Google chairman: Apple’s lawsuits prompted by jealousy and innovation-shortfall

Jul 19, 2011
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Google chairman: Apple’s lawsuits prompted by jealousy and innovation-shortfall

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has accused Apple and others of jealousy over Android's success, claiming the spate of patent lawsuits against Android OEMs are "just inspired by our success." Speaking in Tokyo at the Google Mobile Revolution conference, Schmidt suggested that "the big news in the past year has been the explosion of Google Android handsets and this means our competitors are responding," PerthNow reports, going on to sneer that "they are not responding with innovation, they're responding with lawsuits."

The Google chairman's aggressive stance echoes HTC's comments from recent weeks. The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer called out Apple for trying to compete in the courtroom rather than on the strength of its products, after it added a fresh batch of patent infringement allegations to the ongoing litigation between the firms. The harsh words didn't help HTC's case much, however, with the ITC still finding that its Android devices infringed on two Apple patents, something HTC has vowed to appeal.

"We have not done anything wrong and these lawsuits are just inspired by our success" Schmidt said, going on to confirm that Google would support HTC. The exec failed to detail exactly what form that assistance would take, however, and nor did he comment on the growing number of manufacturers using Android that have entered into licensing agreements with rivals like Microsoft.

The increasing expense of IP licensing and settlements has reportedly prompted some firms to look to other platforms beyond Android, even if they may be required to pay an upfront fee. Earlier today it was suggested that Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei were planning to adopt Windows Phone because, despite the $15-per-device that Microsoft charges, that could still pale in comparison to the sum total of licensing Android OEMs may have to fork out should litigation between Google, Apple, Oracle and others not find in the open-source platform's favor. Meanwhile MeeGo could be another potential beneficiary, with the backing of Intel and favorable initial reports of the first MeeGo handset leaving it with something of a halo at the moment.

Google CEO Larry Page denied that the Android patent system was "critical" last week, suggesting instead that the company was focusing on developing its own intellectual property rather than simply buying up the patent portfolios of others. The search giant's shares soared in Q2, with an estimate-beating $9bn in revenue.


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