Can Android Survive the Apple Lawsuits?

Apple has been stepping up its spate of lawsuits against every manufacturer even contemplating using Android in any of their products, with lawsuits against HTC, Samsung and Motorola already underway. Apple has succeeded in having Samsung tablets pulled from sale in Australia and the EU, and seeks to do the same with Motorola's Xoom.

Although the onslaught against Samsung is down solely to design (i.e. rectangular shaped tablets and colorful interface icons) many of Apple's lawsuits are due to alleged patent infringement by Android manufacturers. Apple's real enemy here is Android – they feel threatened by the Google OS' increasing market share in the smartphone arena and are clutching at any means necessary to destroy it entirely.

impacts of apple lawsuit over samsung android

In this game of patent litigation one method of covering your own back is to have a good set of patents under your wing. This is probably the main motivation behind Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which should provide Google with a wealth of patents to use as a bargaining chip against Apple in future lawsuits. But this move may cause much harm to Google's relationship with its hardware partners.

Motorola is a major producer of Android smartphones and there is some concern among other Android phone manufacturers that future Google produced Motorola phones will have an unfair advantage. Although the bosses at HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have all publicly stated their support to the Google takeover of Motorola and despite Google's instance that Motorola will be operated as a separate company, there is no doubt some cause for concern here.

Samsung, one of the most successful companies to make use of Android, is reportedly stepping up its production of Bada based phones and is also looking into the possibility of purchasing WebOS from HP. Bada is a proprietary operating system developed by Samsung that runs on cheaper touchscreen phones released by the company, while its more expensive range run on Android. The purchase of WebOS could provide Samsung with an alternative to using Android should Google make any serious moves to become a key player in the smartphone hardware market. They could also use WebOS as the basis for a Samsung produced OS to compete with Android and iOS.

It would be a shame to see Samsung depart from the Android market, as they have produced some of the finest Android products of recent years – including the fantastic Galaxy S2 and various Galaxy Tab tablets. With so many lawsuits being directed towards Samsung due to its support of Android, and even the South Korean government urging the tech giant to move away from Google's operating system, it seems highly probable that Samsung would look to at least partially move towards other interfaces.

With Samsung jumping ship it is easy to imagine smaller companies also abandoning Android – companies that have not enjoyed nearly as much success with Android as Samsung has. If these other manufacturers do in fact stop their production of Android phones it will force Google to do what they have stated they have no intention of doing – move further into producing a more coherent hardware-software smartphone business in the same vein as Apple. If this eventuality transpires we could in all likelihood see Google-Motorola being the sole producer of Android phones in just a few years' time.

While the Motorola Droid and its follow ups were excellent devices, Google's own branded phones have never produced much of an impact. It also remains to be seen whether Google could produce a phone as awesome as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and so if Google became the sole producer of Android phones Apple may indeed achieve their aims of stopping Android market domination. For this reason it is advisable to pick up some Samsung Galaxy S2 deals while they are still available, before Apple has it pulled from the shelves. Hopefully with Steve Jobs out of the picture Apple may take a different direction, relying less on lawsuits on more on innovation to win back its market share. This may be the only way we will continue to see excellent Android phones from the likes of Samsung and HTC.
This post is written by Simon who is a guest author from best-mobile-contracts.co.uk.

 
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