back to article Steve Jobs' death clears way for Apple-Android peace talks

Apple is reportedly negotiating with Android manufacturers to license its patent portfolio as it continues to pile up the ammunition such negotiations will need. The news comes from the Dow Jones news wire, which talked to the omniscient "people familiar with the matter", and discovered that Apple plans to abandon its policy …


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  1. Joseph Lord

    All patents or some?

    I understood that Apple was always ready to license a set of relevant patents but that there were some that it wanted to keep exclusive for differentiation. I couldn't tell from the article if that had changed.

    Also Nokia had a strong enough portfolio to arrange a cross license plus cash from Apple so they have always been willing to license when it is sensible. I don't know if Apple held anything back from the cross license.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No it was Jobs turning in his grave.

  2. technohead95

    And finally....

    ...Apple realise what everyone else has for a long long time. Fighting in courts does nothing but burn money and take away focus from producing better quality products.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And finally....

      Yeah, because all those lawyers could be helping to make better products. It's not even about costs, have you seen how much money apple have got?

      1. technohead95

        Re: And finally....

        I'm not talking about the lawyers, the senior staff at Apple right up to the CEO would obviously have some attention diverted away to deal with the lawsuits. They would need to be updated as things progress and the more time spent there, the less time spent giving direction on the company and it's products. I agree it's not about the money, as I mentioned in my first post, it is to do with having their focus diverted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And finally....

          If appleare doing this well without these distractions, then god help the opposition!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And finally....

      that's why its better that jobs is gone now. He had too much unchecked power for too long and was starting to resemble a power-drunk dictator, out to crush all "enemies". This allowed rapid, massive success, as he was a talented individual, but I think without some changes like this they would eventually start paying a price. I also want to be able to respect and support apple, but could not over the last few years. Now I can direct my full hatred toward microsoft!

  3. g e

    "abandon its policy"

    So it now thinks it's more profitable to settle/play ball than sue.

    Presumably either they've identified a gaping infringement liability in their stuff, realised they risk getting a shedload of patent invalidated or have noticed that a lot of people are being put off buying apple stuff by, errr... apple.

    They don't strike me as a company that would play fair when there was $50 profit to be made.

    1. jai

      Re: "abandon its policy"

      £50 profit?

      The article i read this morning on this subject suggested Apple could be looking for a 2.5% license (similar to what Motorolla offered them i think?)

      and estimated that would be equal to between $5 and $15 per device. Which is considerably more than just 50 bucks. And the more units the competition sell, the more money Apple makes. This way they target the expensive high-margin part of the market with their own devices, and still have a revenue stream from the much larger, but lower-profits end, without having to bother with making a cheap iPhone or iPad, and so continue to build that mountain of cash they have stashed in a big room in Cupertino.

  4. Francis Fish


    "it has just been awarded a new patent on parental control of children's spending, so a child could have an iTunes account but every transaction (or every transaction above a certain point) would have to be authorised by the parent."

    I'm sure that Microsoft already have something like this for their gaming platforms. And I also thought that you weren't supposed to be able to patent the bleedin' obvious.

    1. SkippyBing

      I'm fairly sure my parent's have prior art that pre-dates Apple's existence.

    2. JetSetJim

      Re: Patent?

      Just what I was about to post - yet another patent for doing something trivial in the real world, but "with a software" bolted on to it - much like all the other useless "with an internet" patents that are out there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patent?

      Yes, agreed. Absolutely crazy. Patents should make you think that someone has done something revolutionary or achieved something that others have been trying to achieve for years.

      You shouldn't be able to patent something just because its a feature you've got around to thinking about implementing.

      I mean - Tesco Mobile are currently running an advertising campaign about a new feature to keep you kids under a spend limit you can cap their monthly bill when it reaches a certain point ofusage. I'm pretty sure they didn't run down the patent office 5 minutes after their brain storming session on that one.

    4. Martin Gregorie

      I thought the banks already provided this ability.

      Simple: you set up an account for your child with zero overdraft limit. Kid empties account. Suddenly kid can't buy anything.

      As has already been suggested its a very old idea: much older by far than the concept of an overdraft, so the idea of patenting it is simply ludicrous.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: I thought the banks already provided this ability.

        Prior art from mobile phone companies. They have account limits that can be set by parents.

    5. JohnG

      Re: Patent?

      There has to be plenty of prior art in the UK, simply to comply with the law with regards to credit, contracts and minors.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps they're just sick of being sued by Motorola and Samsung - may be Samsung being investigated by the EU is victory enough.

    I don't see the vulnerability the report mentions, considering the amount apple have in the bank. It was Motorola that lost 80 billion last quarter. Apple have been happy to pay licences, they just don't want to pay more than anyone else or pay twice.

    I'm not sure why people are put off buying apple gear, one manufacturer (apple) is doing a pretty good good job of holding it's own against a plethora of other manufactures

    One can only hope that whatever the reasons and motivations behind it, there's less of these patent disputes in the future

  6. Paul Bruneau

    Kill the competition? No

    He didn't want to kill the competition. He was fine with competition. He wanted to kill the shameless ripoff.

    1. Paul Bruneau

      Re: Kill the competition? No

      Oh, it's not a shameless ripoff? My mistake. I bow to the wisdom of the downvoters.

      1. N13L5

        Re: Kill the competition? No

        People get bamboozled by all the obvious and prior art crap Apple keeps shamelessly patenting, and start to think Apple invented everything... Surprise: there were touch input phones with rounded corners before the iPhone came out. Only they didn't sell well, cause the UI wasn't done well. So, the greatest part of the science about it was to make buttons big enough for your thumbs, and prevent text rendering at less than a certain size.

        But Jobs, ever the great showman convinced just about everyone that he invented everything, when really, Apple was more like Blizzard bringing out WoW, they didn't invent much, just polished the user experience of older products much better, made it easier to use, by limiting functionality to what non-geeks can use.

        If the iPhone had been round, car manufacturers would have been in serious trouble...

        Anyway, welcome Tim Cook and Apple, to maybe, after many decades of ruthless conduct to become a reasonable corporate citizen and more responsible business partner too.

        Ask some past or present retailers and licensees what a crappy company Apple has always been to deal with on a day to day basis. Capricious, self serving and unreliable.

  7. Aleksis

    Was I the only one... read the sub-head as "iPad maker and rivals to patent negotiation table"?

  8. Blunderbuss

    Could it be?

    Is this hope that the utterly ridiculous patent wars could come to an end and the consumer might actually benefit from innovation again?

    Or is it just the first round of a new patent land-grab to build up the biggest stash of stupidly obvious patents just in case the negotiations come down to a round of willy waving.

  9. System 10 from Navarone

    Patented Spending Control

    "Not that Apple is standing still: it has just been awarded a new patent on parental control of children's spending, so a child could have an iTunes account but every transaction (or every transaction above a certain point) would have to be authorised by the parent."

    Can we have one of these applied to NHS senior managers so that every purchase of shiny but utterly non-essential iPads can be properly authorised by someone with common sense?

  10. Patrick Evans

    The more I read about Steve Jobs...

    ...the more I believe the bloke was a 24-carat world-class arsehole. And this article does nothing to change that.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The more I read about Steve Jobs...


      but he was a 24 carat rich arsehole, whereas you continue to stack shelves at your local supermarket.

      1. N13L5

        Re: The more I read about Steve Jobs...

        so getting rich still makes up for everything eh?

        I'd rather have a spine than riches, if I have to choose between the 2 :P

  11. hugh

    It'll all be over by Christmas

    yeah, right.

  12. Richard 81

    Could this be...

    ...Apple's Operation Valkyrie?

  13. Jeebus

    Agreed Patrick, the man started off as an arsehole before his death in the public eye, now everyone is telling it as it was and he seems far worse than his public image, outside of the saintly bollock strokers ever was.

  14. llewton

    ... steve jobs was a sociopath of some sort, wasn't he?

  15. Thomas 18
    Thumb Down

    NFC Patent plans

    "The patent also covers taking that control into the real world, though NFC, and thus attracting the attention of NFC World and prompting more speculation about Apple's plans to follow Google into the mobile wallet business."

    Patents aren't about protecting products you plan to build, they are about stopping other people from making them.

  16. Mage Silver badge


    Most of Apple's patent's are either fluff or else really Registered Design (more about Copyright, look and Fell) rather than real engineering as most (all) of the products use no custom parts beyond the case (The Apple CPU is just a variant of Samsung SoC with ARM core).

    Software, GUIs and Look and Feel ought only be be copyright, never patents.

  17. PaulR79

    Quick, license our patent for corners! They have more ammunition!

    Is it just Steve's death or is it also a realisation that other companies have been in this business for a lot longer and can likely hit Apple harder than Apple can hit anyone else? I honestly don't care about the reason if it means an end to the almost daily "Apple sues X of patent for <obvious, despite prior art>" and even "X sues Apple over <being an asshole>".

    Let the downvotes commence!

  18. Alan Denman

    Insanity law of patents.

    We knew a few of the faithful were a bit over enthusiastic but methinks the patent off should now be certified insane.

    Life's budgeting rules being patented are certainly 1984!

  19. Rob


    ... Apple have insider knowledge from a Senator that the Patents system will come under scrutiny and knowing that something could go wrong they have decided to take themselves out of the firing line.

    (don't put money on it, I'm just throwing an idea out there).

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Prehaps...

      It has already been said. If one such device gets taken off from samsung in one market then it isnt too bad. For apple, who wants an iPad 1 now? If an ipad 2 gets taken off the shelf it is a big hurt for them - think about an ipad 3 being strangled at birth...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    i wonder what would happen if all apple employees dropped dead simultaneously! this could be groundbreaking! a whole new way to run companies and sort out any communication and legal dispute. just sacrifice a top exec - job done.

  21. Keep Refrigerated

    Turned a friendly ecosystem hostile

    Perhaps with Saint Jobs gone, they've ran out of magical ideas and have realised they need the competition to move things forward, providing new things to revolutionise on.

    Think about it this way, they took existing technology in mobile phones and brought it a huge evolutionary step forward; but in doing so they operated a scorched earth approach to a carefully balanced ecosystem that had built up on MAD.

    Rather than take a few knocks on the chin from Nokia (a typical dying and out-innovated company), Apple got a grenade launcher and started shooting those lawyer-shaped grenades into this delicate ecosystem comprising of many phone manufacturers who (not struggling, like Nokia) were less inclined to start all out patent war with a newcomer.

    After recovering from the initial shock, the ecosystem is not only fighting back and becoming a very difficult place for Apple to plant anything new (i.e. take more evolutionary leaps with current technology).

    --- tl;dr ---

    Whereas before Apple's innovation was welcomed and it's ideas adopted because certain things were thought not to be patentable, any new innovations from this point on will be scrutinised right down to the last rounded edge and retinised pixel making it much more difficult and costly to bring to (and keep shelved in) market.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Make love, not war

  23. beartoe

    I think this analysis overstates...

    I think this analysis overstates Apple's willingness to license. For a much more thorough discussion of this particular topic, see:

  24. P. Lee

    It'll never happen

    Most of Apples patents are for stuff that doesn't matter.

    Rounded corners, slide to unlock. These are only an issue because they are a surprise, they are not a long-term problem. Unlike MS which has Exchange integation, Apple has nothing that Android wants, the patents at best could only work for short-term business disruption.

    Generally I like Apple stuff even if I don't buy it. It looks nice and it helps drive the competition. I suspect they've just realised that they need to (and can) compete on product and that the legal stuff wasn't really getting them much cash, probably wasn't a long-term winning strategy and was losing a lot of goodwill.

    Apple will compete as they always do, with iLife, a simple UI and products which feel nice to hold and look at. Cloud sync also looks like a winning strategy for them.

  25. Arctic fox

    Just one small question.

    If Apple does indeed negotiate some kind of licensing agreement with the Android OEMs which involves a net payment per device from them to Cupertino, will we be seeing the same type of postings howling about the "Apple tax" as we regularly see about the "Microsoft tax"? After all if this does come to fruition they will be doing exactly the same as MS has done. The only difference being of course that The Great Demon Spawn of Redmond has not spent the last year or two trying to completely destroy Android in countless legal actions all over known space.

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