Device operating systems

OS Watch: Samsung Countersues Apple

The only thing Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) thinks it has copied from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is its decision to sue. The handset maker struck back Thursday, filing countersuits in three countries that allege Apple infringed on patents for smartphone technologies. (See Apple Sues Samsung for iCopying.)

Samsung's claiming that Apple committed five patent infringements in Seoul, two in Tokyo and three in Germany. Rather than target the design and software of the devices, which is what Apple claims Samsung infringed on, the South Korean manufacturer is going after network-focused features.

Specifically, Samsung claims Apple overstepped on patents related to reducing data transmission errors in Wideband CDMA networks, tethering phones to PCs and reducing power consumption on HSPA networks.

"Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property," Samsung said in a statement.

Patent infringement cases are common in mobile, but Samsung and Apple are unique because Apple is Samsung's largest customer for components, a relationship Apple's COO Tim Cook said he expects to continue on the company's second-quarter earnings call.

"Separately from this, we felt the Mobile Communication Division of Samsung crossed the line," he said on the call. "And after trying for some time to work the issue, we decided we needed to rely on the courts."

  • Frag Watch: Cook also had some choice words for Android on the company's earnings call. He said the iPhone's integrated approach is materially better than Android's fragmented approach, which he defined as multiple OSs on multiple devices with different screen resolutions and multiple app stores with different roles, payment methods and update strategies.

    "I think the user appreciates that Apple can take full responsibility for their experience, whereas the fragmented approach turns the customer into a systems integrator and few customers that I know want to be a systems integrator," Cook told investors.

  • Android's watching too: Apple's gotten all the flack for it, but turns out Android tracks your every move as well. Like iPhones, Android devices regularly transmit location back to the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) mothership, reports The Wall Street Journal. (See Is Apple iStalking You?.)

    The WSJ says both are collecting the data to build an enormous database of location to target users with location-based services and advertising, both potentially lucrative markets.

  • Veer launch party: HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) is reportedly holding a big launch party for its tiny new phone, the Veer, on May 2 in Anaheim, Calif. The device is expected to launch the same day on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). (See HP Veers Into the Future of WebOS.)

  • BlackBerry World's one-hit wonder: BlackBerry 's BlackBerry extravaganza kicks off on May 3, but the company may only unveil one new device, even though it has promised six will launch this year. The Boy Genius Report blog cites two sources that say only the BlackBerry Bold Touch will debut at the show, although others suggest it'll be a huge event for RIM with several device unveilings.

    We're rooting for the latter -- RIM needs to keep its mobile momentum going after the launch of its first tablet, the Playbook, this month. (See RIM PlayBook: LTE & HSPA+ Versions Coming.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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