If we go by the history, these current battles between the smartphones started with the introduction of iOS and Android in the 2007. As we also know that older technologies give the foundation to current ones to start building on it, Apple and Google worked on something that already existed (Xerox, Unix and Linux) and improved further the user experience and ease of usability. While Apple introduced the elegant multi-touch smartphone giving the experience never before, Google’s OS gave the freedom and usability that was also least expected.
Nokia was in the field of mobile phones for a long time and the entry of these two companies threatened the position it held. Nokia sued Apple in late 2009 for over 10 patents and the countersuing was the retaliation by Apple. That is when the patent battles begun to make news. In other words, ever since the revolutionizing change in smartphones started to happen, companies wanting to hold dominance in the international and national market started fighting over patents and there has been no end to it even today.
So, what happened? Is the reason behind these battles is because of protecting and safeguarding technological uses that were, in actuality, based on ‘open-source’ operating systems like Unix and Linux? Imagine if those two were not open-source! Would there have been Mac’s OS or Android OS? Honestly speaking, software patents limit the innovation and to have battles over who owns pinch to zoom and multi-tasking on smartphones makes the complete scenario ridiculous to begin with. I can understand a patent for medical or military based invention that required a lot of scientists and money to produce the end result but for software experience on smartphones? An operating system has to work like an operating system is supposed to, which reaches out to the users without having to code thousands of lines to just open the web browser. How are these patent battles improving the futuristic possibilities of technology that can be implemented on smartphone?
I mean if WordPress suddenly stops giving it out free and open source it would put so many people out of work and especially those who depend on the open-source platforms to make websites and plugins. Patent battles are dividing the choices of people and creating a negative attitude about other products without even trying them. It makes the people narrow-minded and limited when the options are unlimited. Apple, Samsung, Google, Nokia, HTC, and other such brands should start working and funding the innovation bit instead of fighting over these software patents.
It seems most of these companies are focused on creating a huge base of loyalists for their smartphones but that isn’t going to happen. We, consumers, love innovation and welcome changes that help in promoting those ideas to every corner of the world to be further worked on and improved. Patent is a big and serious stuff and shouldn’t be used in such light context that these companies are doing. A true innovator do not get inspired by how much money is going to be made out of the technology but how many people can reach it and make the best use of out it.
This year seems to show no end to the patent suing and countersuing especially between Nokia, HTC, Samsung, Sony and Apple. The fights are over design, user experience and mainly, the customers so in the end only ones who really win the smartphone battles are the lawyers.