Mobility

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.

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