About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another round for the patent wars

One of the amusing news items that I've read today is about Apple's court ordered "apology". The original notice was pretty well-hidden on Apple's website and contained a lot of snarky comments from the Apple side, which the magistrates did not find funny. And so they were ordered to print a revised version. (I do love these British magistrates!)

After reading the article, I decided to go down to the comments section (it's actually not healthy to do this on a regular basis) and I found a back-and-forth between people who liked the decision, and some guy with the user name "Peter Blood". 

It's pretty funny how much this guy's self-image is so tied up with Apple products. Although I do like some Samsung products (my phone for example, is a Samsung), I wouldn't go to an Apple forum playing the troll. For every pro-Android comment there, it seemed this guy just had to go and reply to each one. I'm hoping he won't find this post-- I do want to be left alone by trolls.

I'm not an Apple user; I'm typing all this on an inexpensive netbook running Linux, and I can of course be accused of bias. On the other hand, my Dad did get an Ipad, and we tutored him on how to get things done (skype, music, videos, and web-browsing were things he was unable to do with his rig, so we walked him through it). It's not my tablet of choice, but so long as it gets the job done with a minimum of bother for my Dad, buying it is actually something I approve of. It also helps that it's not running the latest version of IOS: google maps is still safely in the apps. 

In fact, if I had to buy a tablet for senior citizens, I'd probably go with Apple's walled-garden approach because most of the users in this category aren't very tech-savvy. Apple's design choices do make it easier and safer to use. After using that tablet though, I think Android and IOS differ enough to make accusing Google of patent infringement nutty, no matter what Steve Jobs would like us to believe. 

The main reason we see the patent wars is this: eventually, tablets will become a commodity product, with lots of competing manufacturers. Like Sony and other television manufacturers, you will eventually meet Chinese knock-offs, and there is no such thing as a monopoly on consumer goods. (Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers are posting losses in their financial statements as I write this.)  If Apple wants to keep the profits coming in, trying to maintain a monopoly using the court system is a good strategy; but no matter what Apple says, what's good for Apple may not necessarily be good for you.  

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