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Apple chief executive Steve Jobs and Google chief executive Eric Schmidt enjoy a cozy relationship thanks to Mr. Schmidt being on Apple's board of trustees. If recent reports hold true, that relationship may have played a key role in Google choosing to bend to Apple's will and not include multi-touch in its G1 phone. By doing so it protected its relationship and protected itself from an Apple lawsuit.  (Source: Venture Beat)
Google's smart phone may have been a little smarter were it not for an Apple intervention, according to sources

As a legal showdown between Apple and Palm mounts over Palm's use of multi-touch technology, which Apple recently gained a patent on, new details are emerging about Apple's efforts to prevent its competitors from offering multi-touch.

Many have wondered why Google's G1 smartphone, the first smartphone to run on Google's new Android OS, didn't feature multi-touch.  Going up against the iPhone, many considered Google's omission of multi-touch to be an unusual slip for the company.

However, according to newly emerging details reported on Venture Beat, the omission was intentional and triggered by strong-arming from Apple.  According to a key Android development team member, Apple demanded early in the development of the phone and OS that Google disable multi-touch.  And Google, which has a relatively healthy financial relationship with Apple despite competition in some sectors, complied out of concern of damaging the pair's business relationship and possible legal action from Apple.

The source expresses relief that Google caved to Apple's demands.  He points to the potential mess that Palm is in with the Pre phone and says that Google did the smart thing in playing by Apple's rules.

Google and Apple share a great deal of business, with Google tailoring its maps and search products for Apple systems, including the iPhone.  Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, is also on Apple’s board of directors.  The cozy relationship would seem to give Google extra incentive to meet Apple's alleged demands.

 The G1 and Android have both been shown to be multi-touch capable, but the functionality is disabled or not fully implemented in different parts of the design, puzzling many users.  Now it appears there is finally an answer to this mystery.

The key question that remains is whether Google will continue to bend to Apple's will, or whether multi-touch will become such an essential technology that it will be forced to include in its future smart phones, at the risk of incurring Apple's wrath. 

Google’s future dealings with multi-touch will likely hinge on Palm's success in defending its right to use multi-touch on the Pre.  A Palm loss would seem to make Google less inclined to go against the grain, while a victory would likely embolden it.



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By A Stoner on 2/10/2009 3:45:21 PM , Rating: 5
I mean seriously, how is it that apple can get a patent on a freaking gesture? I will NEVER BUY an apple product, ever.




By Motoman on 2/10/2009 3:48:53 PM , Rating: 5
Well, I'll second that - for these reason and many others. Apple can go screw itself.


By amanojaku on 2/10/2009 3:58:23 PM , Rating: 5
Apple is too busy screwing its customers.


By othercents on 2/10/2009 5:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if this could be considered monopolistic anti competitive attitude that Apple is taking. Instead of making a reasonable offer to allow Google or Palm to use multi touch they just threaten them with lawsuits.

Other


By dnd728 on 2/10/2009 5:32:14 PM , Rating: 5
I'm gonna patent sitting down while using the computer. It will enable PC users longer work time.


By amanojaku on 2/10/2009 7:09:02 PM , Rating: 5
Oh, no you don't! You're infringing on my patent, which was sitting down while watching the TV, which will enable viewers longer BS time! You're just re-packaging it!

Wait... Are those TWO eyes? AND a nose?!? WTF!!!


By A Stoner on 2/10/2009 4:06:17 PM , Rating: 5
Apple, Sony are the two big electronics people I refuse to buy. Sony is constantly trying to make proprietary connections and then trying to get money from everyone in order for them to be able to interface with thier components, ending up forcing customers to overpay for Sony specific and Sony only usable accessories. They did that with a memory format, video connection on their home theater systems. Apple does the same thing, buy an iPod and you are stuck only being able to buy iPod specific accessories. McDonalds is on my f list for serving kangaroo meat in third world nations when I was a kid, I have a very long memory when it comes to corporations I will not do business with. Dell is pretty close to being on my do not buy from list, as they are making me jump through hoops to get my laptop fixed even though I paid for the best available 4 year warranty they offered, the video card experiences sproadic glitches and because I cannot reproduce it while I am on the phone with them, it does not exist.

The problem with companies like Apple getting this kind of copyright is that Apple does not share, it does not license, it just likes to be isolated and insulated.


By segerstein on 2/10/2009 4:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
The two computer companies I admire are H-P and Sun Microsystems. Good products, good quality and reliability.


By emboss on 2/10/2009 11:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
Seconded, as long as you're talking about their higher end gear. Both HP and Sun have made some cheap'n'nasty "entry level" stuff, and Sun does sometimes get a bit aggressive (eg: the whole NetApp thing, though it's pretty hard to tell who started it there).

Apart from a NEC SCSI enclosure and a Dell monitor, pretty much all my large-brand stuff is either Sun or HP (though all of it's from ebay or similar :) ). And I try to collect a bit of the unusual stuff from both companies (SunRay, JavaStation, zx2000, etc). I've even got all the interconnect and a rack from an AlphaServer SC supercomputer ...

On the other hand, the nice stuff from HP and Sun will set you back a decent chunk of change, and it's getting harder for them to compete against the likes of Dell selling on razor-thin margins.

Sun is also one of the more engineering-focused vendors around, which is why they tend to come out with unusual things every so often (Thumper, Niagara, Blackbox, etc). Unfortunately, it also means that they're not all that good at the financial side of things, which is a problem right now ...


By mfed3 on 2/10/2009 4:30:08 PM , Rating: 4
THANK YOU!! 100% agree.

Apple and Sony will never get a dime from me.


By afkrotch on 2/11/2009 11:41:54 AM , Rating: 2
Good luck with that. Sony has quite an extensive repertoire. TVs, stereos, movies, tv shows, games, music, commercial machinery, commercial robotics, anime, manga, etc.

I bet last year or even just this year, you've bought a Sony product or contributed to Sony making money. Watch Jeopardy? That's Sony. Bond movies? That's Sony.

Sony will and probably has gotten a dime from you...on several occasions.


By Cru on 2/10/2009 5:46:32 PM , Rating: 4
Lol, I stopped buying from Dell when they pulled sponsorship from Phelps. If they're allowed to express political opinion economically, then I shall do the same.

I remember reading an article in 2004 that stated that big name Japanese companies like Sony in particular would start charging a premium for their electronics because they knew their reputation for electronics would allow it. Sony has gone hog wild with this strategy ever since.

At this point, I look at Apple and Sony products like I look at extremely attractive women - that it's external, and under the hood you'll find a whole mess of things you don't like.


By 67STANG on 2/10/2009 11:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
Dell has a thing about picking pot heads don't they? Didn't the "Hey dude! You got a Dell!" guy get busted selling or buying weed a few years back?


By afkrotch on 2/11/2009 11:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, this arguement is kind of retarded. Hey, stop buying a car. Those parts for your specific car only work on your specific car. A Zebra pen has zebra pen specific refills. Those HP printers have only HP specific print cartridges.

Any electronic company is going to try to get consumers to only buy their products.

I don't buy Apple cause it's products are usually overpriced compared to competitors and I like Windows more than OSX anyways. Buying a Mac, then loading Windows on it, kind of defeats the purpose of buying a Mac.

As for the iPod, it's specific accessories has more to do with it's overall dimensions/design. You can't buy a Zune case and put it on an iPod. But you can buy a Griffin iPod case and use it or whoever else makes iPod cases.

The connection is specific though, but not sure why a regular USB connection on it wouldn't have been fine. The same can be said about the Zune also or many other mp3 players.

My problem is Apple attempting to push around it's competitors with ridiculous patents that somehow get passed. I partially understand getting these stupid patents, so that another company doesn't grab them up also and then try to sue your ass. But just share out something as simple as this. That or charge a very low fee for others to use it.

It's like patenting a goodbye wave. At times like this, I hope someone else owns this patent, sues the hell out of Apple, then shares out the patent to Apple's competitors for free.


By Moishe on 2/10/2009 4:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I agree at all with Apple here but the large part of the problem is not Apple, its the Patent Office.

Regardless... I hope Apple gets its a$s kicked in the battle with Palm.


By feraltoad on 2/10/2009 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 3
Patents are out of control. I would go ahead and patent my fingers so I won't have pay Apple fees, but I just know the bastards have already had them patented.


By segerstein on 2/10/2009 4:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
Using a touch sensitive sensor for input with one finger - not patented.

Using a touch sensitive sensor for input with two fingers - patented.


By A Stoner on 2/10/2009 4:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
But does apple have the three finger, or the middle finger input patented? How is it that they can get a gesture patented that has been shown in movies, has been talked about for decades and is as natural as simply being a human being? People are correct that part of the problem lies in the patent office, its work is patently pathetic, but Apple owns full responsibility for making the application for the patent and how they act now that they have the patent.

It is one thing to make an actual device, or design it anyways, and specify how it works and show that it is new, inovative and is not inherently something that is public domain or already patented. It is another thing to know that you have not done any of the work of designing and making the product, obviously because this has been talked about for decades and shown in movies it is not inovative and thus should be considered public domain.

Maybe I should make a patent application for a device that transports humans from one place to another through mechanical or extradimensional means. Thus anyone who ever comes up with a new way of moving people would be breaking my patent, no matter how obvious the method used is.


By afkrotch on 2/11/2009 11:49:49 AM , Rating: 1
I'd imagine they'd lose in court and so would you if someone did make a transport device.


By dj LiTh on 2/10/2009 5:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
OMG! dont you get it? Apple INVENTED using two fingers at once. Trust me i know, ever since i bought an apple i've been able to use 1 finger to pick my nose and another...

::No fingers were hurt in the making of this post::

And just to protect all my bases, i only typed this message with 1 finger as to not garner an apple lawsuit.


By Rodney McNaggerton on 2/10/2009 5:38:54 PM , Rating: 5
Competition is good unto the point that it limits progress. Apple has caused competition to reach this point. They are not the only company guilty of it, but they let out a great mobile device and now want no one to have anything nearly as good as their own. Pathetic.

Consumers vote with their dollars, and they tell Apple that they like this business practice. This is one of a few companies that I will not buy from because of lousy business practices.


Apple slogans...
By Dreifort on 2/10/2009 5:00:32 PM , Rating: 5
in the past:

- "Byte into an Apple" (Late 1970s)
- "Soon there will be 2 kinds of people. Those who use computers, and those who use Apples." (Early 1980s)
- "The Power to Be Your Best" (1990)[1]
- "Think different." (1990s)

I hear they have some new slogans in the works:

- "What's the difference between Apples and Oranges. We sue Oranges."
- "Touch Me And I'll Sue"
- "An Apple A Day Keeps The Lawyer Away"
- "The human hand® is a registered trademark of Apple Computers."
- "Microsoft bought their competition. Apple sues theirs. Eliminate Different."




RE: Apple slogans...
By kattanna on 2/10/2009 5:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
- "Microsoft bought their competition. Apple sues theirs. Eliminate Different."


ok.. now that one was funny.. and eerily accurate


Really now...
By rs2 on 2/10/2009 5:26:39 PM , Rating: 5
I thought Google's motto wa "do no evil", no?

Conducting business with Apple for any reason whatsoever counts as doing evil by way of association. Shame on you, Google, shame on you.




RE: Really now...
By Cru on 2/10/2009 5:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hilldawg, get back in the yard!


RE: Really now...
By Ananke on 2/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Really now...
By afkrotch on 2/11/2009 12:11:21 PM , Rating: 1
Do you think any large company is going to not make a contract to be no more than X amount for each phone produced?

Also why the hell would the cost of making the iPhone have anything to do with a license fee for finger gestures on a phone? The only reason it would make any difference if the finger gestures were patented by another company.

The manufacturers won't increase the costs of the iPhone creation without reasonable cause. If they did, Apple would probably sue for contract infraction or they'd simply get someone else to make their phones.

Aquisition of Apple by Google wouldn't do any good to anyone. Well, cept for the fanatics that want to see both of them fail.


New patent for Apple
By kyleb2112 on 2/10/2009 4:38:57 PM , Rating: 5
Hey Apple, patent THIS gesture.




Turtle Neck Lovers...
By Rhl on 2/10/2009 4:45:55 PM , Rating: 5
You guys are screwed once Jobs patents turtle-neck sweaters. SCREWED.




I applaud Palm
By enlil242 on 2/10/2009 8:17:22 PM , Rating: 3
I applaud Palm for moving forward on such a intregal feature in the Pre. I'm about 80% ready to make the switch from the iPhone. I loved my treo 600 and think the Pre (or WebOS) has a lot of potential... btw, I can't stand the Android OS. It reminds me too much of a linux OS. Not a very pretty GUI and somewaht clunky.




Muti-Touch and Microsoft
By nemoshotyany on 2/10/2009 7:42:34 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the patent is only for the hardware implementation of the multi-touch interface and Microsoft is only providing software based support? Or maybe they are just waiting for them to become successful with it only to sue them for it later?




Healthy Financial Relationship
By lukasbradley on 2/11/2009 9:32:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And Google, which has a relatively healthy financial relationship with Apple


What is that relationship, exactly? I understand that Google contours its products for Apple, but what is Apple directly doing for Google?

The real answer is here:
http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/bod.html
http://www.google.com/corporate/execs.html

Arthur Levinson and Eric Schmidt sit on both boards. It's a little hard to be truly competitive when your leaders have massive conflicts of interest.

So the financial relationship is healthy for whom, exactly?




I can't decide which I hate more..
By Chaser on 2/11/2009 12:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
Apple Or Sony? I hate them both but, Sony wins. The Sony iPhone SUCKS! There's no games for it.




Patents...
By Hare on 2/11/2009 4:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
I hate software patents and especially patents that are pretty much based on common sence.

Btw. I wonder what Apple thinks about Nokia. Nokia has plenty of multitouch patents that have been made 5-10 years ago.




Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch?
By LTG on 2/10/09, Rating: -1
By monitorjbl on 2/10/2009 4:35:56 PM , Rating: 3
Multi-touch interfaces are a relatively new technology, I believe. They were only commercially available from FingerWorks around 2000, and Apple managed to acquire the company that provided them in 2005.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

While I don't think Apple deserves a patent on the technology as a whole, they did manage to make it fit in a cell phone at a (kind of) affordable price. The only patent Apple really deserves is one on their implementation of the idea.


RE: Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch?
By shadowoth on 2/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch?
By TennesseeTony on 2/10/2009 5:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you're so right! I never knew Windows 7 wasn't a phone!

Back to the original poster, the one with a valid question and a good deal more sense than shadowoth:

Good question. I don't know the details of the patent Apple has secured, but Microsoft is certainly a competitor to Apple. Perhaps the patent does apply only to smartphones, but there's no mention of it in the article. I can't see Apple letting MS slip that in if they do have a valid patent on the it.

As for Apple being able to patent this at all is a bit silly. I can think of several movies that beat Apple to the punch with the IDEA for the tech, but not the actual implementation. Perhaps it's the TECH behind the IDEA that received the patent?


RE: Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch?
By Alexstarfire on 2/10/2009 8:13:06 PM , Rating: 1
The patent incorporates cell phones, smart phones, laptops, and other such portable devices. And I would assume that it'd be fine to have in the code so long as the actual hardware wasn't incorporated in the machine, else I don't see how M$ didn't have any problems as Windows 7 will be used on desktops AND laptops.


RE: Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch?
By tdawg on 2/10/2009 10:06:11 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't that new Dell Latitude XT2 tablet utilize the multi touch capabilities of Windows 7?

Microsoft did show off multi touch capabilities and more when they unveiled the Surface table/computer, which occurred before the patent was granted to Apple. Maybe the patent only covers multi touch on the touchpad in regards to laptops.


By Dreifort on 2/11/2009 9:20:35 AM , Rating: 2
HP's TX2 features multi-touch...it was out long before Dell's XT2.

www.hp.com/go/touchsmarttx2


RE: Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch?
By afkrotch on 2/11/2009 12:29:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Then how does Windows 7 have multi-touch without a peep out of Apple?


Microsoft is richer and could just buy Apple and screw the company over after that.

No need though, as Apple and Microsoft has been doing broad patent cross-licensing agreements for years. Apple gets Microsoft IP and Microsoft gets Apple IP.

1) Tons of ppl love having sex, why isn't it patented?
2) The patent covers the multi-touch on more than just a phone
3) Increased costs to other companies for something that has been around for years, prior to Apple's iPhone.

Hell, I'd see them losing any lawsuits anyways. Just point to a random movie that shows futuristic comps/phones doing the same thing, that came prior to the patent. Hell, Minority Report comes to mind.


By jabber on 2/12/2009 4:26:38 AM , Rating: 2
How much of Apple stock does MS own right now? IIRC its quite a lot, or it was at one point.

I think Gates dipped into his large pocket many years ago when Apple were on the brink of going under.

So chances are MS own a chunk already.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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