Smartphones

Apple: The accuser becomes the accused

On the heels of the Apple/Samsung lawsuit, Apple drops IOS 6 on the public. Just like IOS 5, there are plenty of features stolen directly from Android, alleges Jack Wallen.

Much to my chagrin, my wife has an iPhone. Yesterday she upgraded the OS to 6 and the upgrade brought a few shocks, but no surprises, to my eyes. It seemed every time my wife would shout, "Oh cool!", it would turn out yet another feature on IOS 6 was another bit of clever thievery on the part of Apple.

Now, the only reason this is even remotely important (at least to me) is that it comes after the ridiculous IP lawsuit Apple won over Samsung. Prior to that, Apple was doing its usual 'Oh, that's a cool feature Android has, let's steal it, put it in our platform, and pretend we invented it.' I've been used to that ever since various desktops started stealing from Linux long ago. But this time there was something else involved -- hypocrisy.

Apple sues the bankroll off of Samsung for patent design issues (does anyone actually have any details on just what design issues?) and then turns around and releases a new OS that clearly "borrows" from Android. Apples to Apples? Shouldn't this be a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

There were so many pundits pontificating on why Apple brought this insane law suit to court. I myself stated it was a cash grab in hopes of stopping the Samsung Galaxy S3 from getting into the hands of too many people before the iPhone 5 arrived. But now, I wonder if it was little more than a diversionary tactic so people might not notice (or even bother to bring up) the fact that Apple did just what they claimed Samsung was doing.

Let's see:

  • You can now create auto responses to phone calls in the form of texts (been in Android for a long time now)
  • All Facebook contacts show up in Contacts (been in Android since day one)
  • Bluetooth sharing (again, been in Android since day one)
  • Document syncing (Sync your Android docs with Google docs)
  • Offline Reading (tons of Android apps have already had this)

This list doesn't even include the list of IOS 5 features that were "borrowed" from Android. And in a show of unprecedented shenanigans, Apple even stole the design for their clock design from the Swiss National Railway!

Ultimately, what gets me about this whole mess is that Apple seems to always have a Get Out Of Jail Free card hidden in their back pocket. It seems the darling dear of the tech world can do what they want, when they want, and get away with it, knowing full-well there will be no consequences.

It's very clear that Apple wants to be the only big man on campus. Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with that -- we all do in our respective fields. But to win a lawsuit to the tune of over two billion dollars and then turn around and pull off the same thing you just sued a company for is beyond the realm of audacity (and I'm not talking the amazing, open source audio recording tool)!

Every maker of Android devices needs to stand up to the bully. Actually, it's time Google came up to bat and knocked Apple out of the park. Make Apple aware they can't bully everyone on the playground just because they are Apple. Slap them with an iLawsuit that will finally make the public aware that the accuser is now the accused. Sure, the public at large won't care. But those with a finger in this tasty pie (aka Android developers and designers) would certainly feel validated and vindicated.

Apple should be ashamed of themselves for wasting taxpayers' money on a lawsuit that could just as easily be aimed at themselves. I realize that nothing will probably come of this, mostly because the public is far too awash in a sea of delight that is the iPhone 5 to realize said delight is brought to them by a completely different platform. But maybe, just maybe this will come back to haunt Apple when Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Google have had enough and drop the gauntlet to Cupertino. Should that happen, the court system and the court of public opinion might have a surprise for Apple up their sleeves.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

34 comments
MyopicOne
MyopicOne

...why Adobe HAS to do anything that Apple Corporation wants. They can and will do what is in their interests. They might be wrong but if so will pay the price in the marketplace.

exces
exces

Don't buy any Apple products. Simple yet effective. They deserve that.

jordi2012
jordi2012

My wife has both ipad and iphone and she can not play any flash content. Apple is selling what they have stolen from others bu more expensive, So we have to wait for the FLASH solution for ANDROID to have it with apple, Luckly I have only a Black Berry and I am happy with it.

charles.greening
charles.greening

Fair call, lets not forget how Apple in the begining would scout computer shows taking snapshots of other competitor’s motherboards. Apple also claimed they were the number one selling PC back with the Apple 2, at which time they were a distant 3rd to the TRS-80 and the Commodore Pet.

Z-eu
Z-eu

I am far from being an Apple fan. However..... Apple produces propriatory products, closed sourced, and it's important to their financial business. If Apple is to borrow ideas from an open source project such as Android, there is very little you can do about it. I don't think I've ever seen Apple charge for their iOS therefore are not making profit from it. They can use what ever features they like without a worry in the world.

tony85
tony85

considering that Apple openly admitted they ripped off the mouse and other things from Xerox Parc, it has always seemed hypocritical of them to criticise others for copying. Some of the patents are ridiculous. Patents are not meant to be obvious things and have to be novel.

tr
tr

it's about using the letter of the law to one's own advantage. Apple would be happy to share their inventions so all can enjoy the value... as long as the licenses are followed and the fees paid. Android and most open source software have the same restrictions on obeying the license restrictions, they just don't all use as strict a license or require fees to be paid for usage. Apple never hid their purpose of making money. Open source providers, especially the subset that focus on software freedom, are not any less fanatical about enforcing the licensing requirements of their software than Apple is... just look at any blogger who has ever used a forked package that does not maintain the original author's license. Apple just has the money to back up their fight in court.

dcwebb123
dcwebb123

I have no preference to mobile eco system, I (unfortunately) have to use all the four major ones to a certain extent. Can you explain your argument in this article? In the 'lets see' section, on the first point, auto responses as texts were around before Android, I think I remember it on an old Nokia 'Smartish' phone. Facebook contacts is a Facebook API that is Facebook owned, not Android, nor Apple - they would both likely be paying Facebook for the use and integration. The last three points aren't owned or even created by Android. These last three were built into windows mobile 6.5 and earlier. Apples case against Samsung would be the same as if someone decided to create a mobile platform with large square tiles filling the whole screen which displayed current information on them.... almost as if it were 'live'.

gevander
gevander

Always yes. The only answer, ever, to "should everybody band together against a bully and a thief" is only "yes.

buck-rabbit
buck-rabbit

What would happen to Apple, if all of the rest of those on Apple's recieving end, banded together and stopped allowing Apple to buy or use ANYTHING that wasn't directly invented or designed by them? And more directly, what would the cost be if Apple had to finance the building and developing of all that was needed to be TRULY not connected to any one elses ideas and designes? No doubt , a resounding kick up the proverbial is what Mr Smarty Pants needs to bring him down to Earth and face the reality that HE had very little to do with Apple's success's over the years, and may be he will stop trying to impress everyone with His Clever Dick Idea's!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

How much of what Apple is promoting as New or Improved actually comes from Apple or from the base OS BSD? Apple has licensed BSD with their own front end on it which they call iOS so I just wonder how many of the new Features that they deploy are actually developed for them by the BSD Developer Community and how many they actually develop themselves. None the less I've just Patented a Round thing with a hole in the middle that I call a [b]Wheel[/b] so I'm expecting a massive income from every manufacturing company in the world as they are currently using my Patent without paying any [b]Royalties.[/b] ;) And people thought that Bill Gates was rich. :^0 :D :^0 :D Col

GSG
GSG

I see Apple doing a lot of things that Microsoft has been hauled into court over (and rightly so), many times over the years. Microsoft got dinged for pre-loading IE with their OS and not other browsers, yet apple is allowed to do very similar things. I'm surprised the EU hasn't jumped on Apple and their habit of locking everything out that is not apple branded or approved. Eventually, Apple will get it's comeuppance like Microsoft did.

rhonin
rhonin

I received a new iPhone 5 and sat down and have been comparing it feature to feature against my Galaxy Nexus in an effort to determine how good the i5 is. After reading your article an epiphany struck! I was comparing what Apple had borrowed from Google, what Google had borrowed from Apple, and what neither had borrowed from the other yet. This really makes the Apple borrowing from Google over the last two major iOS iterations really stand out. Hypocrisy? And how!

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