back to article US trade cops agree to investigate Apple's 'embrace and extend'

A patent lawsuit alleging that Apple froze out a third-party software developer has been given credence by America's International Trade Commission (USITC), which will investigate the complaint. Los Angeles-based Aqua Connect Inc claims to have created the market for a Citrix-like multiuser Mac desktop system, only to see …

  1. Daedalus Silver badge

    Golden rule

    Big companies like partnering with little companies, because if the little company makes money, that's fine. And if the little company goes belly up, that's fine too.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Golden rule

      $250 million settlement in court ten years from now, or buy the entire company for $50 million today?

      Which do you think Apple will choose?

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Golden rule

        Based on the nature of the lawsuit, it's more a case of "how much do we have to pay so we can import our products?". There's an element of extortion: fight it and deal with the impact on sales, or pay up and all will go swimmingly.

  2. LeoP

    Nah, can't be true!

    Apple owns ALL the IP in the world, including the rectangle and the button. So how can they ever infringe?

  3. Slap

    This one’s not quite black and white

    We’ve been able to do remote screen sharing since forever on macs. First there was Timbuktu (who remembers that) which crazily was useful over a modem (who remembers those). Then there was the free VNC which I used frequently to support clients. So if it’s just down to screen sharing then there’s a hell of a lot of prior art going on.

    However I think that the sticking point here is that on a Mac with multiple user accounts it’s possible to remote into any of those accounts, and this remoting in will work for multiple users simultaneously. I remember being on a Mac OS X server course, back when it needed a bit more than an average chimpanzee to configure, and one of the questions raised was if we could use a single Mac with multiple accounts like a Citrix server. The course leader looked into this and asked Apple directly.

    The response was that while it’s possible to do this it would be in violation of the EULA, which only allows such access for system maintanance and support, and not as a working desktop. This is something that I cannot independently confirm, however as the course leader was Apple accredited and had lines into Apple I’ve no reason to disbelieve him

    From my extensive experience in the Apple world I do not know of any company utilising ths facility in any way other than support. And then the support workers will be 9999 out of 10000 times logging into an already active desktop to support the user, and then the chances are that Teamviewer will be used rather than the inbuilt remote access.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

  4. ma1010
    Pirate

    When you swim with sharks...

    ...expect to get bit (or laser beamed). Apple and MS both have done this kind of thing. When it comes to making profits, giant corporations generally have all the scruples of Hitler and are restrained -- sometimes -- only by fear of legal consequences.

    But even then, in some cases they decide "damn the torpedoes" and go ahead with something like this, putting their "partners" on terms much like France's position with Germany in WW II. It is true that sometimes the giants lose and have to pay out (Stac Electronics case with MS, for example), but often they get away with their crimes due to their vast legal resources in comparison to some small fry startup. After all, in civil court, Murphy's Golden Rule ("He who has the gold makes the rules.") tends to apply.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: When you swim with sharks...

      For an example of semi-modern Apple doing exactly this look up Sherlock 3 versus Watson; Watson was a commercial third-party internet search tool somewhere around 2002 that brought a large variety of different vendors' search functionalities together in a light, clean box without any of the web's presentational baggage. Apple gave it a design award and then shipped the suspiciously-similar Sherlock 3 in the next version of OS X — Sherlocks 1 and 2 had been purely local search; they're Spotlight predecessors.

      There was no court case partly because the authors of Watson seem to be quite mature about this sort of thing, and probably because the Sun swooped in and bought the original anyway. Then did nothing with it, naturally, but I'm sure the cheque helped.

  5. Ilsa Loving

    I hope Apple loses big time

    The fact of the matter is that Apple's mechanism for screen sharing is, quite frankly, crap. RDP is infinitely better, for a variety of reasons, the most important of which (IMO) is that the resolution of your display is based on your local client, not the resolution of the mac you're connecting to.

    I'd been looking around for an RDP based screen server for Mac, and was disappointed I couldn't find one. Now I know why.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I hope Apple loses big time

      @Ilsa Loving

      I use NoMachine.

  6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    They already lost me

    I waited years to Apple see if Apple would reverse their trend towards a walled garden. They didn't so I've moved on.

    Apple's embrace of open standards started in the late 1990s after losing the critical mass to exist as a closed environment. I was a Mac developer at the time and everyone was quietly killing all Mac development. MacOS 7 was archaic, MacOS 8 was too buggy, and market share was down to 3%. Open standards got them back into homes, schools, workplaces, and produced a badly needed surge of new software. Unfortunately, Apple now has enough cash that they can stubbornly support poor products for at least a decade.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bonanza

    Yet another bonanza for the lawyers.

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