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back to article Steve Wozniak: 'I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners'

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has called upon Samsung, Google and Apple to abandon their differences and start working together for the good of the tech world. In an interview with the BBC, Woz said that squabbling between tech firms was strangling innovation. He said: "I believe you should have a world where you've got to …

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Anonymous Coward

LOL, right after Rockstar Consortium unleash their cannons.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't that the group made up of Apple, MS, RIM etc, that agreed to not use those patents offensively when the deal was approved?

Are they doing this through one of Apple's famed shell companies?

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@AC1: that's bound to be what he's reacting to, and he's right. The market would be much more advanced if the focus was exclusively on how the things consumers like can be made even better, not who has the best legal protection on those things. Pleasing consumers should be paramount in a functioning market but the way that inventor/creator protections have been so massively distorted tends to subjugate them somewhat.

@AC2: the Rockstar Consortium is who is suing. Apple deserves to be attributed with responsibility for some of that. So do Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony and Ericsson.

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Makeup of rockstar consortum

MS was one of the members mentioned by AC2. I would say the others on the list are only mildly interesting. Most of the articles seems to emphasize the MS and Apple stakes too, so AC2 and I are not alone.

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Actually the Rockstar consortium asked Google to join so the group would be "pan industry" and the patents would be, for the most part, taken out of play (and the purchase price could probably also have been reduced), but Google refused, then did their bizarre bidding using well known mathematical constants (such as Pi) then lost. Nortel were probably very happy they did. Today Google's tactics don't look so clever. If they had joined they would have had leverage to ensure Amazon and Samsung stayed in line, who are instead major competitors to stock Android (or at least Samsung looks set to be such).

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Re: Makeup of rockstar consortium (@Oninoshiko)

The shell companies comment makes it pretty clear whom AC2 thinks is most culpable. It's also unnecessary since we know exactly which company is taking legal action and which other companies are behind it.

Of the various company pairs, Nokia was first to sue Apple, Apple was first to sue Samsung and HTC, Motorola was first to sue Apple, Microsoft extracts royalty payments from all of those except Apple and has made FRAND claims against Motorola (leading to a countersuit in layman's terms at least), Samsung was first to sue Ericsson, Sony's main involvement has been via a holding company with Nokia which has sued Apple, Google has been involved primarily through support for HTC in a countersuit and, of course, through its acquisition of Motorola, and BlackBerry (/RIM) appears to have suffered only at the hands of companies other than all of those.

Nobody's hands are clean.

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Re: Makeup of rockstar consortium (@Oninoshiko)

"Nobody's hands are clean."

Very true. However I can't abide the free pass many in tech seem to be giving Google. It's as though they are blinded by the "free" sweeties being handed out by the child catcher.

This is the company that proclaims it is against software patents, but only seems to be when they exist in a magic bubble called an end-node device. When they exist in a different magic bubble known as a centralised server farm, suddenly they are completely OK and indeed are the very founding IP their business and revenues are built on (Adwords patents).

By all means be anti-IP if you are consistently anti-IP. It's not OK to ignore IP when it suits you, trampling over the IP owned by others (video, books, images) only to feed a closed proprietary centralised system of business based on registered IP you hold tight. But Google have successfully created this bizarre world of double standards where people accept this behaviour because they, apparently, are giving away stuff for free.

Google are highly supportive of open standards and software and industry disruption when it serves their purpose of ensuring end node devices (mobile and client computer tech to you and me) are tied to their proprietary and closed centralised servers and services. Look at the direction is Android taking now? Capture the users, seal up the value in proprietary Google signed modules. They have seen how Linux has become, in terms of business IP, a zero return commodity OS supporting higher level high-value solutions and always knew the Open Source part of Android would become a similar commodity but that they could capture the usage where the value lies, tie it to their server farms and ensure users are corralled into a sealed code-signed Google Play store and App Launcher. Nothing wrong with that - if you hadn't pretended to be so against closed and proprietary tech.

Look at their attitude to VP8. Cisco have now undertaken to underwrite all H.264 license fees. Users of H264, backed by MPEG-LA are now at *less* risk of proprietary license fees being levied by patent owners than users of VP8. Cisco are a member of MPEG-LA and are underwriting all licensing H.264 licensing to ensure it will be free of charge. But Google are persisting with fracturing the industry with the claim the industry needs a standard not encumbered by patents. But VP8 is *not* itself unencumbered. Google, outside of the MPEG-LA consortium, are just simply choosing to ignore the patents that apply to it, wallowing in the glow of popular opinion, whilst continuing, at the same time, to hold tight to their core software patents in a hand they keep out of sight behind their back. Even Mozilla recognise guaranteed license fee free H264 is the way to go and a service to the industry.

But for Google VP8 has the added "benefit" of fracturing the energy efficiency of h264 hardware acceleration. So now Google are continuing to hang-on to VP8, storing VP8 only video on YouTube, knowing it can't be viewed on iOS or Surface without considerable impact on battery life (when they used to work hard to provide services across all devices and transcode to appropriate devices - reasonably easy for them to do and easy to implement on the fly transcoding and caching). This is the kind of behaviour Microsoft used to engage in. But no, Google play to the gallery claiming "we're against software patents."

Many users still don't get, with Google, we, the users, are the product. We are the food being served up at the Google restaurant.

When they offer to "scan downloads for free" just think what they are really doing. The fact the content of each of your downloads linked to via Google is being scanned. Do you think they are not making use of that information to sell your essence to "partners" (Who's partners - Google's not ours) ? Do you think they haven't already registered or purchased software patents for combined malware signature identification and semantic analysis parsing techniques because they are against software patents ?

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Anonymous Coward

Calm down dear

Actually it has nothing to do with who I think is most cupable. It was a purely a simple jab at Apple because they have made quite a bit of use from shell companies.

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Re: Calm down dear

"Shell companies." One of those terms that is tossed out without real understanding of what they are used for.

Shell companies can be used for any of the following:

1. To be an asset holding company so legal action can be taken in a preferred jurisdiction.

2. To obscure who the owner of assets are so casual observers won't determine the owner (though anyone prepared to trace the public records can work it out).

3. To create an artificial construct, which is not needed but for the purpose of tax avoidance (legal).

4. To completely obscure who is the owner of x, y, z assets in conjunction with overseas holding companies registered in opaque jurisdictions.

5. To completely obscure who the owner of x, y, z assets is (in conjuction with overseas holding companies) so dodgy deals can be done, or for tax evasion (illegal)

1 & 2 are perfectly legitimate. 2 for example is often done to avoid business enquiries resulting in an immediate price hike because a service seller perceives big company x can afford it (a bit like when builders quote higher for houses in nice areas). It also allows a canny game to be played, where a business can "ambush" another business if they are unwary. Not terribly nice, but on the side of canny rather than illegal or immoral (if you play a game of pro football it's legitimate to obscure your calls).

3. Is legal but morally dubious.

5 and 6 are bad and are what give the term "shell company" a negative association in the public consciousness

Which are Apple are doing ? Answer: Not 3, 4 or 5.

Which are Google doing ? Answer: certainly 3. They are probably also doing 1 & 2, I don't know for sure, but would expect they are as most multinational tech companies would do as a matter of course to optimise their legal strategy.

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Gimp

Its not reasonable to expect complete homogenization of features

Otherwise, why invest in a mobile OS other than ios or android? Why invest in more than one voice recognition or map/navigation app? Why buy an iPhone versus any other phone?

I think a reasonable outcome would be to let phone users move all their apps, data, files, and services between different phones.

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Anonymous Coward

The NSA is all for it too.

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Anonymous Coward

Why not add Microsoft in there too?

Is competition not good?

If everyone worked together and were three times as evil as a result would that be good?

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Microsoft need

ELIMINATING. A goggle/apple combined force would be great for the tech. ANY force with microsoft in would be detremental to tech growth

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Competition is indeed good, but when a lawsuit can exist on a patent of "Bouncy scrolling" then something's bloody wrong with the entire system.

Steve W sees the tech world as it should be, he is an engineer after all, unfortunately businesses, especially greedy ones, always seem to get in the way of how things should be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft need

Yes! Apple + Google, companies reknowned for championing the rights of the people.

Nope.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft need

Well, one of them champions sensibly proportioned monitors, doesn't like Flash on mobile devices, and doesn't screw up its desktop OS UI by trying to make it finger-friendly. They aren't perfect, and are motivated by profit, but that describes most companies, no?

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Re: Microsoft need

"Yes! Apple + Google, companies reknowned for championing the rights of the people."

Actually Tim Cook just today sent a strongly worded open letter to congress, championing the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and calling for support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702304527504579172302377638002-lMyQjAxMTAzMDAwMjEwNDIyWj

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Re: Microsoft need

"Actually Tim Cook just today sent a strongly worded open letter to congress..."

Are they going to stop shipping iThings to the Russians until they repeal their anti-gay laws?

Thought not...

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Re: Microsoft need

What !?? And I suppose in the meantime Apple should shut down their Russian Apple Stores, where as a company they have a policy of non discrimination because, you know, a company with that influence and policy removing itself would really help any Apple Gay, Transgender or Lesbian Russian employees.

Really, laying blame for the world's ill's at Tim Cook's feet is pretty narrow minded.

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Combinded efforts to use ressources for the common good? Why not?

It's called The Venus Project.

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Big Brother

The evil

That would be some biblical proportion evil happening right there. New World Order?

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Devil

Re: The evil

@ Mraak

True!!! "I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners" may be a supplication to the wrong diety in this case. Maybe Woz needs to sacrifice some virgins and open a gate or two if he really wants to get this done! :)

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Re: The evil

You're kidding right?

Not even Cthulu himself would be willing to to play with these 2. He just isnt in the same league of nastiness as them.

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I like Woz

I saw the interview over the weekend. He speaks sense.

He's an engineer and an end user, he just wants things to "just work" (is that the sound of 101 trademark lawyers sharpening their pencils?). He doesn't want all the office politics getting in the way of making cool things.

Which is the way it should be.

The patent system (especially the US implementation of it) is fatally flawed. The Chinese, with their complete disregard for trademarks and copyright, are starting to look like they've got the right idea, they can copy all the features they want, and their courts just throw any claims against Chinese companies. Rather like the US system, but without even the slightest pretence at looking impartial!

Sure the US will ban anything they make from being offloaded at port, and the EU will do what it's told by the US, but the Chinese won't care. They'll have the best phones, and the biggest market. China.

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Bah!

"us" ?

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Blackness

"...it's time for Google to stop being so damned selfish and let Apple share its toys."

Given the various bullshit patents on bouncyness, rounded rectangles, and other absurdity, Woz should be changing his name to "Mr Pot".

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Re: Blackness

I haven't time to read the interview transcript but does Woz actually says anything like that?

The quote says that he wants them to work together rather than singling out either company for not wanting to share.

Some flame bating from the author perhaps? Especially given Apples refusal to licence any of its 'patents' and quick to throw a sue-ball tendencies.

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Re: Blackness

I saw the interview at the weekend, and from what I remember, he didn't blame either side, he was very diplomatic and non pot like.

El Reg is just trolling you.

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Thumb Up

Wait. What?

"In an interview with the BBC, Woz said that squabbling between tech firms was strangling innovation."

But I thought it was too much government regulation? That's the mantra, right?

How dare a wealthy super genius contradict common knowledge!

</sarcasm>

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Thumb Down

Horrible idea!

A close collaboration might bring some short-term benefits, but would probably destroy a lot of future innovation. If you have the market sewn up, why innovate? OTOH, if you have to gain an edge over a very competitive rival, then innovation is your only chance.

Keep those companies at each other's throat (preferably using their products and not their lawyers) -- so we get better technology tomorrow. Monopolies are bad for innovation.

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Do you think Apple will shares it's rounded corners? nope it'll sue your ass!

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Jobs is probably rolling over in his grave right now.

I find it hilarious that Woz points out a number of things that Apple could borrow from Samsung and Android to improve the iPhone and iOS, but he doesn't say anything about the iPhone and iOS improving Samsung phones and Android. Oh and he seems to know all too well that Android is so much better than iOS, it makes you wonder what phone he really uses when nobody is watching.

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