Mergers & acquisitions

Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?

4:00 PM -- OK, now that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has knocked the dents out of its patent shield, can we get back to what this industry is supposed to do best -- innovation?

I mean, it's been more than a little disheartening to see what appeared to be innovative companies like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) transform into overgrown patent trolls, trying to guard their goodies under a bridge somewhere. When, in fact, as has been pointed out, it is basically impossible to build a smartphone or tablet without infringing on some company's patents.

Particularly at this point in time, when the mobile industry is one of the few bright spots in a global economic and political picture that appears pretty bleak. The last thing we need is for the star players of the mobile industry to get bogged down in a welter of patent in-fighting that stalls the arrival of hot new products and services like those that have driven the sector over the last five years or so.

More innovation is certainly possible: Even though many sniffed at the irritating marketing campaign dreamed up by Fusion Garage to promote its new tablet, at least the startup showed there's more than one way to skin an Android.

For instance, how much more can be down with voice control of the mobile interface? I know we're all about touch these days, but the ability to have more control over all aspects of the phone with voice commands seems like an area that could be exploited further.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:56:03 PM
re: Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?

Ironically Wi-LAN is presently suing Apple and others over Bluetooth. Craziness.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:56:03 PM
re: Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?

Innovation without profit = Science

Innovation with a plan to profit = Engineering

Profit = Step 3.



ghernandez811 12/5/2012 | 4:56:03 PM
re: Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?

Looking at Apple and Google makes me think of what happened in the 1980s.  There were different companies pushing their Personal Computers. Radio Shack, Amiga, Apple, and IBM amongst them, fighting to win the battle. The two main players were IBM and Apple. Both were pushing their PCs using different technologies. IBM PCs used Intel Processors as they do today and Apple was using Motorola's Processors and that ended a few years ago.

The competition was fierce and out of the blue (IBM's main color) IBM opened the PC architecture and developed the term IBM PC Clone.  IBM wanted to focus more on their core products, mainframe and midrange computers and decided to open their PC architecture providing an OS that was simple and flexible. Those that know history also know that Bill Gates a humble engineer at that time, had a little OS that was perfect. Hence, IBM gave Bill Gates the chance of his life and MS-DOS became the de-facto OS for the PC clones.  

The move by IBM to open the PC architecture changed the world as we know it. Within a year other vendors were selling motherboards, and other PC manufacturers showed up like Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and many others. In two years there were over 40,000 applications for the PC and the number kept growing every year. In fact, creating another industry as well based on software applications for the PCs.

Apple, on the other hand, kept their Apple Computers closed. They were banking on the flawed strategy of selling only to the higher education market. Those of us that know that market also know that the Universities and schools run on very stringent budgets and want everything for free. However, Apple's marketing team believed that educating students using the Apples will eventually spawn into using them at corporate America. However, that never happened.

Now we see Apple doing the same thing. They want to keep their products closed. They want to keep applications closed as well so that they have to be sold only through Apple stores.

Google, on the other hand, is pushing an Open OS and allowing developers to sell the applications via Google Stores or on their own.  If Google develops the concept of BIOS for phones and tablets, it could signal the end of Apple.  Hence, it seems to me that Apple is fighting to keep their Greedy business approach of grabbing every penny they can. Nothing wrong with that as this is the main idea behind a free enterprise system. However, you can't discount competition.

I believe the best thing Apple could do is to take the lead and develop the Apple BIOS and also open their architecture and become the leader or de-facto standard for mobile and tablet devices. It would change the world again as we are moving towards a parallel economy were the concept of "Virtual Data Objects" (VDOs) is emerging. It is inevitable. We have the technologies to implement such parallel economy. Eventually we will be able to create "Virtual Data Objects," sell instances of these VDOs, we could also share VDOs with friends and devices will recognize VDOs and who owns them and who owns the instance of VDOs and will refuse to use VDOs that are not owned by the same owner. Stores will pass ownership of the VDOs as required and obtaining additional instances from the owners to sell more. 

We see some of these VDOs today, except they are proprietary and can only be bought but not exchanged. Apple’s ITunes, Videos, eBooks from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, just to mention some. Once this concept of VDOs is fully developed, using the technology we have today, the world will change again as we will have intelligent devices that will recognize them, we will own them, and use them, exchange them, sell them, or simple gift them. In short, we will create two economies one, the traditional Solid Objects Economy, and a new one the Virtual Objects economy. 

Will Apple and Google help and contribute in the formation of this new VDO economy? I hope they both do as there are synergies between the two companies and they could work together to set the US as the global center of this new Virtual Data Object economy. They have the most to gain and we, consumers, have the most to lose if they continue to fight, as other countries will see this as well and they can move to take all from us. I hope I am wrong on loosing it and I hope I am right on leading it.


Willie Hernandez.


thepriebe 12/5/2012 | 4:56:03 PM
re: Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?

I have an open-source background, believing that progress and the greater good is better for our society as a whole than for one individual or a small group to profit madly off of an idea that will soon become outdated and worthless in a couple years. 

In light of that, I agree that wasting time with lawyers and patents is killing creativity and innovation. You can't patent the 'letter of the day' so why can anyone patent an idea that is widely adopted and commonplace like blue tooth communication with mobile devices (one of the patents Apple claims to have over Google).

All bands have their influences in someone elses creativity; the same goes for artists. Apple should understand that they are the innovators and Google are the perfectors. Each has their place and ultimately helps the other. 

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:55:59 PM
re: Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?


Well said!  someday I hope to meet you socially and have a coffee or a beer.  I think it would be an interesting discussion.  

thanks for all your thoughtful posts.


^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:55:59 PM
re: Can We Get Back to Innovation Now?

Wow, what a condensed and skewed perception of the accurate history.  no mention of how or where Gates got MS_DOS.  hmmmm..... 

I am not sure the folks at IBM who were involved at the time would agree with your opinion and interpretation of that history.  

but more power to you. Totally understood that many would keep flogging MS as the great beacon in personal computing.

Wonder why the pc platform has consistently lost share against other approaches over the last 10 years.

IMHO Microsoft is the general motors of computing and produces products that are very similar to what GM produced in the late 60s and 70s when Japan began cleaning our clocks with better, more reliable autos.  And europe began dominating in high performance and luxury autos.  

Given Linux, Apache servers, tablets, smart phones, Apple OS, Android, and other technologies, looks to me like MS has to do some serious make overs to remain competitive.  Meanwhile MS leached corporate revenue for 3 decades with innumerable updates, upgrades, unneeded IT costs, etc.

again, IMHO.  


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