While the ultra-closed nature of their devices is a major reason why I don’t personally use Apple products, it is their recent litigation against competing open-source products that really gets my goat.
… and, if you care about innovation, you shouldn’t either.
Just over two years ago, I wrote an entry for BerkeleyLUG trying to explain to the sometimes baffled 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 consumer’s hands:
Apple succeeded in blocking all HTC Android devices from entering the country – forcing HTC to remove common features from its phones and then pursuing further litigation against the modified devices. http://goo.gl/j6zrR
Apple has succeeded in getting an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy tab because they have patented the rectangle with curved edges despite the obviously large amounts of prior art. http://goo.gl/sqRD5 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 allows users to press on them to perform actions.
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 show the results. That is right, according to the patent, Apple is the only company in the world allowed to perform basic search. http://goo.gl/YuWHZ
I started BerkeleyLUG three years ago because I believe in the ability of technology to revolutionize the world. More specifically, I believe that open access to technology breeds future innovation and that this innovation literally defines us as culture. As evidence, I believe the success of the most important innovation of our time, the open internet, is a direct result of the availability of the open-source standards such as html and open platforms like Linux, Apache, MySQL and other open projects.
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 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.