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.

tony
tony

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!

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Adobe, another proprietary corporation, refused to make their proprietary software compatible with Apple software. Hmm, I don't like the way Apple behaves, but the fault here lies partly with Adobe for NOT making Flash able to work with Industry Standards, but more so with whoever is making their content in Flash when they know it is NOT cross platform capable and thus limits who can use or see it. If people used any of the other formats that meet Industry Standards and didn't make stuff to work in Flash it wouldn't matter a damn to any one but the Adobe shareholders who lose money because Adobe management want to screw over the general IT user.

Gerry_z
Gerry_z

If Apple doesn't charge for IOS, how do people get it? I've never seen it available as a free download, not to mention the fact that even if you get it with a device there is usually a charge if you want to upgrade to a newer version. Apple is probably the most hypocritcail money grubbing company on the face of the planet. Thankfully I am not a contributor to their greed as I own "i-nothing."

DNSB
DNSB

Stealing the mouse from Xerox PARC? Douglas Englebart might take umbrage with that statement -- he patented the mouse in 1967 though it took years for the patent to be granted. His 3 button, X-Y direction indicator for a display system looks pretty familiar to most computer users these days. Sadly his patent expired before mice became popular so he never made much money from it. The story is that the mouse moved from the Stanford Research Institute to Xerox PARC when Bill English who worked with Englebart moved from SRI to PARC. As for the GUI, the sources I find state that Apple paid Xerox for the visits to Xerox PARC by allowing Xerox a pre-IPO purchase of Apple stock. If you check the development of the GUI, you will find quite a bit of academic work being done outside of PARC which was also used by Apple's staff as a source for ideas. A fair number of the Apple staff working on the GUI were ex-Xerox PARC employees. No reliable source has been able to show that any non-compete clauses were in effect. Xerox did attempt to sue Apple at one point but the case was dismissed. Anyhow, I must thank you for the laughter your stupidity brought to my day. It's not everyday someone stuffs both feet in their mouth to the kneecaps.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Microsoft's tiles are really just Linux Widgits with a different name. They've been around on the Linux desktop for 15 years. Before that, the same sort of things were available in Desqview (crudely) on DOS before the days of Windows anything. The problem with patents on Software is that software is really just instructions to implement some artistic or mathematical idea. Whatever you do, it has probably already been done before. The true art there is to keep the patent office from finding out. After all, they rely on you to invalidate your own patent. False claims abound throughout the patent system, worldwide.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Apple has no BSD License, as the standard BSD license specifically allows what Apple did. The only requirement the the University of California, Berkley lays on Apple is that they admit that they used parts of the BSD system. Apple did that. Everyone knows, and the BSD Community is really rather proud of that. There are even How-To s out there telling you how to turn your IOS computer back into a BSD one.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I patented the "rolling" concept.

da philster
da philster

When the EU is finished their parasitic attack on Microsoft, they will then turn their greedy little hooks towards Apple. That seems to be their M.O. Hey, they've got countries to bail out .............

blatanville
blatanville

Adobe would have been thrilled to have Flash running on iOS. Adobe would have been thrilled to have Flash running at optimal speed on OS X. But Apple won't sanction Flash on iOS. and it won't share the APIs with Adobe to allow Flash to run quickly on OS X - the Flash player is forced to do more system-level operations that make the whole thing run slower than it does under Windows or Linux. Steve Jobs claimed he was keeping Flash out of iOS because Adobe had too much power in a particular aspect of web content (interactive animation and video), and their software was proprietary. Yes, Apple was shouting about how proprietary software was "bad." Apparently the public didn't think so, because 90+% of desktop PCs had Flash installed. Then, from his niche market (17% of mobile devices, 7-10% of desktop and laptop PCs), Steve stuck his gift for hype and salesmanship into Adobe's side and got enough people to believe that Flash was an evil cancer on the web and a glaring barrier to "Open Web Standards." Ask Apple how committed to "Open Web Standards" they are when their own browser won't support Webm video (the open standard), but DOES support H.264, which Apple owns a piece of...

DNSB
DNSB

It comes on your iOS device, the upgrades are free -- after all,it will only run on Apple's devices and Apple seems to feel under some obligation to keep their devices updated through several generations of firmware. Contrast this to the Android users for whom "what it shipped with is good enough for those peons" seems to be the common attitude to updates. At one time, you needed to use iTunes to update your iOS device -- the only time I ran iTunes -- but iOS now has the ability to update itself over a WiFi connection. For obvious reasons, Apple does not want us downloading a 500MB or larger installer over the cellular networks. There are also multiple sites that list the links to the appldnld.apple.com download links for various flavours of iOSx. I grabbed the 5.1.1 version of the firmware for my iPad before applying the iOS6 update just to give me an easier backout if I was unhappy with iOS6.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Apple also lost a lawsuit and paid Xerox for use of the GUI shortly after the Lisa was brought out. There wasn't a whole lot of money involved, since so few Lisa computers were sold, but Apple then had a license. Microsoft bought a license. For Linux, the patents had expired already.

MyopicOne
MyopicOne

Have you ever seen a Xerox Star? Perhaps you'll redirect your fanboi biases somewhere else when it's pointed out that the only difference between a Macintosh window and a Xerox Star window was the number of lines in the title bar. Paying for it makes it legal for them to use but is irrelevant to the concept of a patent unless the documents say so. Regardless, it doesn't change the fact that they stole it, then tried to claim it as their own patentable idea and sue the bejesus out of every one else. And the Xerox lawsuit you claim? As I recall, they were on the verge of filing a "friend of the court" brief on Microsoft's side of the look and feel lawsuit, after which the lying thieves of Apple dropped their lawsuit. I.e. Xerox may have let them use the idea but did not grant them the exclusivity that Apple fraudulently tried to claim. Apple Corporation was and is built on unethical and dishonest behavior. What's more bothersome is that fanbois like yourself don't care as long as you "win". Go team!

Gisabun
Gisabun

The fanbois and fangurls will be hunting you down for saying those comments. :-)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

component for the cost of the later upgrades. You just don't see it.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

At the time, software patents were not legal. Xerox actual patent was for using graphics hardware to place icons on a screen and use them to select. The whole insanity of Software patents came later, courtesy of IBM.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Yes, I did use a Xerox Star sometimes, in the mid to late 1980's. B/W screen, lots of pixels, overlapping windows were available, as was a system view screen, ala OS/2. As the Xerox Star was used mostly as a word processor, the overlapping veature was seldom used. It got in the way even more than it does currently.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

handled the Apple Samsung case, maybe he would have thrown it out as well.

DNSB
DNSB

Perhaps you should look in a mirror? Your grasp of facts seems to be a bit on the non-existent side. Xerox did sue Apple in the Federal District Court in San Francisco. Judge Vaughn R. Walker threw out 5 of the 6 counts as being inappropriate for various legal reasons. Xerox was asking $150 million in damages. Since I am so obviously wrong about this, perhaps you could explain the story in the March 24, 1990 issue of the New York Times? As for the difference in windows -- try overlapping two windows on PARC's GUI implementation. Pull down windows? Drag and drop? The whole difference in the use of icons -- Xerox icons were actions, an icon to save for example while Apple's icons were objects. Try dragging a document to the word processor to open it in Xerox's GUI. Or even drag it to the trash -- no trash can in the Xerox desktop setup. Check Jef Raskin's contribution to the Xerox and Apple GUIs. You know, the guy who wrote his master's thesis on a WYSISWYG graphical interface back in 1967. The guy who lectured at Xerox before moving to Apple. As for being a fanboi? I've seen companies and operating systems come and go over the years I've been involved with computers. I liked the Amdahl 470 and had fun hacking it's hypervisor, I liked the Mark 8 even if I had to add a stack in hardware. ZCPR was a favourite of mine way back when. I've liked many other bits of hardware and operating systems over the years but I have never made the mistake of becoming emotionally tied to them which seems to be a requirement for a "fanboi". You, on the other hand, definitely qualify as a fanboi with your obvious hatred of Apple and blindness to facts. To quote Bugs, "Whadda maroon!"

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Rumors of the worst kind, TRUE RUMORS!!! With apologies to comic Pat Paulson, who ran for president on the platform that it's better to have a president who you know is an idiot than find out a year later.