The US International Trade Commission Sides has ruled on Apple’s favor in a case that involves fundamental patents like “tap to call” or “tap to schedule a calendar appointment” from within an email. While very simple, those are features that I consider to be basic and fundamental to the ease-of-use of a smartphone. If Apple was to win this decisively and irreversibly, this would dampen the productivity of every other mobile platforms.
In this case, HTC is on the other side of the dispute, and stands to have to modify all its smartphones if the ruling sticks. This is bad news for HTC, which has recently but short its growth projections and faces a very tough fight against Samsung in the Android space. Unless there is a reversal of fortune, the ruling could prevent HTC from importing handsets in the USA on April 19.
And obviously, Apple would not stop with HTC. Strong with a precedent, it would likely seek to ban other phones and hinder other competitors. Google has bought Motorola Mobility for $17B exactly to avoid this type of scenario as Motorola has a broad portfolio of patent that could serve as ammunition in a patent war.
Apple is facing stiff competition in the smartphone pace, and although it enjoys healthy growth and margins, it has already be overrun by Android in terms of market share, and faces the prospect of having a second front open by the Microsoft/Nokia alliance. As its overall market share has already begun to decline (in percentage), so the time for drastic measure is now. [via New york times]