fetch by a real mail client) are removed from the phone instead of expiring after 'x' days; and there's no "select all" for messages in the "trash" folder); however it works. "Very importantly, as it is carried in pockets or handbags and flashed around in public: do I like the look of it (and will it impress the opposite sex) and is it comfortable to hold?" - I take it I'm in a minority. It looks okay, it is comfortable to hold. I can pop off the back and take out the microSD (after unmounting it) which is useful. I didn't pick it for its looks, and if a girl got wet while looking at my phone I would assume she had some sort of medical complaint...
"Actually, the appearance is probably the singel most critical factor." - I'm tempted to reply something involving the word "shallow", but I won't. My phone was chosen mainly as I wanted to move up to the world of HD instead of being stuck with (W)VGA stuff. Appearance was way down the list, as the sort of girl that I could pull by having an awesome phone is not the sort of girl I'd be happy in a relationship with. Same in reverse, personality and spirit counts for so much more than a piece of ephemeral tech.
"Some may ask about "updates" because they've read about it." - the best update I could ever receive is the one that gets rid of the bloatware. Orange additions? No thank you. SonyEricsson additions? Some are okay. SonyEricsson-third-party-additions? No thank you. That said, maybe one day Android will mature to the stage where parts of the system can be updated without a full-blown new OS image. Why can't the browser be updated from the PlayStore thing? What about kernel patches and updated drivers? It isn't enough to expect the manufacturer to put out updates when we then have to wait for the carrier to dick around with them. This state of affairs is ridiculous really.
I guess, ultimately, we have vastly different ideas about buying phones. My next phone (here in France, my contract is inflated as I have a phone; when my contracted time runs out, I continue paying the same amount so it makes just as much sense to terminate the contract and then take out another with a new phone attached!) will be another Android. I'd like something similar to the Xperia Mini Pro but with a display like the Moto Defy (damn LOVELY display). I might cast an eye in the direction of Samsung, but to be honest it will depend upon what's around at the time I'm looking...
Ah, but that's only because people who buy 2nd hand iPhones are gullible twats!
I'm sure anyone reading my previous comment would assume I'm pro google and anti apple. I like apple hardware, but prefer the freedom and choice I get else where and hate their war mongering and pettiness. I like the choice I get with android, can't fault the search engine and believe google have brought a lot to the table from a software point of view, which is much more than android (yes to a lesser extent, so have apple) but I hate their intrusive privacy policies (or lack of) and apparently flippant attitude to things (still not as bad as a 'it's just a name, get over it' comment).
I'm glad to see the two of these try to do something about it. I suspect Google will try harder than apple, if they fail to reach a settlement without a good try they are letting a lot of people down, on the flip side it's a shame that they need to. I really hope they can sort something out, all this childish behaviour is just getting in the way of progress and only making consumers subsidise a bunch of lawyers expensive life style.
One of the points about Android is that it's supposed to be Free Software, yes? I know that Google have kind of broken that slightly by not releasing everything they do at the time (with promises it will come later), but it's still open source software isn't it? But any patent deal that Google forge with Apple will be just between them. Meaning if anyone wants to use Android that isn't Google, they can't do so because (a) Apple may sue them out of business and (b) the biggest logical defender of against any dubious patents - Google - has already settled and will leave others to fight their own defences.
Is that right? I haven't followed Android for a little while but it's still Free Software with a lot of Open Source developers contributing under GPL, correct? If so, an agreement basically turns it into a one-way street with Google able to use it but everyone else at risk of being sued if they try.
If google/apple achieve any agreement I'm pretty sure goolge will ensure any down stream android users would be covered. However, if they add things on top of android they will still be on their own. So I doubt this would cover Samsung and the recent debacle, most things there, if not all where not actually android related, more to do what they did with it, it could have been their own bespoke OS and it wouldn't have made a difference.
Duh, where = were
Today Android is free software but nearly every Android vendor has quietly agreed behind the scenes to pay Microsoft some sort of unknown licensing fee. So there is certainly a method by which Google could reach an agreement with Apple to stem the tide of lawsuits without compromising Android's freedom.
If Google wanted to get Apple off Android's back they could come to an agreement that acknowledges patents xxx, yyy and zzz owned by Apple are used in Android, and Apple agreeing to license those patents to anyone for a certain sum per device (either a fixed amount or percentage of sales price) - essentially creating their own FRAND (or ND perhaps, if you think any price over $0 is neither Fair nor Reasonable where Apple is concerned) for some basic smartphone functionality. In exchange for this Apple would agree not to sue you for anything in base Android. This would bring some certainty to Android as they'd know exactly what they are paying (rather than unknown legal bills) and know if they don't stray far from stock Android they never have to worry about Apple.
Google could then recommend but not require phone OEMs using Android sign a license agreement Apple. The Android vendors would realize this is in their best interest since Apple's position in any lawsuit would be strengthened via Google's published agreement that certain Apple patents had been used in Android. This wouldn't address extensions to Android like TouchWiz, but that "omission" would serve Google's interests because Android vendors would be more likely to run stock Android, or at least stay closer to stock Android aside from some simple skins to make their phones look different from the other Android phones.
This should mean Android phones would be updated more easily/quickly and reduce version fragmentation, as well as make it much easier for Android owners to install stock Android on their phone - Google might even require providing some way to make this a bit easier for non-techie owners as part of the Apple/vendor licensing agreement. Google could exert more control over Android and prevent fragmentation that doesn't monetize Android for them (i.e. Amazon) via a backdoor agreement with Apple that Apple refuse to license to those who are doing their own Android fork.
I'm not suggesting this is a solution that Android fans would like, they'd hate to line Apple's pockets with every phone they buy - but they are already lining Microsoft's pockets with every phone they buy, and I can't imagine any way in which that's more preferable other than perhaps hating Apple slightly more than they hate Microsoft. But it would remove any potential cloud of uncertainty that exists around Android now, especially with Apple's recent win over Samsung (even though that mostly involved TouchWiz and the look of the phone, the popular non-tech press seems to have incorrectly reported it as a win over Android)
This also wouldn't address Apple's claims on design patents, but Apple probably realizes this is the weakest part of their case, and if they had a license agreement with a vendor that covered Android and the vendor didn't stray too far from Android so that design/trade dress was Apple's only issue in a lawsuit, it better be well damn indistinguishable from an Apple product save for the Apple logo if they expect the case to go anywhere. This kind of ultra blatant knockoff copying is really only an issue in China - sometimes they even put an Apple logo on it, but good look trying to stop those in Chinese courts any better than Gucci can stop the knockoff purses in Chinese courts.
However, if they add things on top of android they will still be on their own.
So, less crapware on droid phones and tablets. Result!
Why would Google agree to give Apple any money? That is bizarre. They can't just pay Apple for patents that don't exist, are invalid or aren't infringed.
I don't Google are planning to pay them just so they will go away - I'm guessing the talks will be more about how crazy this all is.
If you do , however know of a magical Android killing patent that Apple hold, then please share the details here. Apple are very good at spinning the "we have patented every part of the smartphone so everyone is either copying us or needs to pay us" line. However it doesn't hold water - Apple are a newcomer to the smartphone/high-end phone business. They don't appear to have any real innovative patents and nothing on the hardware.
It almost seems like what Apple actually innovated on was the bringing a whole bunch of spurious patents and using legal manoeuvring to try to stifle competition.
> it's still Free Software with a lot of Open Source developers contributing under GPL, correct?
Very little of Android is GPL. Most of it is Apache-licensed.
I didn't say Google would give Apple any money, just that Google might come to an agreement that would make it easy for Android OEMs to settle with Apple and pay them licensing fees like they already do to Microsoft. Consider Google's position here. They give away Android, but make money on advertising when Android users use Google services. So they have two goals in mind:
1) make Android as widespread as possible
2) encourage OEMs using Android to not override Google services (i.e. limit stuff like Kindle Fire)
Apple's win over Samsung has had to throw some worry into the Android licensees. Google doesn't indemnify them against patent lawsuits, while Microsoft does for Windows Phone licensees. Android is free from Google, but the Android OEMs have all (or pretty much all) come to private licensing deals with Microsoft where they pay an undisclosed sum (rumored to be $5-$15) per phone for Microsoft patents used in Android.
If the Android OEMs figure out the licensing costs and potential costs to Apple (legal costs when they get sued win or lose, plus damages and/or having their products banned from the market if they lose) they might figure going with Windows Phone is a better deal. Even if it costs more they know EXACTLY what their costs are, whereas with Android it is unknown because of the legal uncertainty surrounding Apple's patents. This is an incentive for Android OEMs to partner with Microsoft and start producing Windows Phones and decrease their production of Android phones, which would cost Google future profit. It would also reduce choice and variety in the Android marketplace as resources are diverted to marketing models running Windows Phone.
Therefore I suggested Google might mutually agree with Apple on a list of Apple patents that Android violates, and in return get Apple to agree to standard licensing terms that would be available to any Android OEM running stock Android or something close to it (i.e. skins, but probably not layers like TouchWiz that significantly alters stock Android) This costs Google nothing, and helps Android by eliminating legal uncertainty. OEMs wouldn't have to worry about Apple suing them if they decided to sign a licensing agreement with Apple - which they have already done with Microsoft so it's just another cost they'd account for when planning products. Importantly, this also benefits Google because the OEMs would have an incentive to use stock Android, or something very very close to stock Android - which as I understand it is something a lot of Android users would prefer as well.
There is no reason for Apple and Google to be talking at this time unless Google is trying to come to some sort of deal with Apple. If Google wanted to "talk about how crazy this all is" and somehow try to get Apple to quit suing without giving them anything (which seems to be what you're wishfully thinking) then they sure as hell wouldn't do it right now, just after the Samsung verdict. You don't get someone to try to quit suing you the moment the courts just handed them a victory, that's coming at them from a position of weakness.
As I said in my previous post, I know Android fans wouldn't like this. But I don't see how it would be any different from the licensing fees they already pay Microsoft every time they buy an Android phone. Why should Microsoft's patents in smartphones be any more valid than Apple's? Yes, Microsoft has sold smartphones for much longer, but the smartphones they sold pre-iPhone were completely different. And yes, Apple hasn't sold smartphones for very long relative to some others, but they bought companies like Fingerworks in 2005 who pioneered multitouch, and therefore presumably own at least a few important basic patents applicable to modern smartphones. It doesn't matter if Apple invented this stuff itself or not, they obviously recognized it was important before anyone else did otherwise they wouldn't have been able to buy Fingerworks because Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia or RIM would have already owned them and their patents.
"I don't Google are planning to pay them just so they will go away - I'm guessing the talks will be more about how crazy this all is."
It interests me that Apple, who were big on taking names and kicking ass past week are now in talks. As in actual negotiation that doesn't involve courtrooms.
The way I see it, either Apple's PR had a heart attack over the fallout; or somebody somewhere has unveiled their own Big Stick to brandish and one of the parties to discussion is getting spooked.
It interests me that Apple, who were big on taking names and kicking ass past week are now in talks. As in actual negotiation that doesn't involve courtrooms.
I don't think it's surprising. Tim Cook isn't Steve Jobs, he is a great operations guy but he lacks Jobs passion, obsession and temper. He is probably less interested in continuing forever with the "going nuclear" strategy that Jobs set into motion before he passed away, and may be more amenable to a negotiated settlement.
Apple just had an important court victory, so if you ever want to talk, now would be the time as their negotiating position is fairly strong - it would of course get stronger if the verdict is upheld on appeal, but who knows how long that takes if it has to go all the way to the Supreme Court, and there is the risk it would get much weaker if the verdict is overturned. If Cook has been looking for a time he could do this, without it seeming "too soon" and stepping on Jobs' legacy at Apple by taking a 180* turn from Steve's "going nuclear" policy, this is that perfect time he's been waiting for.
Google's williness to talk would likely have more to do with keeping its Android OEMs in line. If those OEMs get nervous about having to fight and possibly lose to Apple, they may build more Windows devices and fewer Android devices. Google doesn't want that, because for all the storm between Apple and Google over Android, that's really the only thing that Apple and Google compete on. Google and Microsoft compete on far more fronts, including Google's main business of search, and would probably be willing to give up something to Apple if it helps them beat Microsoft.
While Android fans keep denying that Apple has any relevant patents at all, Google obviously felt differently in the emails warning Samsung over this that were made public in the trial. What Android fans think about the strength of Apple's patents is irrelevant if Google feels differently, and even if Google believes Android OEMs could ultimately prevail over Apple in court, it would take years longer and in the meantime Windows Phone could gain a lot of market share. Android OEMs like Samsung, HTC and LG are not loyal to Android in any way, they are loyal to making a buck. If they think they can make money with less risk selling Windows Phone devices, they'll do so, and will sell fewer Android devices as a result. That hurts Google's bottom line, and they'd be willing to do whatever it takes to avoid it, even if they have to hand Apple a victory that Android fans won't be happy with.
Why would they be cuddly in the face of companies blatantly copying their ideas?
Google wasn't cuddly when they went guns blazing against Microsoft accusing Bing of copying their search results... and rightly so!
Give them hell! It's the only way companies will think twice next time.
Google: "Bing Is Cheating, Copying Our Search Results"
“I’ve spent my career in pursuit of a good search engine. I’ve got no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book.” - Amit Singhal, Google Fellow and head of core search ranking - Feb 1, 2011.
Time to show the same respect for those who spent their careers in pursuit of good designs and interfaces.