Well what can I say. I logged in to my blogging tool this morning only to realize just how long it had been since I had actually written something on this site. Blame it on the fact that there was a ton of stuff going on. I had a number of research deliverables to get out, client calls, prepping for a couple of conferences that I am a part of and a pretty nasty flu that has kept me in bed most of the past week. OK, enough excuses.
I've wanted to comment on this for a while, so here we go. I'm sure you've all heard about how Apple's COO Tim Cook has threatened to "vigorously" defend their intellectual property against iPhone competitors. Don't get me started. Oh wait. Too late...
This infuriates me to no end. If you read the excellent article on Bloomberg.com, you get the sense that Apple is ready willing and able to use its "nucular" arsenal against any and all competitors who threaten its iPhone and its multitouch capabilities.
This is just bad, and in fact makes me feel as if Apple is being increasingly run by the legal department versus technology and marketing innovators. I'm not suggesting that there should not be intellectual property. I'm not suggesting that organizations can not or should not defend their hard efforts, but there are times when this goes a little too far. I believe this is one of those times.
So let's call a Spade a Spade. The only reason why Apple is thinking about going
nucular (damn, I just can't say it) nuclear is because Apple considers Palm's forthcoming webOS as the first real competition to its iPhone platform. The user interface on the webOS looks as polished as that of the iPhone and may very well have its own key advantages (we'll have to see when it really comes out). Palm is betting its future on the Pre and the webOS. While the company has its own slew of patents, it may not have the financial resources to go against the 800lb gorilla from Cupertino. But there are other 800lb gorillas out there....but then comes the news that Apple may have "asked" (ya, right) Google not to add its own multitouch capabilities on Android. This is just bad.
So what happens when RIM and Microsoft and Symbian all start trying to have multitouch? RIM knows how to fight bogus patent disputes. Microsoft has multitouch on Windows 7, and I am sure they have their own patents around that. What's going to prevent them from bringing it to Windows Mobile 7? Apple? If anyone has the cash and army of attorneys to go up against Apple, it's Microsoft. But that's not what should happen! Hell, if you really want to get into a "nuclear pissing contest," what's to prevent Microsoft for going back to Apple and saying they can no longer use ActiveSync to connect to Exchange? That makes the iPhone a no-show in the Enterprsise...unless you're Gartner ;-)
The point is, all of that is bad. Not bad for the companies, bad for end-users. It's like when people get divorced....only the attorneys truly win. I'm not an altruist, but there are times when innovations should be made available for the masses - for the greater good. I've been using my iPhone for a while now, and while I have my issues with it, the multi-touch is great. No question. I would love to see this on all mobile devices. So as opposed to beating your chest like King Kong, why don't you take the high road Apple and look for ways to license your technology.
As opposed to being King Kong, you may end up being Major Kong.