back to article Apple and Google in talks to end patent war?

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 …


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  1. nuked

    Impossible... see any winners here.

    1. ratfox

      Let me be the first to say…

      That the lawyers are winning aplenty.

    2. Turtle

      Re: Impossible...

      "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.

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: Impossible...

        "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

        1. Mark .

          Re: Impossible...

          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?

          1. Steve I

            Re: Impossible...

            " 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?

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Impossible...

        "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)

    3. NullReference Exception

      Thermonuclear wars...

      ... usually don't have winners.

      1. Pedigree-Pete

        Re: Thermonuclear wars...

        Difficult to be sure on that, fortunately we have never had one.

      2. Jediben

        Re: Thermonuclear wars...

        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...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Except for that one time in Japan

          Sorry about the pedantry but no thermonuclear weapons were involved "that one time", just plain old fission.

    4. Shagbag

      Apple vs Samsung

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: interview with the Jury Foreman

        Anyone care to translate what he said into something more understandable?

      2. mhenriday

        A slight omission on your part, Shagbag -

        viz, the URLs for the Bloomberg ( and BBC ( 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....


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple vs Samsung

        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.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple vs Samsung

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple is not just a big company, but the biggest.


          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)

          Employees 344,000


          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)

          Employees 60,400

          1. Craigness

            Re: Apple is not just a big company, but the biggest.

            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.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Marty

          Re: Apple vs Samsung

          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

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Apple vs Samsung

            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.

      5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Apple vs Samsung

        There is no way the current verdict will stand on appeal.

        Your faith in the US legal system is touching.

        Bad verdicts[1] 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.

        [1] 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.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Translate says:

    "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.

    1. vic 4

      Re: shelves at Christmas

      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Translate says:

      "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 :)

    3. Chet Mannly

      Re: Google Translate says:

      "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.

      1. vic 4
        Thumb Up

        Re: Like hell is Apple worried about bad publicity.

        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Translate says:

        "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.

        1. Gerhard den Hollander

          Re: Google Translate says:

          > 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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Translate says:

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google Translate says:

            "... 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.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: Google Translate says:

              "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...

        3. Jimboom

          Re: Google Translate says:

          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.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. SuccessCase

            Re: Google Translate says:

            @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:


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Google Translate says:

              Ah, but that's only because people who buy 2nd hand iPhones are gullible twats!

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Translate says:

          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.

  3. vic 4
    Thumb Up

    Sanity ahead?

    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.

  4. h4rm0ny

    Bad for free software

    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.

    1. vic 4

      Re: Bad for free software

      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.

      1. vic 4

        Re: Bad for free software

        Duh, where = were

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad for free software

        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!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad for free software

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @DougS Re: Bad for free software

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @DougS Bad for free software

          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.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: @DougS Bad for free software

          "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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @DougS Bad for free software

            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.

    3. Vic

      Re: Bad for free software

      > 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.


  5. Anonymous Coward

    Cudly upstart?

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and a quote from top Googler Amit Singhal

      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.

    2. vic 4

      Re: Cudly upstart?

      Forgot about that, Samsung could have used a quote about that in their defence. "Competitors are all trying to see what the best ideas are out there", pretty much negates apples argument about samsung's review of the iphone.

      However, you obviously have a different understanding of the word blatantly. Can you name one feature from android that blatantly copies from iOS? MS where using clickstream data from google to help their searches, that is not copying, thats asking google to do a search on bing's behalf and passing it off as it's own. Not copying but plagiarism.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cudly upstart?

        Of course you're right vic 4, as always.

        Only Google and their strategic partners have the right to copy things (Yelp says hi), Microsoft and others on the other hand cannot use Google search ranking as a ranking metric - that would be obvious plagiarism.

        Same goes for UI and physical design, features and trade dress.Those aren't even real things people use, unlike a ranking algorithm that mimicked the well established academic impact factor.

        Yep, got the picture.

        1. vic 4

          Re: Cudly upstart?

          @dx Never said Google are great, when it comes to it they can be as shit as the next big player, yelp is one example. Yelp gave way but pretty much had no choice. Last I heard about it google pulled out of buying it amid potential pending legal actions and they are now courting apple and MS, the cynical here could think apple reached out to get one over google (I do not however). Plenty more examples when it comes to google and copyright. I'm also more than happy to whinge when it comes to google paying, or not paying taxes.

          I probably come across as a google fan as most topics on here are MS vs Apple vs Google. Out of those 3 google provides more to my business, or at least does not impact it as much. My business depends on all three and others, actually it depends on a healthy and diverse ecosystem, apple and to a lesser extent MS makes that harder.

          However this, or at least as I read it was about google copying apple's ideas. Samsung vs Apple was nothing to do with google or android. Like I say, what in android is a blatant copy from iOS, i.e. a direct copy that couldn't be termed an obvious evolution? If anything I'd say developments in android have had a bigger influence on iOS than the other way around, but that is the way it should be, one

          idea should feed and develop others, not put a stop sign preventing any further innovation in a particular direction.

    3. h4rm0ny

      Re: Cudly upstart?

      "Google wasn't cuddly when they went guns blazing against Microsoft accusing Bing of copying their search results... and rightly so!"

      Not that one again! That was an incredibly contrived and misleading test. What they did was create a random string that had no search results anywhere, e.g. "mbzrxpgjys" and then they searched for this with Google. And this is the key part, they did so with feedback options in Internet Explorer turned on that let it submit URL information back to MS in order to help it improve its results. They then clicked on specific URLs in response to the random string so that the random string would become associated with that URL. This was then submitted to MS to add to their search results (via the browser options they had selected to allow this). Thus they were deliberately and knowingly creating a situation in which the only possible source of connection between the random string and the clicked on URL was the behaviour of one user who had options turned on to submit their behaviour to MS. When they then went to Bing and searched for the random string, thus their clicked on URL came up.

      So at no point was MS copying anything from Google, they added the choice of a user who deliberately associated a random string with a URL that had nothing to do with that string (how could it?).

      In no way does the headline "Bing copies Google's search results" create an accurate impression of what occurs. Seriously - from that headline would you guess how contrived and arbitrary what was actually going on here? That someone was specifically crafting scenarios in which the only possible source of a relationship between a search term and a result was their browser and then voluntarily submitting that information to MS? No, I don't think so. But some people like the headline even though it's grossly misleading and don't bother to explain what was actually going on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cudly upstart?

        Soooo, where is this "feedback options in Internet Explorer turned on that let it submit URL information back to MS in order to help it improve its results" located?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: h4rm0ny

        Still seems to be a risk though. Perhaps Chrome does the same, I'd call out Google for it if they did (I take no sides, just the side of doing it right).

        As I remember they also added some search results to Google directly. If these are sniffed by a server or by a browser, is it still not plagiarism? I would assume all Google would ask for is an acknowledgement that their results are included (as partner sites already do).

        1. Thomas 4
          IT Angle

          "... the time has come to bury the hatchet."

          In the words of a certain BOFH - "In whose spinal column?"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cudly upstart?

      No, that WAS plagiarism (direct copying from Googles sites). If Bing used the same type of tech, I'm sure Google would be fine (except for the actual patent they have on page ranking methods).

      Linking to a Reg article is fine, linking to a Reg article saying it's written by Microsoft Bing is not! See the difference.

      As proof of the pudding, many web spiders and search engines USE GOOGLE ALREADY WITH THEIR BLESSINGS. See Duckduckgo for an example. So it's not the imitation that's being called up, it's the lying. Google would have no qualms about you imitating the G1 phone or whatever it was called, or you know, making your own flavor of Andriod!

      Google =/= Apple in this instance, no matter how you look at it.

  6. Turtle

    Influence via Corporate Post, or Otherwise

    "Jobs was reportedly outraged that Eric Schmidt, who sat on Apple's board, didn't recuse himself from key meetings that discussed iOS. Schmidt resigned in 2009 and stepped down from the CEO role at Google last year."

    Google is controlled by Brin, Page, and Schmidt by virtue of their stock holdings. If I recall correctly, The Three Pigs control, between them, 66% of the all voting rights - 22% a piece, I believe.

    So, irrespective of Schidt's position in the corporate hierarchy, the noxious effects of his influence will nevertheless pervade Google - although the other two sociopaths provide plenty more of the same.

  7. Alan Denman

    I call bullshit.

    It is just the pretence of being reasonable.

    Apple hate real computers and just want to replace it with limited gadgets.

    The open web is a goner too with them pips.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I call bullshit.

      That's why the web browser has been the central piece of iOS since the very first iPhone, which didn't even have apps and you can add web apps straight into springboard just like native ones.

      People sure like to talk a lot about stuff they don't know.

      1. Mark .

        Re: I call bullshit.

        You are certainly right that the original Iphone couldn't even run apps.

        But I think the OP has some point with how things are these days. It seems almost every company has an "app" for its website or service, but it'll always be Apple catered for first, and often only, despite never having been the number one platform, and being the last platform to be able to run apps. At least we're starting to see Android support (with almost 70% market share), but heaven forbid you run WP, Blackberry or Symbian (the latter still probably has a bigger installed userbase than Apple, having outsold it until the WP switchover). On top of that, the way that companies have tried to convert newspapers and TV to the Internet is to make an "app" that only runs on some devices, often Ipad and Iphone before anything else. Still today, we have that Sky advert on TV, going "Or even on your eyyyyyyePhone", as if we all have Iphones, when in fact most of us don't.

        So I think it is reasonable to say that their vision of the future is one where "computing" is to used a closed tablet-only device to read content via an "app", that only works on particular brands of manufacturer (Apple). Yes, it may be that Iphones have a web browser, but given how every website needs to have an "app" for Apple users, it doesn't seem that many are capable of using it.

  8. Earl Jones Of Potatoes

    the tip of the iceberg

    "Google said to tap Barclays to sell Motoroal's Home Business"

    "The world’s biggest smartphone maker is in talks with major telecom carriers on Apple’s home-turf such as Verizon Wireless about modified designs in Samsung Galaxy devices. It is also closely partnering with Microsoft (MS) to cut its dependency on Google Android, according to officials Wednesday."

    Not quite like this article makes the news sound. When you take news in the two links provided, you rather take a hint as to what may have realized with last week's Apple win over samsung.

    In other words, apple has sent a clear message and the message reads "Don't F***K with us"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the tip of the iceberg

      Apart from in other countries like the UK of course, where the message is "don't F**k with legitimate competitors, and don't lie about it in public"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Funny how the author if this article is saying that Apple thinks that IOS is similar to Android (Linux). Well earlier, Bill Gates said that Linux was similar to Windows. Well that makes it so that IOS is similar to Windows, err IOS is similar to Windows which is similar to Linux which in turn is similar to the GUI developed at Xerox PARC.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      developed at Xerox PARC...

      which which Apple licensed and extended at great effort to make it suitable for home use.

      Microsoft even licensed part of MacOS from Apple to use in Windows 1.0. When it came to Windows 2 however, they took many more features that were not in the agreement. Microsoft after all was no angel and had already suckered the original creator of MS-DOS, then named Q-DOS, into giving them an exclusive license for peanuts ($75,000) so this was nothing new for them.

      Unfortunately for Apple their original license to Microsoft was deemed by a court to cover most of the additional features Microsoft had taken, Apple hadn't narrowed down their contract well enough.

      Hence them taking up every protection they can now, not keen on licensing their core stuff to others and not being shy of any litigation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: developed at Xerox PARC...

        You missed the important bit:

        Apple licensed AFTER stealing it

      2. Mark .

        Re: developed at Xerox PARC...

        And I launched apps from a grid of colour icons on my 1985 Amiga - did Apple license that?

        (It also had full screen apps running in their own screen, that you could pull down with a swipe to view both at once; and the "desktop" was just one of those screens. Sound familiar to another new OS...?)

      3. rogerpjr

        Dear FANBOI

        Having SEEN and WORKED with the SECOND GEN of the ORIGINAL XEROX "Office of the FUTURE" Computers by XEROX, I can assure you, ALL apple did was decieve and defraud XEROX PARC. I answer this with due respect to those taking the opposing view.. We woring at XEROX were very proud of the work PARC did. It was unbelievable that apple ( attempts ) taking the moral high ground. I make reference to Mr Cook attempting to sell the notion that his new employer abhors theft. Dection. Yet XEROX sued BOTH apple as wel as microsoft for theft of IP. Hardly the action of one who had agreed to GIVE AWAY THEIR CROWN JEWELS.

        By the way, their case was lost to to too much time elapsing. NOT because of propr agreements.

        But when you're apple, you become adept at revisionist history.

        Remember...... Some of us were there ( mid-late 70's on)

        Apple by all count ( and as jobs admits ) owes it life as it is to XEROX. No GUI to steal, No Lisa, then MAC. He even says so when he says in an interview " XEROX didn't know what they had. We do whatever it takes for the survival of apple, Remember Good artists copy, GREAT artists STEAL! XEROX were a bunch of copyheads. They had no CLUE what they had. They could have been bigger than IBM... Case closed "


    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Funny

      iOS is exactly like the UI developed at Xerox PARC, except that it doesn't have Windows, Menus* or Pointers.

      * Not in the sense of WIMP menus.

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Rhetoric aside...

    I don't support Apple in this (particularly with any evidence of one Samsung model being kept out of the trial due to Samsung filing the evidence late). But, if Google and Apple sign some cross-licensing perpetual license or whatnot then that lets OEMs not worry about a repeat of the Samsung situation. Most likely Apple violates some Google patent or other too. I'm sure cash will go one way or another (due to what I'll call "corporate ego", Google would probably pay Apple even if Google had loads of violated patents), they are both wealthy companies.

  11. rogerpjr



    I and several associates, with documented HISTORICAL PROOF.... Are working to shed light in a jihad of all jihad's ( legally.... This is America, right ) against Apple.

    Anyone caring to join in the fight is WELCOMED:

    This is to be in a LEGAL. COnsistent. COmprehensive manner.

    Apple's former CEO has set in motion a mindset in Apple that I am SURE the public would LOVE to know about.

    Theft of IP is THEFT.

    Theft of IP, and doing NOTHING in compensation to the tune of potentially BILLIONS is more than unjust. It's Criminal.... Sr jobs has admitted doing so. Has said that " good Artists copy, GREAT Artists STEAL". ACTUALLY even more here...

    Never say Sr jobs was shy about expressing himself...

    Again ANY and all with constructive ideas on aprising the public on apple's antics, as well as HISTORICALLY FACTUAL dirty deeds, kindly reply HERE.... I am NOT PLAYING.. The PUBLIC MUST KNOW!

    THIS promises to be a GRASS ROOTS, but effective campaign.. Agains Corporate EVIL. NO MATTER HOW apple settles.. Pandora's box was opened by apple...

    1. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

      Re: THE FUTURE

      I think there's a problem with your CAPS LOCK key.

  12. gaz 7

    pains me to say it.

    but the real winner in all of this could be Microsoft with WP8.

    If it has just enough features to keep the punters happy, then people scared about their fave phone company being sued into the ground by their hated phone company.

    There are winners in Thermonuclear war - It's the fucking cockroachs!

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: pains me to say it.

      "but the real winner in all of this could be Microsoft with WP8."

      And its bedfellow Nokia.

      Tellingly, Nokia share prices had an uptick after the Apple-Samsung verdict.

  13. g e

    Did no one yet mention...

    That perhaps, just perhaps, some lawyer looked at the Motorola patents and told Tim Crook

    "My Liege, my Overlord and Glorious Master, we can't bullshit or countersue our way out of this one, they have us bang to rights for blatantly not paying for their patents in everything we make and they can prove we've known about this for years and even have recordings of the laughter. We must do a deal"

    1. Toothpick

      Re: Did no one yet mention...


      Some lawyer looked at the Apple patents and told Larry Page.....

      From this article we don't know who contacted who.

  14. Glostermeteor

    The bloodsucking lawyers won't like this! They're the only true winners of these mammoth legal spats! Make love not war baby.......

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War Games, rebooted for 2010-2012:

    Steve: How about Global Thermonuclear War?

    Larry: Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?

    Jobs: Let's play Global Thermonuclear War.

    Larry: Fine.

  16. MrHorizontal

    Between the lines:

    Samsung to Google: OK, we've got to pay these idiots in Cupertino $1b. If we have to do that, we will and we'll drop Android and go to WinPho 8.

    Google to Apple: Oh s**t! Apple, what, exactly do you want us to do?

    Apple to Google: Scrap Android.

    Google to itself: Oh s**t! Everyone, eat a footlong with a big foot in it and then get a spade, we've got a big hole to dig.

    This of course is what Apple wants.

    What *should* happen though is this: Samsung, HTC, Motorola found guilty of infringing Apple. Apple found infringing by Motorola, Nokia and others for FRAND. All iOS and Android products injuncted off shelves. Congress goes 'oh s**t!', we've just let the patent system destroy our glorious icon, Apple. Patent system reformed, all cases appealed and back down. Everyone in the US still has a phone.

  17. Keep Refrigerated

    Initiate MAD!

    Wouldn't be anything to do with Google's current WMD aimed squarely at Apple's iEverything then?

  18. Badvok

    Posting this here in the hopes that some un-biased Reg hack notices:

  19. Paul Shirley

    Japan result in: there's a pattern even Apple can't ignore

    I wonder if Apples new found willingness to talk relates to the rapidly growing list of patent cases they've LOST against Android/Android users. Outside of some local German courts and that mockery of a jury in America they're losing everywhere.

    Latest result: Japan just ruled against Apple in another attack on Samsung. No patent infringement in yet another country.

    At some point reality catches up with most and Jobs is no longer around to blind his followers to reality. Google can just take it's time because time doesn't seem to be working for Apple. The real fun will be trying to deconstruct the 'not so' secret pact with Microsoft before MS can turn on Apple. MS have much more experience screwing their partners than Apple.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It went like this...

    apple... give us 30%

    Google... My what a long neck you have.. NO!

    Both... See you in court.

    Im glad the UK/Japan told apple where to stick it, their infinite loop around the money pile seems to have sent them a bit mental. This will backfire hard on apple, of that Im convinced.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reusing features

    Apple copied Xerox, samsung copied apple. Life goes on.

    What do you think happens in the Lexus labs when Mercedes releases a new car? And vice-versa.

    The competitors' cars are taken apart down to the last bolt. That's what happens. Real reverse-engineering.

    Except for the Apple vs Xerox example, all the protagonists mentionned can still sell their ware because they can differentiate them enough (why do some people love non-apple phones? Because the difference is *huge* compared to iPhones: looks, removable battery, SD slot, can be used a mass storage, can play any music file it contains, etc) and in the meantine everybody's products improve and the consumer wins.

    Conclusion: Apple, get a life and stop the bullying.

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