In what seems to be a frustrated reaction to ITC’s ruling that found HTC guilty of infringing Apple’s patents, Google’s Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has accused Apple of being jealous and lacking innovation. Android is at the receiving end of a lot of lawsuits from companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Apple, and if Android is indeed found guilty of infringing these companies’ patents, it would be a huge blow to Google as well as its hardware partners.
Schmidt’s comments came at Google’s Mobile Revolution conference in Tokyo, his exact words were:
“The big news in the past year has been the explosion of Google Android handsets and this means our competitors are responding. Because they are not responding with innovation, they’re responding with lawsuits. We have not done anything wrong and these lawsuits are just inspired by our success.”
He also said that Google would help HTC in fighting Apple’s lawsuit and ensure a win for the Taiwanese hardware manufacturer. Schmidt stated already known facts like sales of 135 million Android phones and 550,000 daily Android activations.
Although Google may not be directly affected if ITC’s ruling – due in December – is upheld, it will serve as a huge deterrent to existing and new OEMs looking to produce Android phones. What might have added to Google’s worries is its loss to Apple, Microsoft and RIM in bidding for Nortel’s 6000 patents. Microsoft is already taking as much as five dollars per phone from five Android OEMs as patent licensing fees. Analysts say that this fee might fetch Microsoft more money than its own Windows Phone 7.
Whether lawsuits like these rise due to jealousy or lack of innovation can be debated for days and days, but it is widely known how heavily inspired Android is from iOS. Before you jump at me with your ‘Oh iOS 5’s notification system is an Android rip off’ argument, take a look at the picture below to see how Android looked in 2007.
The HTC lawsuit was filed more than a year back at a time when Android wasn’t as successful as it is today, Steve Jobs’ statement on the lawsuit was:
“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
Schmidt’s comments are a clear sign of nervousness and indicate the rising concern amongst OEMs about the costs that come bundled with the “free” and open source Android.
It is hard to imagine that Schmidt was once a member of Apple’s Board of Directors.