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decades of fun

On Samsung, Apple, Droid

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Wow lots of hot air out there, almost filling up the internet. Revisionist history is the order of the day. Apple doesn’t “steal” and they definitely don’t make knockoffs. They iterate, implement, and often times they innovate.

Whenever Apple releases a product it spawns countless knock-offs. Makers of every stripe take their general shape and color scheme then replace their metal with plastic, their high-quality parts with standard parts, their MacOS/iOS with either Windows/Android, and loosely fit it all together with no support. Then they charge 10% less than the clearly superior Apple product and confuse the marketplace.

If computers are our new cars, then yes, that’s called competition in a capitalistic society and it’s not illegal. But if the car you are selling looks exactly like a BMW, featuring the same grill, the same trim lines, the same interior design, and in place of the BMW logo it says “BHW” in a similar font — well, you have a problem.

I would think we all agree on the above, but people don’t seem to think this applies to Apple v. Samsung. Let me shoot down some fallacies I’ve found around the web today:

– Apple did not “steal” anything from Xerox Parc when designing the mac. This is false on the timeline and overly-simplified. Apple bought their way in to the Parc lab by paying with a stock swap with Xerox, and licensed a few technologies they then put into the Lisa computer, years before the Mac. Xerox had no future plans to take the Parc teams’ research to the market, which is why they were interested in Apple stock. It was all legal and has no similarity to Samsung, other than Apple back then did the right thing, whereas Samsung just stole.

– Android as an OS was around sorta before iOS, as a java/linux pipe-dream. But it had none of the touch features Apple sued over. iPhone shipped in ’07, and people were so geeked on this new phone style (where are the buttons?!?) that projects were completely scrapped and relaunched to compete with the iPhone. It was only 5 years ago, I hope you haven’t forgotten that stuff already!

– “DROID” was the first and the most obvious platform to go directly after the iOS look and feel. To this day they live off being the non-Apple that offers you the same thing iOS does. Yes they have skins and other extensions that go beyond what iOS does, but Apple isn’t upset about that kind of stuff. It’s the stuff that Android does exactly like iOS, because Apple spent the R&D on that. How it reacts to your finger gestures and what it looks like from 5 feet away is what Apple is protecting.

– Android is not a company. Android does not outsell Apple, because Android is a product licensed to phone makers for them to do with as they wish. There may be more Android phones in the world than there are iPhones, but they don’t outsell or out-profit iPhones as many are given away. Android users overall don’t browse, spend, or rely more on their handsets than iPhone users. Plus most Android phones can barely get 1 software update, whereas iPhones can receive 3+ years of updates with new features.

– Google owns Android, after purchasing it in 2005. It is built on a Linux kernel and they put out their first version in 2008. iOS of course is owned by Apple and was developed in-house. It runs on the BSD-Unix kernel, same as OSX. It first shipped in 2007.

– Google is no stranger to accusations of stealing. YouTube still refuses to pay royalties, and Google is an advertising company (like Facebook). They each make money by selling ads and by selling your habits and data profile. They don’t make many products that actually profit by being purchased. They have no shelf space to protect.

– Use your Android if you like it. If you can’t or won’t get an Apple that’s fine with me. There’s also Win8Phone and Blackberry still kicking around here in the US. Android won’t die from this, but it might need to change, innovate, and quit copping Apple each version or Apple might go after Google.


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My opinion is that by Samsung putting the two together — cases and designs that look exactly like Apple’s, and bragging about how Android is better than iOS on their devices. It really confused the marketplace. To this day most people don’t understand this stuff, but they keep paying their $60/month to whoever.