Report: Apple Offers Android a Truce, Licensing for $5-$15 Per Device
March 7, 2012 9:00 PM
There's no telling where these talks stand, though, or whether Android phonemakers will buy the proposal
Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) legal war with the "Big Three" of the Android world -- HTC Corp. (
), Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), and Google Inc.'s (
Motorola Mobility -- has taken on legendary status as worldwide courts have been swept up in a torrent of suits and countersuits [
The gadget-makers' open war has drawn international scrutiny, particularly when contrast to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) who has largely thrived and profited off a softer approach of offering licensing [
]. Apple claimed to have
once offered Samsung such a deal
, but it had made no efforts of late to license -- until now.
The official NASDAQ Newswires service
that Apple is in deep talks with Android's big three, looking to settle the lawsuits for a per-device payment of between $5 and $15 USD -- between 1 and 2.5 percent of the devices' purchase price. That's on-par with the licensing rates Microsoft has demanded.
Apple has reportedly offered to allow Android smartphone and tabletmakers to pay a fee of between $5 and $15 per device to avoid infringement lawsuits.
[Images Source: 9to5Google]
Is it possible that Apple has turned its back on the demands of its late co-founder and CEO Steven P. Jobs, who promised to "spend every penny" of Apple's fortune in destroying Android in court?
Mr. Jobs stated in his authorized autobiography:
I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this.
Steve Jobs successors seem to be losing the stomach for the self-destructive war against Android he set in motion. [Image Source: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images]
But following the
shut-down of portions of Apple's iCloud service
in Germany thanks to Motorola's push-email lawsuit Apple's new leadership may be growing wary of the high cost in attrition that Mr. Jobs' conflict with Apple has wrought. The Motorola decision represents a serious threat to Apple for a couple reasons.
First, it represents a new breed of Android legal attack on Apple. Where as past Android lawsuits from Samsung and Motorola have largely
relied on wireless standards patents
questions about abuse
given the patents'
"fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) licensing requirements
, the Motorola suit relied on non-FRAND IP and thus is thought to be much stronger. With Google, Motorola Mobility, Samsung, and HTC "following in Apple's line" in picking up the pace with
trivial software embellishments and features
, the odds of Apple being forced to drop more features in the future seems increasingly likely.
relies on image
– much more than Android phonemakers, in general. It would be a public relations nightmare for the gadget maker if it had to take services like the iCloud offline or had to remove features from its devices.
There's no telling whether HTC, Motorola, or Samsung will accept the detail -- or even how serious Apple is about pushing for licensing. But if indeed brokers a truce, this would be a win for consumers, as Android phonemakers would escape without too severe financial repercussions, while Apple would gain the extra cash it needs to stay competitive in a global market dominated by Android's much more diverse selection of devices.
At the end of the day consumers want choice, and product bans are antithetic to that end.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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