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Cellphones Patents Apple

Apple Wants Patents For Crippling Cellphones 371

theodp writes "Evil is in the eye of the beholder, but there's certainly not much to like in the newly-disclosed Apple patent applications for Systems and Methods for Provisioning Computing Devices. Provisioning, says Apple, allows carriers to 'specify access limitations to certain device resources which may otherwise be available to users of the device.' So what problem are we trying to solve here? 'Mobile devices often have capabilities that the carriers do not want utilized on their networks,' explains Apple. 'Various applications on these devices may also need to be restricted.'"
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Apple Wants Patents For Crippling Cellphones

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  • by axlrosen ( 88070 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:15AM (#29615771) Homepage

    If you don't like a company crippling a product, what are the alternatives?

    Well, one alternative is that the company couple sell different physical products with the different capabilities. Of course, that would increase costs, so both the crippled and uncrippled versions would cost more.

    Or, the company could only sell uncrippled hardware. Now, what price would they sell it for? They certainly can't sell it for the lower price of a crippled product, because they'd lose money. So now you've lost the choice between a lower-price/lower-featured product, and a higher-price/higher-featured product. In other words, richer people win, poorer people lose.

    So we should recognize that there's a benefit to being able to sell different sets of features to different consumers. More people get what they want at a price they can afford.

  • Just a thought.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:23AM (#29615827)

    So, you build this super-nifty gadget that does all sorts of cool things... but you don't want those cool things to actually be used?
      Why not build them without that capability in the first place?

  • by realsilly ( 186931 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:23AM (#29615831)

    I could agree with this if and only if they are giving you the phone for free and you are only buying the service. But when you are expected to buy the hardware, it is no one's business what you do with it. Too many companiess want to control what you do with the gadgets that you buy. Why are we allowing this in our society?

    Crazy scenario, if you buy a toaster with a computer chip in it that has a little app that holds memory of who you are and how you like your toast toasted, should we then allow the companies to own the rights to how you want to modify the toaster?

    I know I know, someone will say, it's about the network and keeping it clean of apps with viruses or that the apps are what make a company $$$, but it's all becoming too invasive.

  • by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:33AM (#29615931)

    Operators have a hard limit on the amount of service they can actually provision. Allowing any and all devices to run willy nilly on the network would be certain death, even for the best-laid network.

    Do you have any examples of this? Apart from the non-standard system needed to support the iPhone's voice mail stuff, I can't figure out what you might be referring to.

  • RIM has prior art... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by scream at the sky ( 989144 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:39AM (#29615991) Homepage

    You can do all of this via Blackberry Enterprise Server.

    My 'berry is so locked down by the guru's at head office that I have the same web browsing restrictions on it, that I do on our point of sale desktops, all courtesy of the BES and SonicWall routers.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @09:54AM (#29616171) Homepage Journal
    $18M is pocket change. A few million dollars doesn't solve anything; how about you stop buying the occasional order-out pizza, because $18 for a meal one night a month is outrageous when you could make some chicken soup to last the family a whole week for twice as much (making it $5 instead of $18)! That whole $216/year saved is MASSIVE!
  • by c_forq ( 924234 ) <> on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:01AM (#29616253)
    The problem is that in most cases these people are essential. They know something, just not in the field they are working in. I know a person who worked in one of those school administrative offices, they were paid more than any teacher in the district - but they brought over 2 million dollars into the district. Knowing how to write and win grants is very valuable. Likewise with hospitals, knowing how to make a treatment covered by medicare, and having knowledge of the multitude of forms out there (both government and insurance) is very valuable. Maybe it shouldn't be, but there also shouldn't be the Darfur situation and abject poverty in the US, but there is.
  • Not free=flawed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Savior_on_a_Stick ( 971781 ) <> on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:10AM (#29616367)

    You don't seem to understand the flawed business model that communications providers have been running with since the beginning.

    The business model since the beginning has been to build networks with business users in mind, and then selling unused capacity to consumers at bargain rates.

    At one time, a buck a minute was normal, and for business users, still a bargain compared to the "mobile phone" that Perry Mason used.

    Since the networks grew at an amazing rate, eventually reducing costs to commodity levels, that model was hardly flawed.

    They never had enough capacity for their customers.

    There have always been areas where use has jumped fast enough to outstrip network expansion.
    If you mean network resources have never been unlimited, I'll grant you that.

    So as it stands today, there just isn't enough network for us, which is why when there are city/county/state-wide emergencies many calls do not go through.

    YOUR calls don't go through - the important ones do.
    That's by design.
    Cell operators are required by Federal law to interrupt consumer cell service to prevent the network becoming unavailable to emergency responders.

    Comcast (unfortunately my home ISP) is perhaps one of the worst offenders of this. Having resold the bandwidth I paid for multiple hundreds of times. Eventually instead of providing me with what I have been paying for (unlimited broadband, as in no bandwidth cap), they reneged on their deal and put in a hard cap of 250gb/mo.

    So...what you are saying is that your monthly charge should cover 25 terabytes of transfer or more?

    The fact of the matter is that you didn't buy ALL their bandwidth - they aren't reselling YOUR bandwidth - that's pure rubbish.

    The question is how to strike a balance between use and cost.

    There is a certain cost per byte that has to be recovered, or no one gets to play.

    I probably come pretty close to the cap at times, but have never heard anything from Comcast.
    On my business accounts, I shatter that barrier every month - that's why I have business accounts that aren't subject to it.

    You should stop whining and do the same.

    Comcast COULD have simply limited your speed so that you couldn't exceed the cap.
    It would still be unlimited.

    That was rejected as a bad compromise for obvious reasons - most people don't use bandwidth at a sustained high rate.

  • by gmack ( 197796 ) <> on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:18AM (#29616463) Homepage Journal

    Congratulations your right on the money. My last phone from Telus disabled file transfers over USB meaning that pictures taken on the phone had to be emailed to me for a fee rather than just transferred for free. Thankfully Bitpim fixed that for me with the Motorola equivalent of a registry change. This isn't at all about reducing use of resources, it's about maximizing the use of resources that the phone company can bill you for.

  • Re:Confirmed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:50PM (#29619199)
    The difference is if you own the unix box you have root. If you own the cellphone Apple or AT&T get root? Should your home internet provider get root on your computer? Why is it so hard for people to get the concept of ownership?!?
  • Re:Confirmed (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:14PM (#29619517)

    If China is going to make them figure it out and do it, they sure as hell are going to patent it so only they can comply with Chinese wackiness.


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