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Apple Wants To Block Some HTC Products From US Under Tariff Act of 1930 297

Posted by timothy
from the mmm-competition dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Days after filing another suit against Samsung, Apple took aim at smaller rival HTC, filling a claim with the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the sales of the competing smartphones and tablets. Apple said that HTC was infringing on 'groundbreaking' [technology] that Apple developed for its iPod, iPhone and iPad products."
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Apple Wants To Block Some HTC Products From US Under Tariff Act of 1930

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  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:28PM (#36729252)
    Contrary to Jobs' statements, they don't want competition and they learned their lesson back in the early Mac Vs. PC days when they got their lunch eaten by a bunch of nobody OEMs churning out cheap PCs. Apple's model is not sustainable, and it's even less sustainable when people aren't flush with disposable income. Any moron could have predicted Apple would be in trouble years ago - they're one company trying to make one model of phone (which is just an iPod with a 3G chip) versus numerous Android vendors each innovating.
  • *sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:28PM (#36729254)

    "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it," Steve Jobs said at the time.

    In other news, Steve Jobs is seeking to have a new liver transplanted in along with whatever bodily organ it is that keeps a person from being a huge douchebag.

    If only he could rise to the ethical standards of 1990s Microsoft. Yeah, it's gotten that bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:34PM (#36729294)

    If by trouble you mean they are supply constrained and take home 50% of the profits in mobile devices, then yes, Apple is in big time trouble.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:44PM (#36729368)

    If Apple were serious in their attempt to protect their business, then make their devices in the US and maybe their complaint could be taken seriously.
    They may do the bulk of their R&D in the US but it is all built offshore. I don't see how they can claim protection under these circumstances.

  • Told ya (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:44PM (#36729370) Homepage

    Apple is the new Microsoft. Remember how Apple used to sue bloggers for just talking about an upcoming product? How about the kid who was selling white iphone skins, Apple shut him down in a hurry.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:51PM (#36729410)

    It is quite accurate. Apple doesn't want competition. They have a real problem with Android in terms of their continued growth. Apple's massive rise has been due to its consumer electronics, not its computers. They could get rid of their computer division and still be huge.

    Well the iPod is secure, for a good while at least, because of branding and fashion. People don't buy MP3 players, they buy iPods. They are the fashionable thing to own. Fine, but it is also a fairly saturated market, and one that is hard to sell people on new gadgets. MP3 players these days do a good job and have tons of space, it is hard to say "Hey you need a new one!"

    So their growth markets are cellphones and tablets. However Android is cutting in to that hard. The iPhone is facing a major threat from Android phones, particularly HTC phones which feature a very slick interface (Sense is really nice).

    What's more, the Android market moves much faster. Right now you can get Android phones with 4G, with dual core CPUs, with 3D screens. Now I'd say other than the first one that is not so useful, but it is new gadgets that people want.

    They don't want that, they don't want to have to complete on their own merits, so they are going after Android makers. They were fine with Blackberry, that went for the business segment. No problem, they weren't interested in that, they wanted the larger consumer segment and they had it. However Android cuts hard in that and with each improvement cuts in more.

    Apple is worried, Android has real potential to cut off their steam in their growth areas. If they start to take over as the phones, and perhaps tablets (that area remains to be seen) then Apple is in trouble. Also with that goes the profitable app and media sales.

    It isn't like it would put them out of business, but it could shrink the profitability a lot and no company is interested in that.

  • Re:Does it work? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:52PM (#36729418)

    These companies have payed millions of dollars to buy patents. HTC didn't buy the IP therefore it has to pay a licensing fee.

    The goal isn't to actually stop the selling of products, the goal is to extract licensing fees to cover the costs of patent purchases in the past and internal R&D.

    The sales block just expedites the process by hitting the company much harder than insubstantial penalties (see Microsoft's fines in the 90s). It's one thing to fine them a few million a year, it's another to cut their revenue stream so that they can't afford the fines.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:56PM (#36729444)

    Just nobody noticed because they were tiny. For a little while in the beginning they were a real techie company. I call that the "Woz Apple." However it wasn't long before they became more locked down and controlling than MS ever was. I've seen it time and time again throughout their history, but they were small, it only affected a small number of people, most of them fans who would forgive any transgression.

    They also got a pass from a lot of geek types since they were "against Microsoft." They figured anyone who opposed MS in any way, no matter how minor, had to be a good guy. They never looked in to it past that. The love of the underdog and the dislike of MS meant Apple could do no wrong and they needn't look deeper.

    Now Apple is massive, they are a consumer electronics giant. However this is not because of any change in their way of doing business, just that they found a market that they do well in. However because they are large, people are taking notice of what Apple does. They seem to think Apple has changed, and don't realize that only their visibility, and the effects of their actions have changed.

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Monday July 11, 2011 @11:01PM (#36729476) Journal

    Gahahaha, I'm sorry, did I just read you as writing that the android vendors are innovating?

    I hope you mean in terms of hardware, because they can keep their software/firmware "innovations" to themselves and let my battery keep its life while they're at it.

    What do you mean? My Evo3D has awesome battery life. It is certainly better than any Apple phone that's been released, and it has a gig of Ram and a dual core 1.2 Ghz processor. Sure, my Evo4G had piss-poor battery life, but it was nearly twice the speed of any Apple phone when it was released (1 Ghz vs 600 Mhz). That problem has been resolved. Where my 4G would lose 10%/hr just sitting there, my 3D can last the entire day with 80% left.

    Oh, and my Evo3d has a glasses-free 3D screen and 3D camera that takes 3D video and stills (or 2D if you wish) with LED flash, 4G speed and a 4.3 inch screen. Sorry, but I don't see anything Apple has ever produced that has "innovations" that match this. My phone even has a flashlight application that uses the LED camera flash with three different brightness settings. It sounds silly, but it has come in handy many of times.

    Sorry, but like the parent said, Apple produces one phone. It simply can't compete with the range of Android devices out there. You can pick up an HTC Hero for free or you can get a phone like mine for $200. Apple can't compete on either end of that spectrum. When they first release a new device, they are top of the line for about a week. For the rest of the time, they are middle of the road hardware with an OS that is really showing its age (no widgets? Seriously?). They can't last like this. They are a very innovative company that produces high quality hardware that are works of art, but they are still just one company trying to compete against several, each innovating their own thing. The only advantage Apple has today is in tablets, but I don't see that lasting past this year.

    No wonder Apple is scared.

  • Apple's Weakness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday July 11, 2011 @11:23PM (#36729610)
    Too bad that Apple is admitting how they can't compete with their design and technology, so they will compete with lawyers instead.

    Sad.
  • by siddesu (698447) on Monday July 11, 2011 @11:25PM (#36729618)

    simply because the idea was completely lifted from Apple.

    Meh. And Apple "stole" the app market idea and implementation from Docomo, AU and Softbank in Japan, each of which had a working and thriving app market ages before Jobs even visited Japan to hunt for smartphone ideas. I'm forgetting who they stole it from, because it wasn't all that new in 2002 either.

    Besides, there's nothing bad about stealing ideas.

    The copyright and patents are _artificial_ monopolies that, ceteris paribus, impede development, technological, social and otherwise. The society puts up with them for two reasons: the alleged contribution to "innovation", which never materializes, and the large amount of money for lobbying that the monopoly rents make available. I'll let you figure out which reason is the most important.

  • by fermion (181285) on Monday July 11, 2011 @11:26PM (#36729628) Homepage Journal
    This has been a back and forth. Traditional vendors are fighting Apple to keep the Mobile phone companies in control, and Apple is fight the traditional vendors to wrest control from the phone companies. It was not that long ago that we did not have the ability to make ringtones for free, or browse the web without exorbitant charges, or for that matter have a phone that we could update on our own without mobile phone limited our choices. Yes, Apple does limit choice, but because of Apple Google gave us android that often has fewer limits. Except when the mobile phone company limits choices. Phone companies limiting our choices is what will happen if Android and MS Windows Mobile becomes the standard.
  • Troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Windwraith (932426) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @12:05AM (#36729858)

    I think Apple is just trolling the world at this point...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @12:11AM (#36729892)

    Apple has always been hugely litigious. I guess you weren't around when they sued MS in 1985 over the Windows 1.0 interface, and again in 1989 over the Windows 3.0 Interface. Apple makes fantastic products. They're also obsessively controlling of their ecosystem and their intellectual property, and they've sued everyone from Apple Records (countersuit, actually) to Cisco over trademarks ("iPhone" was a Cisco trademark). It's a component of how they've always done business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @12:12AM (#36729906)

    If this is truely the case, then why the need for apple to sue everyone?

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:44AM (#36730302) Journal

    Innovation is apparently improved battery life and a 3d display?

    And camera... don't forget the 3d camera.

    Of course, I could have gone on and on about the widgets, nifty spinning display, weather clock thingie, live wallpaper, multiple shells like GoLauncher and so on and on and on, but I think I made my point.

    Look the iPhone is a really nice phone, but just because it does one thing that most Androids can't doesn't make it a better phone. Android based phones do an awful lot that the iPhone will never do. Pick the phone that works best for you, but don't go around bashing the competitor to your phone just because you don't have it. That's what the GGP was doing and I think I called him out on it pretty well.

    Apple has pushed the "smart phone" to levels we may have never achieved without them, but that doesn't give them the right to abuse the legal system to stop others from making a product other people might want more, or have no choice in buying. For example, what if you live in an area without AT&T or Verizon? If Apple had their way, you would have to move to get a smart phone or simply not have one. I'm not going to let Steve Jobs tell me what I can and can't have and what service I choose to get it!

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @03:07AM (#36730578)

    It isn't like it would put them out of business, but it could shrink the profitability a lot and no company is interested in that.

    Take a look at the P/E ratio on AAPL [yahoo.com] of 16+, analysts' earnings and one (1) year target estimates; not exactly a bargain, considering the risks (Android is both a serious and viable competitor), if you ask me. Plus, if Apple fails to meet expectationsor worse starts missing on quarterly earnings because of Android then look out below because Apple has a long ways to fall, especially given the fact that its meteoric rise in recent years is due in no small part to the fantastically profitable iPhone. If you want to see an example of how quickly the markets and Wall Street can punish a tech company that fails to deliver on expectations, look no further than RIMM [yahoo.com] which some commentators now refer to as, "wasted research, downward motion". Research in motion is down 63% from its 52 week high; that's brutal if you were a buyer any time between then and now.

    I consider myself to be a fairly savvy investor, but the smart phone market changes quarterly and the pace of new handset releases, especially Android phones, is only increasing. There are many unknown variables, including killer apps or features, that are both disruptive and come out of nowhere on a regular basis. This may be good for consumers, but that level of risk and volatility, especially in a narrowly focused company like Apple with a healthy stock premium, is high risk and high stakes for all but the hardiest and best informed investors. I'm not a buyer of Apple, especially at these prices, because (a) the stock is expensive and (b) the risks in a disruptive and unpredictable business, like the smart phone business, with plenty of well informed insiders, are too high. In my opinion, most small investors would be well advised to steer clear of these rocky shoals. Alternatively, the telecoms have come down in price somewhat and all of those smart phone users are still paying $30+ per month, in spite of the jobless recovery, for their data plans.

  • Re:New Sig (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:54AM (#36730996) Journal

    Honestly? I think we are beginning to see what will be the future of Apple without Steve. it is kinda sad really as it really was "The house that Steve built" but it is his own fault for not building a clean line of succession and obviously grooming his replacement after the first health scare. i know that a company is more than one man but reading many stories of those that have worked there it is pretty clear that from the time he came back it has been Steve's vision the whole time.

    Sadly I have a feeling it is gonna be like the Pepsi guy all over again when he is gone, or like the bumbling mess that has been Ballmer's takeover of Gate's company. Whether you liked them or not Gates and Jobs had clear visions of where they wanted their respective companies to go and plans to get them there. I have a feeling as Steve takes more and more time to tend to his failing health the stupid moves and general douchebaggery will only get worse, but that is what happens when you get suits in charge that are MBAs and salesmen and not visionaries.

    It happened to Apple under the Pepsi guy, it is happening now to MSFT under the sweaty monkey, and it looks like it will happen to Apple again without Steve at the helm. Let us just hope for all those Apple fans out there Steve gets well soon, because whether you support their products or not you have to admit the man knew how to run his company.

  • Re:Does it work? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @06:35AM (#36731368)
    Indeed - this is nothing to do with recouping R&D costs. Apple have surely already done that many times over with sales of their own products, without requiring licensing fees. This is purely about the guys at the top trying their damndest to keep out their competitors, and none of these companies seems to be any better than another in that regard - they all scream for freedom when it's their neck in the noose while happily lobbying for protectionism when the roles are reversed.
  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @06:35AM (#36731370)

    So does Apple.

  • Re:Does it work? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @07:18AM (#36731526)

    No, Apple is not a patent troll. Unless you believe that using a patent under any circumstance is trolling, which is patently ridiculous. Apple does not purchase patent rights for the sole purpose of suing or licensing them to other companies. Apple files its own patent applications, uses its patents in its own products, and seeks licensing fees for their patents, if they wish to. The entire point of patents is to secure a monopoly on the idea or concept that has been patented. It would be a waste of the application fees to let the patents sit idle while other companies freely implemented the ideas.

    Software patents are an abomination, but that's a completely separate topic than patent trolls.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @08:52AM (#36732070)

    I don't know, around these parts, I see a lot more non-Apple MP3 players than I do iPods anymore. Most people in my circle have since stopped carrying a standalone MP3 player completely and use their phones as one instead. The few people that don't (due to the fact that they have "dumbphones") rarely have an iPod, and instead have a Samsung or SanDisk cheapo.

    Most of them probably couldn't even tell you the name brand of their MP3 player, but they're not concerned with brand names; they want a cheap MP3 player that holds a few hours of music for in the car or wen they're working out. I know a few people that deliberately went that route for a workout MP3 player because they broke their expensive Apple toys at the gym a few times and would rather be out $50 when they inevitably drop in on the treadmill and stomp on it then the $399 or whatever they paid for their iPod or iPhone.

    Now, 5 years ago I would have agreed, pretty much everyone carried an iPod. But today, I know very few people that, if they do have one, actually carry it around and use it. You can add me to that list, as my iPod is currently rotting in a drawer because the battery won't hold a charge, Apple wants to charge me $100 to replace it, and I can listen to all the same songs on my Droid. I bet a lot of them are sitting in drawers and glove boxes all over the country.

    To each their own...

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