Steve Jobs's War without End

By Lyons, Dan | Newsweek, January 30, 2012 | Go to article overview

Steve Jobs's War without End


Lyons, Dan, Newsweek


Byline: Dan Lyons

Apple's attacks on Android have backfired. Should the company call a truce?

Steve Jobs's hatreds are nearly as famous as his innovations: buttons, styluses, complicated remote controls. He loathed nothing more, however, than Google's Android--a total rip-off, in his opinion, of Apple's work. "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," he vowed, according to Walter Isaacson's recent, hefty biography. Armed with his company's arsenal of patents, Jobs threatened "thermonuclear war." He sued the three leading Android handset makers--HTC, Motorola, and Samsung--in countries all around the world, seeking to have their products banned.

But nearly two years after the first salvos were fired, Apple's war on Android has ac-complished almost nothing. And it's starting to look as if Apple's patent portfolio isn't nearly as lethal as Jobs seemed to think.

Three of Apple's claims against Motorola recently got tossed out by the International Trade Commission. Many of Apple's claims against HTC and Samsung failed as well, and the two claims that were upheld were both easy to work around. Samsung simply widened the frame on its Galaxy Tab, and HTC removed a tiny software feature that lets you tap a phone number in an email and pull up a menu of options. Meanwhile, Android keeps growing and has become the top smartphone platform. …

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