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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 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.


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