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So It Begins – Apple’s Victory Affecting HTC’s US Imports

So It Begins – Apple’s Victory Affecting HTC’s US Imports

Sometime in December of last year, the US Court and the ITC (International Trade Commission) made a monumentally bad call by granting Apple a victory—a major one at that—in the so-called “patent wars” that have been raging for the last couple of years between smartphone giants HTC and Apple. Essentially, the victory from Apple involved the ability of a browser to be able to recognize alphanumeric entries in a webpage and link them for other purposes.

One of the most common uses of this functionality is the phone number recognition, where if you select text containing a phone number and tap it, the browser will automatically launch the phone application with the number you are trying to call. It turns out that the judges at the ITC deemed this patent infringement and decided in their infinite wisdom to serve HTC an Exclusion (rather than a Cease and Desist order). This doesn’t completely ban exports, but it makes it somewhat more difficult for HTC. Essentially, this gave HTC a small window of opportunity to find a work around to the parts of Android that are infringing Apple’s IP.

Fast forward to today, and we see that the ban itself is beginning to manifest in the form of investigations done at US Customs. Yes, Customs. Due to the ruling, all imports by HTC are being stopped at the US border prior to entry for indefinite investigation. This morning, I found a thread started by XDA Forum Member ncfastls1, which pointed to an article published by The Verge. Essentially, the brand new HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE that were just launched by Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T are being held at Customs for an indefinite period of time. The reason behind this, at least the official one, is that the devices are being inspected for allegations over patent infringement from the ruling mentioned above.

This has been said in the past in my numerous rants against Apple, but are they so insecure about their own innovation (or lack thereof) that they need to spend considerable funds in court trying to get competitors banned from the market? This is not the first time Apple has pulled something like this, as they have been going after Samsung globally. I am in the world of sales as my real life job and one of the most important things I have learned is that you must ALWAYS sell what you make by pointing out the great points about your own products rather than slinging mud at the competition. If your only strategy for being competitive in a global market is to try and find some petty excuse to bring down your competition over things that, although patented have existed conceptually for ages before you “conceived” the idea, I personally feel sorry for you.

Dear Apple,

Your ENTIRE organization lacks morals and free market competition basics, and as such, you are not worthy of having the glory that you now posses. While you may have revolutionized the world as we know it with very well crafted marketing campaigns and some good ideas, you are far from being a true innovator in the field of… anything. Just think for one second about the LEAPS in technology that you would have accomplished, should you have invested in R&D a quarter of the money you spend into advertising and marketing. Then, you would have something worth portraying as a technological wonder, something that would likely be untouchable by others. Something truly genuine that you can call your own, and at the end of the day you could look at with pride. What you have right now is a bunch of reinvented wheels, most of which don’t do much more than other wheels out there.

Redefining concepts and ideas is not what makes a company great; coming up with new concepts is. HTC and other major OEMS have often been in the vanguard by innovating with their products, adding new features, rethinking, and just putting concepts out there to imagine their possibilities. Your last innovation and only major contribution to the world of mobile technology was the inclusion of an accelerometer in mobile devices, and this was with the original iPhone back in 2007. For that and only that, I give you credit. All the newer models of virtually every product you sell have been remakes of previous technology—perhaps a little thinner and a little faster, but all in all, minor changes.

It is because of companies like yours that technology is not further today than where it currently is. You are so adamant in protecting something that you didn’t even invent that you are holding back future innovation. The spirit and basic concepts of engineering are completely missing from your business models. Courtesy of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology:

Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by experience, study, and practice is applied with judgement to develop ways to utilize economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.

Notice the importance of the concept that you are no longer following. Engineering practices are used for the betterment of mankind. What have you done for this purpose? Rebrand an existing technology (MP3 players) and sell them for twice the price? Trying to cripple your competitors by claiming that you invented something that was previously invented, when you simply adapted the technology and closed off any other use of this by others? This can be compared to using a Linux kernel (if it weren’t under GPL license), patenting it, and closing it off so that no one else can use it.

Apple, you are simply a disgrace to the world of technology and to engineering in general. I feel ashamed of being called an engineer in a world where your company roams around freely without even following the most basic of the field’s concepts—a world where the law and justice are blind to the fact that your actions are hindering humanity’s advancement. While I understand that there is nothing wrong with making money, there is something very wrong with replacing engineering with greed.

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Dear HTC,

We have said this in the past, but please, we beg this of you: Allow us to help you grow and make your products better and smarter through REAL innovation. Our site and communities like ours harbor some of the brightest minds in the world of engineering and computing that this world has ever seen. We are willing to help you. Not because we like what you do (read: stop closing off bootloaders) but because we believe that you still have your core principles intact and are willing to work on things that truly revolutionize and improve technology for the betterment of mankind. Please allow us to help you.

Thank you for reading.

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