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Having a smaller market share may help a tiny bit too

Having a discussion with a source close to Japanese Android smartphone maker Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) I noted how remarkable it was that Sony had escaped any sort of litigation or publicly discussed licensing with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) or Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  While Apple hasn't sued everyone, it has sued most of the top Android phonemakers.  But Sony has escaped scott free.

How is it doing it?

Our source close to Sony confirms that he indeed knows the face of patent belligerence all to well, saying he's been called on as an expert to testify in several cases.  He remarks, "A lot of those [lawsuits] have been pretty frivolous."

When asked specifically about Microsoft and Apple and how Sony has escaped lawsuits (or licensing demands) he said, "We've had a number of discussions... We've been pretty successful at fending off these onslaughts... [laughs] I guess we should give credit to our lawyers."

So there you have it; the electronics industry has devolved into how good a lawyer team is.

Sony has reportedly used some lawyer "kung-fu" to avoid lawsuits.
[Image Source: Sony Pictures]

It's no wonder why some of the U.S.'s oldest and most respected federal judges are saying the patent system is broken in the U.S.  That same sentiment is also being echoed by top investors like Mark Cuban who bemoan the power of litigation to kill startups.

Sony for its part must have some pretty good lawyers.  After all, its latest and greatest Xperia phones have slide to unlock graphics (which other Android phonemakers have been sued over) and also have a "Cover Flow"-like transition animation (Apple owns a patent on Cover Flow's animations).

With its new "superphones" hitting the product stream, the phonemaker's remarkable ability to ward off Apple lawsuits may boost its profitability and sales, assuming that situation does not somehow shift.

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Sony Music
By SeeManRun on 1/11/2013 7:33:09 PM , Rating: 5
Might it have anything to do with the fact Sony owns Sony Music which is large enough that they could possible pull from iTunes as a retaliation from being sued by Apple (at cost to themselves, but also great cost to Apple and will likely make Apple's stock slide more than Sony's)?

RE: Sony Music
By MGSsancho on 1/11/2013 11:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
This and possibly since Sony has been making hardware devices for a rather long time. Sony has many patents as well. You mention Sony Music and do not forget Sony Pictures. Sony as a whole is more diversified and which might indicate more diversified patents.

RE: Sony Music
By Samus on 1/12/2013 12:34:40 AM , Rating: 2
Both good points. Sony BMG and their electronics roots both hold up pretty well. I wonder how large Sony's patent portfolio is, as well. Considering all the joint-licensing with Nokia for over a decade, I'm sure that helps, too.

Ironically, Sony is in a really good position in the mobile market to be successful. If only their marketing team was as good as Samsung's.

RE: Sony Music
By Omega215D on 1/12/2013 12:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
They seem pretty successful overseas but not so much in the US. They should make more of their phones available to all carriers and hopefully the carriers accept. I would love to have the Xperia Z on Verizon.

RE: Sony Music
By croc on 1/14/2013 6:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
It is three days too late to properly address this, but still... Sony-Ericsson, not Sony-Nokia.

RE: Sony Music
By ViewRoyal on 1/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/12/2013 1:06:03 PM , Rating: 5
Apple should really go after hiring more software engineers. The companies they are suing for copying them have all surpassed them. Time to innovate not litigate. Clearly when Apple innovates, they get record profits. Lawsuits wont bring anything close to the revenue.

RE: Sony Music
By ViewRoyal on 1/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: Sony Music
By Uncle on 1/12/2013 2:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if apple has reached its peak in selling their high priced phones in the US and the record sales are to recycled customers. Might be the reason there's talk of different models priced cheaper. Apple might fear that if they do that so many of their customers would move to the cheaper phones, because they realize the cheaper phones do what they want and the rest is fluff and hype,unless the cheaper phone won't have the apple logo on the back or they shrink it in size for esthetic reasons.

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/12/2013 2:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
No, I am not talking about how ANdroid is outselling it 5 to 1 and climbing, nor profit. We are talking about tech, copying and suing. What has surpassed Apple is the OS. In forma nda funtion, IOS is the least desirable OS on the market and iPhone is missing the most features. IOS is in desparate need of a UI update. Its old and gut-wrenchingly boring.

Other than that...
Larger Screens
Higher resolution screens
Better Mapping software
Plays HD content without downscaling
Faster Voice search
Mini HDMI port
Multi user support (for tablets)
Multi Window support
Flexibility in OS (Tons of Custom ROM's, etc)
- Flexibility in hardware (qwerty models, removable batteries, larger models, smaller models, high end models, mid range models, cheap models)
- Micro SD card
- Micro USB

That enough for ya ? Thats a long freeging list of things missing on a supposed high end phone.

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/13/2013 9:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
Almost half those things are tied into having larger chassis. Others like "downscaling" are irrelevant, a point pulled out of thin air. Playing video out of native res doesn't matter on a laptop and it doesn't matter on a phone. On top of that you're looking at far inferior color profiles on any smartphone display that is not in an Apple or latest HTC device. The only place non-native scaling matters are in static page elements like text and web pages, but for video players it is a non-issue as long as the source resolution is high enough. 1080p on a higher res iPad looks spectacular, as it does on displays with a lower res like laptops or even phones.

Pixel density (up to a point) and color accuracy are the most important elements when it comes to a display, other things like resolution are the product of physical size, which affects other things like ergonomics and portability.

Other things like better mapping and voice search software are ironically on iOS thanks to Google. Seriously, the best versions of Google Maps and Google Voice Search are on iOS, not JB, but don't worry, the Android versions will be brought up to parity sooner or later.

And lest I forget, the retrospooty drinking game where I take a swig every time he does his standard copypasta.


A man can get hammered quick playing this game while reading DT. ;)

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 7:15:03 AM , Rating: 2
As good as any drinking game where you drink when you make another excuse for Apples lacking in features and competitive specs ;)

Hey, at least you didn't compare it to the S3 this time.

RE: Sony Music
By EasyC on 1/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Sony Music
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/14/2013 11:49:26 AM , Rating: 2
He's a parrot...

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 1:51:00 PM , Rating: 3
I've worked in multimillion dollar color correction suites since the late 90s. I hardware color calibrate all of my computer monitors (a high end NEC) and my HDTV (Pioneer Elite Kuro). Anandtech's display analysis corroborates Apple having proper color profiles. Color gamut in particular is spot on.

Look up the color gamut and saturation charts:

I've been doing this so long I can properly set up a monitor without additional hardware at this point just by eyeballing it. You work in IT. :)

Looking at pictures, as well as websites. We all 3 agree the S3 looks better.

There are also people who like the "sports" look with cranked brightness and color combined with that awful motion smoothing mode on LCD HDTVs, it doesn't make them right.

I know these days everyone is supposed to be an expert at everything, but it just isn't the case. "In our opinion" doesn't work when there are objectively correct definitions and analysis that says otherwise.

If you think that "looking better" is better than "looking correct", and Samsung's color profiles are truly awful with their contrast and saturation, then that's a different story. Again, some people truly like HDTVs with contrast/saturation cranked and motion smoothing that makes everything look like a soap opera turned on. There is no arguing with bad opinions or taste.

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 2:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. If I were working with professional graphics and perfect color representation was important, the S3 wouldnt be where I viewed it (Then again, neither would any phone). And as I have said, I probably wont be going with Samsung on the next round... But for games, web viewing and anything and everything I do on a smartphone, it does look better. Not just my optionion. SAMOLED looks better to alot of people. Deal with it.

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 2:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
it does look better. Not just my optionion

Anecdotal evidence ahoy!

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 2:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said... If I were working with professional graphics and perfect color representation was important, the S3 wouldnt be where I viewed it (Then again, neither would any phone)

I am not calling it evidence, I am just saying perfect color representation is not on my list of things to look for on a phone screen.

#1. First and foremost, let me be clear... Size matters
#2. Resolution
#3. Everything else

And again, I prolly wont be going with the S4 for the next phone. I am thinking Experia Z or possible the next HTC or Moto/Google X-phone depending on specs, price and availability.

RE: Sony Music
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/14/2013 2:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
Quit feeding....

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 2:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I'm done.

ANyhow, all that aside. This thing has really got me thinking.

It's basically spec wise, just like any of the many 1080p Androids we have seen lately, but also water resistant, supposedly up to 3 meters. I would be willing to overlook that its from Sony and get this puppy depending on what else is out over the next few months... then again, a few months is a long time for Android. I am sure we will be looking at some even better stuff.

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 2:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Resolution is mostly the product of physical size. Not everyone wants a big phone.

Pixel density is the real important factor here, everything else follows behind that.

Now if you frame it as "I prefer bigger screens", that's fine. Talking about it in context of resolution is a whole other thing.

As for me, good color is always important. Hell, we use iPads on shoots for quick color checks (do a temp color correction on the DaVinci Resolve and shoot it over to the iPad). It looks better than most "real" monitors and its easier to show looks to clients/co-workers. Way better than taking Polaroids with a Land Camera in the old days!

All of the other phones you mentioned, particularly the HTC, would be better than the Samsung right now.

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 2:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
"Pixel density is the real important factor here, everything else follows behind that."

That is where todays Androids really excel. 1920x1080 at 5 inches = 441ppi.

As for the rest. Meh, we've heard it before. It's a pretty well known thing that todays std LCD's are sharper and have better true color reproduction, and SAMOLED has brighter colors and better black levels. It's really a matter of preference. You parroting that only your one matters is getting old. Not everyone deals with graphic art, etc. or cares. Some people like really good black levels. I wish my TV were as black as my S3.

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 3:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
Having true black is one thing, that's why I have a Kuro HDTV.

Accurate color contrast reproduction through the entire range is something entirely different though. An AMOLED screen with an sRGB color profile would have that good black, but it would also display color and grey values properly all the way through rather than having too much contrast and color saturation where there shouldn't be.

AMOLED and a bad color profile are two completely different things, and there is no good excuse for it. If a plasma HDTV can have far deeper blacks (talking CRT levels here) and dynamic range than any AMOLED is capable of while also having good color calibration, there is no reason why Samsung can't do the same with their phones.

Come to think of it, Samsung's HDTVs don't have the best color either. That's why Panasonic still holds the crown there.

As for PPI, displays ones like in the Droid DNA are great. That said, once you get past a certain point (over 250 PPI) then it doesn't matter for quality. At that point it is a means for getting more pixels in there. I've seen it and telling between a 330PPI and a 440PPI is futile, you can't see individual pixels in either case. The hit on performance, especially given the relatively choppy JB and slower hardware, is something to take into account at that res though.

The iPhone getting 1080p would be cool on paper (practically it wouldn't really benefit), it is certainly possible, but it would break app compatibility in a big way. That's no good considering that applications are where iOS really shines over other mobile operating systems.

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/14/2013 3:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 3:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
AMOLED is no excuse for a bad color profile, Samsung just does a bad job with their setup.

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 3:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
I wish my TV were as black as my S3.

That's easy, and you can get an excellent color profile at the same time.

Buy a Panasonic plasma. The 2012 ST or GT series are both great, VT if you want to spend even more for a few more percentage points of black.

Then there's this bad boy coming out this year, the ZT60 series:

RE: Sony Music
By TakinYourPoints on 1/14/2013 1:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
Those "washed out" colors are actually a proper sRGB color profile.

AMOLED may be a lot of things but properly calibrated is not one of them, far from it. Do you crank up the contrast and saturation on your other monitors as well?

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: Sony Music
By momorere on 1/12/2013 4:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
I believe this may be the link you were looking for the other day in another story. It is weird though as it comes from pro-Apple BGR. If Apple said they were closing their doors tomorrow, those guys at BGR could somehow make it out to be Apple's greatest thing ever.

RE: Sony Music
By ViewRoyal on 1/13/2013 1:39:13 PM , Rating: 1
As I mentioned in my comment (but which you obviously did not read) the USA has the iPhone for sale through almost every mobile service in the country, while Android phones of all makes and sizes are available form every single service. This gives us an Apples to apples comparison (pardon the pun ;-). And in this comparison, where availability of the iPhone is almost equal to the availability of Android phones, the iPhone does have "53% market share, while ALL Android phones combined dropped to only 41%?"

It is for this reason that sales of the iPhone is starting to climb in other countries around the world. It's not because people don't want to buy the iPhone... it's because they can't yet (but they will in the future)!

Many services in many countries don't yet sell the iPhone... but Apple is continually improving the availability in these areas, and as they do, sales of iPhones grow.

Look at China. Recently Apple started selling iPhones through the two smaller services in China.. but not yet through the largest, China Mobile, which has over a Billion subscribers.

In the short period that the iPhone has been available for sale in China, those two smaller mobile services have stolen millions of customers away from China Mobile, because they sell the iPhone. China Mobile is in the process of having an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone, which they now want to do to stop the drain of their customers to the other services.

RE: Sony Music
By retrospooty on 1/13/2013 3:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
"It is for this reason that sales of the iPhone is starting to climb in other countries around the world."

You arent looking at the whole picture. You are looking at a picture that is designed to make Apple look better and that just isn't the case with regards to market share. Sales for all makers are going up, as the whole smartphone sector is growing. Market share is quite the opposite of what you rae saying. As I mentioned, in 2011 it was outsold 2.5 to 1. In the 1st half of 2012 it was outsold 4 to 1. In Q3, 5 to 1. Q4 will see a sales bump as Apple releases once a year, but it will level out. Android is expected to outsell it anywhere from 5 to 1 to 6 to 1 in 2013. Why? Not because of availability, because of the HUGE list of features the iPhone is missing and because of flexibility.

RE: Sony Music
By Bateluer on 1/15/2013 4:06:43 PM , Rating: 1
Latest market share numbers have Apple's iOS market share at 35%, with Android at 55%. iOS grew at .7% with Android growing at 1.7%. iOS has been flat for a while now. Get your numbers straight.

RE: Sony Music
By Solandri on 1/12/2013 2:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
Sony's history with patents and lawsuits goes back long before they ever acquired Columbia Records -> CBS -> BMG -> Sony.

RE: Sony Music
By DeepBlue1975 on 1/15/2013 9:54:03 AM , Rating: 2
Good point.

But I was thinking along the lines that, when it comes to the mobile market, Sony isn't precisely at the top of the food chain. I don't know what their market share is, but I'm pretty sure it poses no threat to Apple's products.
On the other hand, Samsung's Galaxy line is a big competitor to Apple's iPhone line.

Kung Foo from Japan?
By cparka23 on 1/12/2013 11:10:34 AM , Rating: 4
You realize that's as out of place as a tiger in Africa?

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By Dextor41 on 1/12/2013 12:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I'm Caucasian but I wouldn't wonder if any Japanese or Chinese people would feel offended by this. It's like "OK so Sony is a Japanese company so let's connect them with Kung fu 'cause it's from there somewhere also...". Japan is not China! In my country there's a lot of Vietnamese shop owners and many people say something like "Let's go shopping to the Japanese" or "I got this shirt from one of those Chinese stands there and there...". Vietnam is not China is not Japan is not Korea is not North Korea etc... Racists!

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By augiem on 1/12/2013 1:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
BS. Ignorance != racist. It's exactly the same as someone calling a European/Western asia decent person "White".

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By Bubbacub on 1/13/2013 4:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
not quite - for example, imagine calling a person from a mediterranean country e.g. greece or spain and labelling them as english or swedish.

southern europeans look quite different to northern europeans even though indigenous european populations are all called 'white'

in the same way someone from vietnam looks quite different to someone from japan - though they may both be from east asia.

i totally agree that ignorance != racism. it is still however quite reasonable to be offended by ignorance (though it is less offensive than hateful malice)

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By AnnihilatorX on 1/13/2013 8:02:20 AM , Rating: 3
I am Chinese, I could imagine someone getting offended, not me though

I played the point and click puzzle game Resonnance. The producer have a Japanese wife, whom persumably did some of the voice work (there was a few Japanese dialogue in the predominantly English game). In the game, a detective, after seeing the woman dressed in kimono whom gave him an origami crane; the detective made a remark something along the lines of: I don't understand what this woman was speaking, some Chinese.

I couldn't stop laughing.

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By retrospooty on 1/13/2013 3:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Reminds me of a classing from King of the hill - when meeting the new Asian neighbor

Dale: So are you Chinese or Japanese?

Khan: I am from Laos. Its a landlocked country between Vietnam and Thailand you stupid redneck, Do you understand? LAOTIAN.

Dale: Ya, I understand, you're Laotian....... So is that Chinese or Japanese?

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By augiem on 1/13/2013 7:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
not quite - for example, imagine calling a person from a mediterranean country e.g. greece or spain and labelling them as english or swedish.

And its entirely plausible that that happens. Certainly possible for people to confuse Portuguese and Spanish, or even Italian. How about Eastern Europe? Do people really expect that their country of origin must be immediately identifiable by sight by people with little contact with people from their country? Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Ukranian, etc. Everyone in the former Soviet Union would be identified as Russian by most people around the world.

So my point was, it's ridiculous to say that is racism to not know where someone is from or what language they are speaking/writing.

RE: Kung Foo from Japan?
By augiem on 1/13/2013 8:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Ukranian, etc. Everyone in the former Soviet Union would be identified as Russian by most people around the world.

Let's clarify those two sentences as separate thoughts:

Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Ukranian, etc. Can eveyone around the world differentiate these people and their languages and identify them by their country of origin? And I'm sure everyone from a country in the former Soviet Union would probably be identified as Russian by most people around the world.

New patents awarded in 2012
By Tony Swash on 1/12/2013 8:26:17 AM , Rating: 2
I thought this was interesting

The New York Times reports that the following companies were awarded the following number of patents in 2012

IBM, was awarded 6,478 new patents

Samsung was awarded 5,081 new patents

Microsoft was awarded 2,613 new patents

Google was awarded 1,152 new patents.

Apple was awarded 1,136 new patents

RE: New patents awarded in 2012
By augiem on 1/12/2013 2:23:32 PM , Rating: 3
Not surprising considering how much actual reasearch and development company like IBM does.

RE: New patents awarded in 2012
By chick0n on 1/13/2013 3:31:26 AM , Rating: 2
where is tonyswash when we need him?

RE: New patents awarded in 2012
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/13/2013 10:06:04 AM , Rating: 2
Jerking off on his Steve Jobs shrine.

RE: New patents awarded in 2012
By Tony Swash on 1/13/2013 2:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
I made the original comment dimwit

Lawyer up tech companies!
By retrospooty on 1/11/2013 7:36:14 PM , Rating: 3
Apple is watching closely to make sure only they are allowed to copy. They seem to think they have patented copying, so that only they can do it. They are the Anthony Weiner of the tech industry... ;)

Quite right
By pixelslave on 1/11/2013 8:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
I actually agree with this. Reading some of the news about the Apple vs Samsung case, some of the things done by the Samsung attorney are downright unbelievable. I recallx reading that they filed some of the documents late and got rejected by the judge to use them as evidences -- how could this happen?!

Steve Jobs admired Sony
By Yongsta on 1/12/2013 1:35:11 PM , Rating: 2
If you read Steve Jobs bio, he admired Sony tremendously and Apple's change in design philosophy to concentrate on industrial design was inspired by Sony. He loved their manufacturing process. His famous quote, "Apple is the Sony of computers".

However Steve Jobs helped in the decline of Sony or rather it could be Sony itself depending on your point of view. Sony had a monopoly on the music market with their Walkman and Apple basically released an MP3 digital version with the iPod and took over, that was the beginning of the decline of Sony and the rise of Apple to its current state. However, I think Apple has its apex and will begin trending down, Sony will recover a bit, and other companies like Samsung will continue to grow.

Isn't it ironic
By BifurcatedBoat on 1/14/2013 2:50:51 AM , Rating: 2
that a patent system designed to protect innovation, has turned into a system for destroying it?

The Answer
By ViewRoyal on 1/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: The Answer
By Solandri on 1/12/2013 2:33:19 PM , Rating: 3
All that any company needs to do to avoid being sued by Apple... is not to steal Intellectual Property from Apple. ;-)

What IP is that? They didn't invent smartphones, they didn't invent portable music players, they didn't invent touchscreens, they didn't invent gestures like pinch to zoom or slide to unlock, they didn't invent flat surfaces, and they didn't invent rounded corners. They do have patents on some of these, but only because the patent system is broken and awarding lots of patents which clearly have prior art.

Remember, just because the first time you saw something was on an Apple product doesn't mean Apple invented it. In most cases it's actually Apple which is the "thief" (the original inventor thought it was simple or obvious enough not to be patentable, so "thief" in quotes since I won't claim they "stole" something which the inventor obviously wasn't trying to protect).

RE: The Answer
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/12/13, Rating: 0
RE: The Answer
By drycrust3 on 1/12/2013 4:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
If by "AppleTools" you mean someone who has a some sort of extreme bias in favour of Apple Corp, then I think your comments are unjust. Having looked at some of Solandri's previous comments, they don't strike me as having a particular interest in favour of Apple Corp. They are well thought out arguments.
And with regard to your suggestion Solandri's account was recently created by some Apple fan to promote their views on Apple, you do know that Solandri has posted more comments than you, don't you? Not only that, his first comments were posted prior to your first postings as well.
All in all, I think you owe Solandri an apology.

RE: The Answer
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/12/2013 5:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you need to learn how to read. I wasn't talking about Solandri.

RE: The Answer
By drycrust3 on 1/12/2013 5:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I did indeed misunderstand.

RE: The Answer
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/12/2013 5:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
No worries :)

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