… and, if you care about innovation, you shouldn’t either.
Just over two years ago, I wrote an entry for BerkeleyLUG in which I tried to explain to the sometimes baffled people in my life why I so strongly oppose Apple - http://goo.gl/xhc5. While the ultra-closed nature of their devices (see the above article for a small subset of examples illustrating Apple’s closed nature) is a major reason why I don’t personally use Apple products, it was their recent (at the time) litigation against competing open-source products that really got my goat.
I am writing today, with great sadness, because matters have only gotten worse. In the United States alone, in the past few months, Apple has taken advantage of the broken patent system to ban multiple competing products from consumers’ hands:
Apple succeeded in blocking all HTC Android devices from entering the country, forcing HTC to remove common features from its phones and now continues to pursue further litigation against the modified devices - http://goo.gl/j6zrR. In this case, Apple is using a dubious patent that gives them the sole right to detect text strings like phone numbers in documents and to allow users to press on them to perform actions.
Apple has succeeded in getting an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab because they have apparently patented the rectangle with curved edges despite the obviously large amounts of prior art. http://goo.gl/sqRD5
Most disturbingly, in the last week, Apple has succeeded in banning a stock Android device, the Galaxy Nexus, for basic functionality in the Android OS itself. The particular patent in question gives Apple the sole right to perform searches across multiple sources and to show the results in one interface. That is right, according to the patent, Apple is the only company in the world allowed to perform basic search. http://goo.gl/YuWHZ
This is a sad state of affairs. But, I, for one, am not done fighting. Which is why I ask all of you reading this to join me and the EFF in fighting patent trolls like Apple by fixing the broken patent system. Please start by signing your name to the EFF’s effort defendinnovation.org.
And, for our future’s sake, don’t buy Apple products…
(edited to fix typos that shame me)