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Print 69 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Feb 27 at 2:40 PM

Push-email is likely gone from the iCloud for at least a year

It is a small thing.  But as Apple, Inc. (AAPL) well knows, it is the little things that sell a product.

I. Bye Bye Bye

Apple had proudly unveiled the iCloud in mid-2011.  The service offers photo streaming, documents "in the cloud", automated backups, and push email/calendar/contacts.  Well, for Germany, Europe's third largest tablet and smartphone market, the good times are over, as the push email functionality is officially banned.

After new Google Inc. (GOOGacquisition Motorola Mobility secured a preliminary injunction just weeks ago in German court, Apple failed to convince a judge to inflate the bond.  As a result, Motorola paid the bond to carry through with the ban.  Some sources are estimating that bond could have cost around €100M ($134.1M USD).

iCloud ban
The iCloud's core push-email is verboten in Germany. [Image Source: 9 to 5 Mac]

Left with little recourse, Apple was left doing the same thing it had forced Android phonemakers to do -- remove features.  To recap, Apple has already forced several Android phonemakers to remove the "bounce" animation from their smartphones, and degrade the quality of scrolling in their gallery.  Those concessions come after preliminary injunction losses in regions such as the Netherlands.  And in Germany Apple has even banned Motorola and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) from using unidirectional slide-to-unlock, forcing them to use a clunky spiral motion unlock screen.

Apple writes to its German fans the bad news:

Due to recent patent litigation by Motorola Mobility, iCloud and MobileMe users are currently unable to have iCloud and MobileMe email pushed to their iOS devices while located within the borders of Germany.

Affected customers will still receive iCloud and MobileMe email, but new messages will be downloaded to their devices when the Mail app is opened, or when their device periodically fetches new messages as configured in iOS Settings. Push email service on desktop computers, laptop computers, and the web is unaffected, as is service from other providers such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

Apple believes Motorola's patent is invalid and is appealing the decision.

Apple's calendar and contacts syncing will continue to function as normal in iCloud and MobileMe, despite the loss of push email.

II. Why Was the iCloud Feature Banned, and What Is Next?

The device maker faces an uphill struggle from here on out.  Like many of Apple's patents that it's litigated with, Motorola's push email patent may be invalid due to prior art or other issues (novelty, etc.).  

In the U.S., a lower federal courts judges can ban a product or service via preliminary injunction if they feel that:

a) The described product or service clearly violates the patent

b) There is not a "high likelihood" that a patent is invalid.

The German court system works slightly differently, but the end result is the same.  In Germany infringement proceeds along one track, while validity proceeds along a second, parallel track [source].  A judge can pause (stay) the infringement proceedings to wait for the conclusion of the validity, but only if there is a "high likelihood" of their validity.

Again, both systems rely on the premise of a "high likelihood" of invalidity, which is typically defined at somewhere around 70 to 80 percent.  Of course this is wholly subjective, meaning how one judge might rule could vary substantially from what another judge might rule.

For now Apple's iPads and iPhones have been crippled of a key feature, much as Apple has crippled its competitors. Apple's next soonest hope of killing the painful ruling comes when it pleads its case before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, a German appeals court.  The appeals court has a lower standard of invalidity to grant a stay -- it can grant a stay if it feels that there's over a 50 percent chance of invalidity.

Angry iPhone owner
iPhone owners must live with the ban, likely for at least a year. [Image Source: Tech Axcess]

However, the issue for Apple is that the appeals court likely won't hear the case for at least a year -- ironically, a delay which may in part be lengthened due to all the appeals Apple has generated in its its own injunction wins over Android phonemakers.  And, of course, there's no guarantees that the appeals court will even see the patent as 50 percent or more likely to be invalid.

The Android v. Apple patent dispute is increasingly looking like   a stalemate of growing attrition.  Everyone is losing -- especially the customers -- as features disappear from both sides' products.  And there's little sign that the leadership on either side is willing to offer an end to the conflict.

Note 1:

The higher invalidity standard is in major contrast with other EU nations, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Note 2:

The push-email patent used in this case is not a patent promised under the "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) rules.  Thus, unlike some other recent rulings -- such as a German ban on online iPad/iPhone sales -- Motorola stands no risk of getting in trouble for FRAND abuse for its effort (as, again, the patent is not FRAND).

Note 3:

The patent involved in this ruling is 
EP (European Patent) 0847654 (B1).  The U.S. counterpart: U.S. Patent No. 5,754,119, which covers a "multiple pager status synchronization system and method".

Source: Apple



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By loremipsum on 2/25/2012 3:43:19 AM , Rating: -1
Wow, lots of crazy Apple-haters here.

First off, anybody looking at a Samsung tablet or smartphone running Android can readily ascertain that Samsung and Google completely ripped-off Apple's design and interface both in hardware and software. If you don't see that, you're blind. Apple has every right to sue the heck out of Samsung and Google for blatantly stealing their ideas. It used to be Microsoft that was the copycat, now it's Google and Samsung. I give props to Microsoft for a change for at least creating something different with Windows 8 (even if they borrowed interface ideas from things like Flipboard-- at least they stopped copying Apple.)

Second, if you think Google is innocent in all this, you really need to do your research. Why do you think Steve Jobs mentioned "going nuclear" on Android? He was obviously angry. Why? How do you think Google was able to get Android to market before other Apple competitors? Simple; Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt completely back-stabbed Apple (and Steve Jobs) after he became an Apple board member. He was a trusted partner with Apple. He sat on Apple's board of directors... and was privy to all the iPhone intellectual property before it was even released. After Google finally acknowledged that they would be creating their own operating system (Android) to compete with the iPhone iOS, he had no choice but to step down from Apple's board of directors, but the damage to Apple had already been done as he basically stole the blueprints to much of Apple's future products.

And Samsung? They built many of the components for Apple and also were a trusted partner with whom Apple shared many future plans. They used that information from Apple to build almost identical hardware devices. Fortunately for Apple, Google's Android operating system still prevents Samsung's hardware from functioning as well as an iPhone, although it isn't terrible. Add to that the fact that Apple has little recourse to attack Google and Android directly since Google isn't charging for Android (they are profiting off of advertising being directed to their search engine by the freely licensed Android OS) and Samsung becomes a viable lawsuit target to prevent the continued theft of Apple's intellectual property.

So for those of you that blame Apple and think that Apple started this war, think again.




By retrospooty on 2/25/2012 8:09:12 AM , Rating: 3
"Why do you think Steve Jobs mentioned "going nuclear" on Android? He was obviously angry. "

I don't want to speak ill of the dead so I will start with a good comment. Steve was brilliant and a fantastic businessman. He definitely changed the industry for the better and we all benefit from that, whether we buy Apple products or not the world is a better place for him.

As far as why he declared tm war on Google... The man was also start raving mad. He had a major Napoleon complex. Narcissistic to the highest possible extent. It wasnt exactly veiled either. He had a tiny e-penis and overcompensating for it.


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