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Apple

Tim Cook Prefers Settling To Suing and Has a Huge Quarter 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the lead-differently dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's current legal battles with Samsung encapsulate a large number of patents, innumerable suits and counter-suits, and have resulted in legal motions in 11 jurisdictions across the globe. As you may remember, Steve Jobs in his biography was quite vocal about his intent to go thermonuclear on Android, vowing to spend every last dime in Apple's coffers to destroy Google's mobile OS. But Tim Cook is a bit more level headed about things, expressing during Apple's earnings conference call yesterday that he has has always hated litigation and would much rather settle than to battle in court. The caveat, of course, is that Cook doesn't want Apple to 'become the developer for the world.'" It may not be what Jobs would do, but as zacharye notes, it doesn't seem to be hurting earnings. "Despite early-morning jitters on Wall Street, Apple on Tuesday reported yet another blow-out quarter. The Cupertino, California-based company managed the second most profitable quarter in its history, posting a net profit of $11.6 billion on $39.2 billion in sales. Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones into channels last quarter, along with 11.8 million iPads, 7.7 million iPods and 4 million Mac computers. While the firm continues to dominate the technology industry — Apple is currently the most valuable company in the world — several analysts think Apple is just getting started."
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Tim Cook Prefers Settling To Suing and Has a Huge Quarter

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  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:41PM (#39798149) Journal

    Developer for the world sounds like a bit of a tall claim.

    Apple really don't invent much new stuff. What they are excellent at is combining existing, often poorly implemented, inventions into very well polished consumer products. That's their business and they're very good at it.

    But, it shouldn't be subject to patent protection, and their patents tend to be dubious at best.

    The other thing is that patents or not, it's an extremely hard thing to copy.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:51PM (#39798293) Homepage

      But, it shouldn't be subject to patent protection, and their patents tend to be dubious at best.

      Unfortunately, this is the situation we find ourselves in. Everything is patented, no matter how absurd, and companies are basically performing rent-seeking by suing everyone who makes something resembling one of their "existing, often poorly implemented, inventions" (which as often as not are just copies of other ideas which have been around a while).

      The problem is the absurdity of the patent system, much more so than any of the players. They're all playing the same game, and nobody wins in the end except for the big companies.

      How much is Microsoft making off every Android phone again?

      I don't see how any company could possibly not be getting embroiled in this unless you simply roll over and cough up a percentage of your earnings to any schmuck who comes along and says he's got a patent.

      • The problem is the absurdity of the patent system, much more so than any of the players. They're all playing the same game, and nobody wins in the end except for the big companies.

        Even the big companies aren't winning, as there is no way to easily defend against patent trolls.

        The only people who win are the lawyers.

        I don't see how any company could possibly not be getting embroiled in this unless you simply roll over and cough up a percentage of your earnings to any schmuck who comes along and says he's got

        • by ppanon (16583)

          Apple are very aggressive, and often attack first.

          Well, that was certainly true under Steve Jobs. His legal and emotional responses in this area were formed in the Apple ][ clone battles of the 70's/80's against companies like Orange who created look-alikes that used almost straight copies of the Apple ][ ROMs and motherboards. Apple have since faced numerous issues with copies of their hardware and software, including the infamous battles with Microsoft over Windows Look and Feel and the Psystar Mac clones

    • by alen (225700)

      they spent a few years doing research into coding just the right algorithm for an OS to detect a human finger and respond appropriately. its true they don't make or invented the touch screen but finding the algorithm to know when its a real finger and not accidentally touching is patent able.

      no one is stopping samsung and others from doing the same thing to find their own algorithm

      • [citation needed]

        or at least more context. Which patent are you referring to?

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:59PM (#39798407) Homepage

        > but finding the algorithm to know when its a real finger and not accidentally touching is patent able.

        disputable

        > no one is stopping samsung and others from doing the same thing to find their own algorithm

        Chances are, they already have. It's just the Apple now "owns" the approach regardless of how it was derived. It doesn't matter if I read it in the patent, or if I was able to "re-invent" it myself.

        The patent was likely never consulted because of the whole "treble damages" problem. So it is likely that the patent is competely worthless and unecessary.

        Your perverse idea of how patents should work allows the first person to file to steal the intellectual work from the rest of the market.

      • by morgauxo (974071) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @04:48PM (#39799811)
        First, an algorithm is simply a series of steps that accomplish a goal. That series of steps would have accomplished the same goal before it was ever patented. Nothing new was brought into the world just because somebody thought of the algorithm and then patented it. Also, in most cases lately somebody already DID think of it, they just didn't do it in a mobile device, or on the internet or blah blah blah

        Second, for any goal, including your example there are probably only a finite number of possible algorithms to achieve the goal. This certainly can prevent others from doing the same. Even if there are many ways of doing something there is usually only one best way and occasional a few best ways.

        As a consumer, when company X has the patent on the best algorithm to do A, company Y has the one for doing B and company Z for C then whose device do I buy? Either they are all overpriced due to money spent fighting in court, paying settlements and licensing fees or they all suck because each is only good at either A, B or C when what I want it for is D, the combination of A, B and C.
    • by MikeMo (521697) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:08PM (#39798523)
      Ya know, maybe they don't "invent" things. Whatever. One can say for sure that most of the industry tends to copy Apple's, er, um, 'not inventions'. What did smartphones [gizmodo.com] look like before the iPhone? What did tablets [wikipedia.org] look like before the iPad? Aren't all of the ultra books attempted copies of the Macbook Air? For sure, Intel uses the Air as the target [wikipedia.org].

      The point is, whatever you want to call it, Apple does seem to lead the industry (at least recently) and they probably do get a bit tired of seeing everyone make stuff that looks and feels like theirs.
      • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:31PM (#39798807) Journal

        Ya know, maybe they don't "invent" things. Whatever.

        Yes.

        One can say for sure that most of the industry tends to copy Apple's, er, um, 'not inventions'.

        Designs. The word you are looking for is designs.

        What did smartphones look like before the iPhone?

        Well, in 1992, you had the IBM Simon which was a blank slab with nothing but a touchscreen. Due to the manufacturing tech and other constraints of the time, it was quite thick and a bit lumpy, because the basic aerial and speaker tech was not advanced. But bsaically, it's a cuboid with a screen and nothing else.

        Then, later you had the LG Prada which was basically the same idea with 2006 era manufacturing and phone tech. That makes it a rather slicker cuboid with a screen and little else.

        So yes, Apple didn't invent the idea or basic design, but they produced a very refined version of it.

        What did tablets look like before the iPad?

        Er, pretty featureless cuboids with little else but a screen and as thin as possible given the state-of-the art manufacturing tech, like the Hp-Compaq TC1100?

        Aren't all of the ultra books attempted copies of the Macbook Air?

        Again, they were not the first company to make thin or light laptops.

        You're again confusing inventing the original idea with producing a good or even leading implementation of the idea. The latter is what Apple do, not the former. There's nothing wrong with that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Xylantiel (177496)

        Right, because Apple is the only one allowed to make clean, sleek designs. So anything clean and sleek is a copy of an Apple product. If that's not transparently ridiculous, nothing is.

        I see someone else has already pointed out that your claims about phones and tablets are hollow. Current smartphones are very much like a palm from the late '90's on steroids. Exactly what any of us would have come up with given the resources. Basically capacitive touch screens made on-screen keyboards usable and the re

      • They looked like the Palm Pilot you little whippersnapper!
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        no, air's are attempted copies at high end sonys. you seriously suggesting that air invented the ultrathin notebook segment? you don't think that the whole segment is obvious? you want to know why they even came up with it? they couldn't figure out how to make the metal macbook("pro") not eat your wrists with it's 90 degree sharp angle(that would be admitting that the design is shit, which it is).

        what did phones look before iphone? uh. I guess you for some reason didn't want to link a htc winmo that lacked

      • by MSG (12810)

        Before the iPhone, smartphones looked like this:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Prada [wikipedia.org]
        http://asset1.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/20090403/IMG_4858_540x360.jpg [cbsistatic.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:13PM (#39798593)

      Quite a few things new ways of looking at the world come directly from Apple, or employees they have hired and bought their inventions when no one else was looking at them -- not willing to foster these ideas into something tangible.

      And most of the stuff Apple has been complaining about have been things that could have been found by others, but weren't. Or complaining that someone takes a surface level idea and tries to ride the coattails of something much more popular to the point if they didn't sue, it would encourage others to create identical devices without having to put the hours in.

      I mean, with touch tablets...we all talk about how there really is only one form factor and that others are simply doing what they would have eventually done anyways, reducing the device to solely what was there. And if this is the case, why did every single tablet that came out before look pretty fucking shitty and now all want to try to look like the iPad. Wasn't like it was the first...yet, they took the time to do it right.

      As for other patents...I've had two patents in my name over the years (currently my university is fighting to take my name off because I refuse to 'monetize' them). And everyone in my field has come out and publicly shouted that what I did was OBVIOUS to everyone in the field. And it kinda was. Using time tested techniques and putting it together in a unique way that no one else had. Others had worked for 40 years in the field and got angry that these were patentable...the only reason I even agreed to patent it was that I didn't want to get sued by someone else in the future (and sadly, my employer technically has a suit against me now). And yet, they couldn't put two simple concepts together and make it work because everyone was fighting over the fact that they believed in one or the other concept and never thought to work together (both of which long since past the patent...and it WAS a little more than just adding the two together, but once you did and saw the results, you realized you could achieve far more going down this path than anything else).

      So yeah, when Apple combines existing inventions and actually makes them work when others that have had a lot more time and budget (at least 5 years ago)...they have done something that no one else could have done. And more to the point, they had the expertise to figure out what was important, and what isn't important. You really don't know a subject until you can make it useful to someone that isn't an expert in the field.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Quite a few things new ways of looking at the world come directly from Apple, or employees they have hired and bought their inventions when no one else was looking at them -- not willing to foster these ideas into something tangible.

        Such as?

        And most of the stuff Apple has been complaining about have been things that could have been found by others, but weren't.

        Again, such as?

        And if this is the case, why did every single tablet that came out before look pretty fucking shitty

        Simple: they didn't. Many did, bu

  • by Bigby (659157)

    Apple is successful in their hardware, but data is the future of tech money. Targeted (and automated) marketing will rule the industry while Apple produces commodity products that will be copied and copied again, destroying the margins.

    • by jjohnson (62583) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:46PM (#39798225) Homepage

      Ah, you've been digging up pundit's predictions from 2002, I see.

      • by Bigby (659157)

        There is money in their productions. And they can continue to make money in it if they can keep inventing new devices. In 2002, they didn't invent the iPod, iPhone, iTunes, or iPad yet. Their business model will always make them profits, but there is a limit. The limit is based on how many new products they come up with.

        In contrast, data itself has perpetual value. Anyone can make a device. Not everyone can collect data from such a HUGE segment of the population and have the capability to keep in cont

        • by jjohnson (62583) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:13PM (#39798585) Homepage

          And what makes you think they'll stop inventing new devices?

          As someone involved the tech world in exactly this "data is king" business model, I can tell you from direct experience that there's a hard limit on the value of data, and that's the value placed on it by business consumers. To quote the Calgary Flames marketing department, "we don't give a shit about surveying our customers". And they don't. They know who their customers are, what their demographic profile is, etc. They cared about (and used) our product because it offered another avenue of engagement, which is a separate concern.

          Everyone involved in the data side always spins great fantasies about precision marketing and deep knowledge of your customers, without acknowledging that in many cases, deep knowledge isn't even useful or worth paying for because it doesn't increase engagement or conversion rates or redemption ratios. Remember Xmarks, the bookmarks plugin people who thought there'd be tremendous value in having an aggregate-able database of everyone's bookmarks? They built that database, and then ran out of money because no one wanted to do anything with it. They were saved only because someone else saw an opportunity to sell a premium version of their plugin.

          I'm not saying data's worthless, by any means. But it's not particularly valuable in and of itself.

          • by Bigby (659157)

            They will try to make new devices. I bet that they won't be nearly as successful as iTunes or the iPhone.

            You are thinking really narrow with respect to the power of data. If the Calgary Flames sell out all the time, then data isn't as important as it is for 99% of other businesses that could always use more traffic/business. Sure there is advertising, which is the most visible use of the data. But there is national and corporate security, identifying untapped markets, car and mass transit traffic logist

            • by jjohnson (62583)

              I'm not thinking narrowly about the power of data, I'm recognizing that there are barriers to exploiting data economically based on the fact that, for most of what businesses do, they just don't need all that data. You're positing tremendous potential for advanced uses of data; I'm pointing out that most businesses aren't even set up or capable or desiring to do even mildly complicated things with vast data sets. Most businesses struggle to do normal things well, or recognize (like the Flames) that adding

    • by mclaincausey (777353) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:50PM (#39798269) Homepage
      Your post doesn't make any sense. You can't accumulate, store, or access data without hardware. Advertising is a different industry than the ones Apple chiefly participates in (iAd being a mere blip on their earnings report). Apple's products are not viewed as commodities by the market, which is why they command huge margins--margins that went up year over year if you bothered to read the earnings report. Apple's products have been copied and copied again and they still maintain premium status in the eyes of the consumer--margins haven't been destroyed and there's no reason to think they will be in the near term.
  • by halfEvilTech (1171369) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:42PM (#39798165)

    To bad the summory missed the best quote of the conference call

    Finally, one analyst dared ask a question about Apple's litigation battles when it comes to patents. "I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it," Cook said, but "we just want people to invent their own stuff."

    He is still an arrogant ass (yes I will probably lose some karma for that one)

  • A ray of sanity (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049)
    It'd be nice to see Apple let up on the Vendetta approach Jobs took to so many problems. I'd love to see them ease up on the Adobe hatred as well. Flash may have it's issues but a good share of the web uses it so it's a pain my iDevices refuse to acknowledge it. For all his pluses Jobs had an irrational confrontational approach to companies he saw as competition or even companies that resisted doing things his way.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I never thought I'd see "a ray of sanity" followed by a request for Flash on more products.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        The "ray of sanity" is allowing the user to decide.

        You don't need to be a jerk. You don't need to be a megalomaniac.

        Being both of those things just makes it obvious you are a threat to the community at large. You shouldn't do that before you have gotten yourself fully entrenched. An appropriate smack down is much more likely to be effective.

        • Flash is a poorly written battery hog. One of the reasons Apple banned Flash is because it makes the device look bad. In the end, I think Apple was right about Flash and they are probably mostly responsible for Flash's death.

          Normally though, I agree that the user should be the one to decide. For example, the DVR I bought from DirecTV is perfectly capably of playing Netflix streams, yet it doesn't include that capability, nor can I install it. My PS3 is also locked down.

    • Re:A ray of sanity (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cjhuitt (466651) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:52PM (#39798303)

      I don't want them to let Flash on iDevices. I've refused to install Flash on my development machine at work since before there was an iPhone (well, before the world at large knew about it, anyway), and IMO the web has improved with the reduction of Flash use where it was entirely unnecessary.

      The only downside to all this is the ads that used to use Flash (and thus were automatically blocked for me, no effort necessary) are now using other techniques that don't rely on browser plugins.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        What I would like is just the ability to access my iDevice's raw filesystem and the functionality I get by jailbreaking. I don't care if I have to buy an iOS membership to get this -- I want to be able to pop a command line, grab an E-mail attachment, edit it, encrypt it with a gpg key on the device, then scp it from the phone (likely in /var/mobile) to the remote device. Yes, this might be possible if one has enough apps that cooperate with each other, but it is far easier to just have a command shell wh

    • Re:A ray of sanity (Score:5, Informative)

      by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:52PM (#39798313)

      The thing with Adobe is that it's by no means all Apple's fault.

      One of the core issues was Adobe's creative suite, when they ported it to OS X they used Carbon rather than Cocoa. They knew Carbon wouldn't live forever yet they threw a temper tantrum when Apple started dropping Carbon in favor of the all-Cocoa future. Then they seemed to realize that if they dropped OS X as a platform they'd most likely end up losing customers as others (possibly including Apple themselves) filled the void, apparently they figure out that users of Adobe software on Apple platforms are generally more loyal to Apple than Adobe...

      • Yes and no. At time when these platforms were announced, Classic was for backwards compatibility. Carbon was acceptable for future use as an intermediate step but it was always stated eventually Cocoa would be the ultimate platform. The shelf life of Carbon was not set in stone. I think Apple played around with the idea of Carbon 64, but decided to kill it for a few reasons. First of which was that a lot of the functionality was already in Cocoa and second, Adobe was one of the few developers that were
    • Re:A ray of sanity (Score:5, Informative)

      by mclaincausey (777353) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:54PM (#39798335) Homepage
      Adobe killed mobile Flash last year. Are you expecting Apple to now build their own Flash client implementation for this buggy, insecure, dying technology? Jobs was right about Flash.
    • I dunno. Although I agree that the Vendetta approach is old and tiresome, it's really hard to let go of my deep and visceral hate for Adobe.

      They make Larry Ellison look like the Easter Bunny.

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      Given the Adobe has given up on Flash for Android, I'd say it's time you let go and realized that Flash on a mobile device isn't happening.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      There are actually several reasons that Apple had for avoiding Flash, and I'm inclined to think that most (not all) were rather good ones. They don't avoid Adobe completely... their ibook reader handles PDF fairly well (although I do wish that the bookmark facility supported openable and closeable nested bookmarks, rather than just always having them all expanded out)
    • Flash has been a blight for over a decade. If what it took to kill it was Apple drawing a line in the sand with its iDevices, praise be to Apple. I don't care if it's nearly ubiquitous, it's terrible. And frankly, Jobs was right that a lot of the way Flash works doesn't work well with how you use your touch device.

      I want Flash dead. I'm like the Trickster to Adobe's Flash.

  • "Settle" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miltonw (892065) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:50PM (#39798271)
    "Settle" translation: We want Google to pay us lots and lots of money for OUR ideas (which we took from everyone who came before us -- and never paid for.).
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well.
      settling implies having already initiated court proceedings(suing).
      it's a bullshit quote meant to buy press space and goodwill.

      it's not settling when you just sign a licensing deal without involving courts at all.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:51PM (#39798281) Journal

    several analysts think Apple is just getting started

    I find this particularly interesting since I would assume that market penetration should be causing their growth to slow -- hell they did worse than they did last quarter which, although still good, is a sign they're slowing somewhat, right? So I looked it up on this BGR blog site and it appears that only one analyst thinks so, Brian White. Can anyone provide several other analysts who thing "Apple is just getting started"?

    I also found some of Brian White's quotes to be less than analytical:

    “Apple fever rocks on”

    and

    "Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world and we see no end in sight to this trend"

    I hate to engage in character assassination but that really doesn't sound like any of the analyst reports I've ever read. They're usually dry as hell and stick to the numbers. Numbers numbers numbers, usually that's all that matters. Anyone got numbers on market penetration instead of telling me "Apple fever has no end in sight"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      hell they did worse than they did last quarter which, although still good, is a sign they're slowing somewhat, right?

      Wrong. The holiday quarter and quarters containing new product launches have a huge influence over revenue. You can't measure things quarter to quarter, you have to go to the year ago quarter to check growth and even then you have to take into consideration if one or the other was a launch quarter.

      If you want to know why certain people (yours truly included) are betting big on AAPL, consider

    • I think the part the analysts are looking at it the Asia Pacific market share. There are billions of potential customers in Chindia and surrounding villages. Even if / when the North American / European market gets saturated, you can count on sales figures from the 'developing world' to, well, develop.

      Should give them a couple more years.

      It's not much different from the US car manufacturers who are seeing stable to decreasing sales in NA / Europe but are busily building factories in China for domestic con

      • by dodobh (65811)

        Apple will have pricing issues in India and China. Even Nokia is being chewed up from below by cheap phones.

        Remember that data pricing is still exorbitant in these markets, even when voice calls and texts are not.

  • Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones into channels last quarter, along with 11.8 million iPads, 7.7 million iPods and 4 million Mac computers.

    In order to maintain the growth, they would need to see:

    55 million iPhones into channels , along with 18 million iPads, 13 million iPods and 6.5 million Mac computers.

    approx.

    So, the question is, can then do that? can the sell 55 million new iPhone in the first quarter of next year?

    • I have to wonder, what would Apple's numbers look like if you took away all the taxpayer subsidized contracts with public schools?
      • I suspect some government contractors would not appreciate you suggesting that their sales somehow mean less because they were made to the government and paid for with taxes.
        • I suspect some government contractors would not appreciate you suggesting that their sales somehow mean less because they were made to the government and paid for with taxes.

          Possibly; then again, these are the same contractors who charge we taxpayers $600+ a pop for toilet seats, so pardon me if I don't feel sorry for them.

          BTW, Manos_Of_Fate... What you did? It's there, and I see it :D

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:15PM (#39798609)

    Is it anything like Batman's giant penny? [wikia.com]

  • I knew about Steve Jobs "last dime" (which, sadly, I guess he has indeed spent by now), and so when I read

    Tim Cook Prefers Settling To Suing and Has a Huge Quarter

    I figured that must be some obscure reference to the size of either his warchest (for suing) or his pockets (for settling).

    Well, it did get me to read the summary, so I guess it worked as a title.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      According to Wikipedia:

      "There are three freely convertible currencies in the world, but none of them count. The American Dollar has recently collapsed, the Renminbi is only exchangeable for other Renminbi, and the Apple Quarter has its own very special problems. It exchange rate of five Apple Nickels to one Apple Quarter is simple enough, but since an Apple Quarter is worth $100 billions, no one has ever collected enough to own one Apple Quarter. Canadian Tire bills are not negotiable currency, because bank

  • Other companies must be having fits that Apple can sell shiny bits with rounded corners at high prices while everyone else squeaks by at much lower margins. When I have bought Apple products for my wife or granddaughter, it felt much more like buying jewelry or Steuben glass than a tech purchase. Beautiful and just as sensibly priced. Silly though.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @04:13PM (#39799371)

    Argh. This is a problem - everyone makes that mistake. But those are Susan B. Anthony dollars - not quarters.

  • Really? I know some analysts that eat their own poo. Pick anything rocketing to the top and you'll find plenty of people standing around to tell you its going to continue.

    Thing is...probably not.

  • by doston (2372830) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @04:47PM (#39799781)
    More like Jobs had a huge quarter. Once Tim's been in charge and the germinating seeds Jobs planted aren't still coming to fruition, Tim can go ahead and take the credit. If, in a few years, the company is still making money hand over fist, I'll salute him. Right now it's Thanks Steve. RIP
  • by koan (80826) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @05:56PM (#39800535)

    The Apple logo is an apple with a bite out of it, a reference to the Biblical Tree of Knowledge, but who suggested a bite be taken? None other than Satan, clearly Jobs made a deal with the Devil.

    That's why Apple is so successful. /snark
     

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