March 05, 2010

Patent end to innovation?

Apple inc has evoked mixed feelings in me. They are the company I respect the most for understanding the every-user. They present the smoothest integration between man and his gadgets. But they are also a company that I will never buy a product from. I wholeheartedly and passionately dislike their closed ecosystem approach.

However they never struck me as lacking innovation - until now. Recently they decided to sue phone maker HTC over alleged 20 patent violations. I am sure Apple believes there is true merit in some of those claims, but when it comes to the interface "technologies", I believe they are wrong.

Apple has delivered everything that the rumor-mill has promised. The iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV and the tablet, not to mentions scores of products on their mac line-up. Now I believe Apple has finally out-run the rumor-mill. They have successfully gotten Jobs out of Macworld. The last thing churned by wasn't necessarily as earth-shaking as hoped. And now the company is busy defending instead of creating the next big thing.

Apple knows or should know, that they have enough of a brand name that they will get the customer dollar votes they deserve - without having to enforce patents to limit consumer choice. Customers that choose to buy a HTC handset will do so because they either do not want to buy Apple, or they cannot get Apple, or because Apple is priced out for them. No one that Apple's victory in a patent suit is going to help them win back.

The reason for the patent war clearly isn't the customer - it is the investor that wants to milk the cash-cow dry. A cash-cow that isn't much into innovation anymore.

No comments: