Apple the manufacturer of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad, has launched an offensive against Samsung, Motorola and HTC. Apple has claimed that these companies are copying its patents.
The fact that these companies manufacture tablets and handsets for Google, means that Google is the actual target of Apple’s attacks, although indirectly.
Apple has files suits against the above firms for multiple patent infringements across multiple countries, pointing out “slavish copying” of design and “look and feel.”
The European court has recently ruled in favour of Apple. The court has banned the sale of Samsung’s latest Galaxy tablet in most of Europe. Apple has also filed similar suits in Australia.
While the lawsuits so far are only aimed at the handset manufacturers, Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Co, said that Apple is really concerned with the software being used by these devices.
Since the Android software being used in these devices is similar to their iOS 5 they have decided to take action. Thus it is Google that will effectively bear the brunt of the lawsuits.
Though Apple is the market leader of smartphones, the free Android software on Google’s phones, could affect Apple eventually. The Android software is being activated on 550,000 devices daily.
If Apple can win some injunctions against this free software, consumers would be forced to pay for the use of the Android OS and this could make the Android OS less popular than it is.
At present Apple holds 75% of the market share for tablet devices. But this is expected to come down to 39% by 2015, while Android’s share will go up to 38%.
This war over patents had initially been kicked off by Google, when they sued Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies for the acquisition of 6,000 patents from Nortel.
Similarly, last October, Motorola sued Apple for violating 18 patents in its iOS-based devices,. Now Apple has sued Motorola for violating 6 of their patents.
“It’s clear that the tablet wars are going to be fought on many, many fronts,” Michael Gartenberg, technology analyst with Gartner.