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Push Email Suspended On iPhones In Germany 164

Posted by timothy
from the fine-grained-patent-sniping dept.
New submitter elashish14 tips this news, snipped from Ars Technica: "Apple has been forced to disable push e-mail delivery for iCloud and MobileMe users in Germany this week. The move is thanks to a recent injunction awarded to Motorola as part of the ongoing patent dispute between the two smartphone makers.... The patent at issue relates to older pager designs, but Motorola was able to convince a German court that it applied to Apple's implementation of push e-mail that syncs across devices via iCloud. The injunction went into effect on Thursday of this week, requiring Apple to disable push e-mail syncing in Germany."
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Push Email Suspended On iPhones In Germany

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  • Re:Don't worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @04:32AM (#39156909) Journal

    That, or blame der juden...is Germany still doing that bit?

    No, Germany stopped doing that about 67 years ago.

  • Re:Truce (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @04:37AM (#39156933)

    It's sad that their paying customers end up taking most of the hits at the moment, but i think all these petty squabbles between massive corporations are the best way towards positive patent/copyright reform.

    Courts the world over seem to be used not to settle wrongs but simply as a scoring system. Corporation A wins a couple lawsuits and injunctions in Europe, Corp B wins some in the states, Corp A fights back and gets some in Australia, Corp B then tries its luck in Asia. I don't have any figures, but i wouldn't be surprised if all these corporations put twice as much money in their legal department as they do in R&D. Which kinda makes me wonder if we can still consider them in the technology sector.

    I can't believe some judge hasn't just said "enough of this shit" and sentenced the board members of all corporations involved to a mandatory year in pre-school.

    Rulings like these, that disable features that many customers rely on, are guaranteed to annoy the regular mom&pop users (who generally consider copyright/patent related discussion to be irrelevant to them). Combined with the people in the tech sector who actually still try to develop things, the hippies and the nerd crowd that might create a large enough group to cause some uproar and start the process of redesigning the laws regarding IP.

  • How could anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday February 25, 2012 @04:41AM (#39156953)

    After observing the antics of Apple, Samsung, and Motorola in the past year, in particular, how could anyone wind up still believing that patents and copyrights promote creation or indeed help anyone but the assignees? When does the true reform begin?

  • Re:I wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Splab (574204) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @04:50AM (#39156971)

    This is a really old and actually valid patent.

    Just because you don't like it doesn't make it invalid nor wrong.

  • Re:Germany is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Forever Wondering (2506940) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:26AM (#39157081)

    the new US District Court of Eastern Texas.

    Actually, Moto has been negotiating with Apple over this patent since 2007--to no avail.

    Generally, the German courts have been much more level headed than Eastern Texas.

    In this particular case, the German court determined that Apple had been negotiating in bad faith, and thus, Moto was entitled to a special injunction (because of Apple's egregious/scofflaw behavior). When Apple saw the handwriting on the wall, they rushed to [the court to] "pay up", but the court said "too little, too late".

    Considering how much of a patent bully Apple is, this is one of the few places where they've been properly spanked.

  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:31AM (#39157103)
    Apple started making iPhone in 2007, then they tried to mess with a company that was making portable phones for over 30 years prior and were the main developers for the backbone all all the cellphone technology. Apple thought they were hot stuff and decided to kick a sleeping dog, they just didn't realize that dog was bigger than them in the cellphone business and would bite them in the ass for messing with them. Apple has a lot of good patents and a lot of bull crap ones, ie round corners on a rectangle. This one is an actual technology and doesn't apply to the 3G standards of FRAND so they are pretty much screwed on it. They asked for it though. Motorola left Apple alone, but Apple had to try to sue Motorola and every other Android phone maker. I guess their lawyers didn't think twice about suing the company that hold nearly every patent that involves the backbone of cellphone technology.
  • by NGTechnoRobot (2560687) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:37AM (#39157117)
    If I have a stick its just a stick, Currently I can patent throwing the stick, balancing the stick on my nose, throwing the stick, but it's still a stick. If I add some string to make it so I can throw it farther its now an enhanced stick worthy of a patent. Hardware is the key and should be the deciding factor when accepting a patent.
  • by houghi (78078) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:46AM (#39157141)

    The constitution is nothing but a piece of paper. It is upon its readers to decide if they want to follow it or not.

    Be sure that if it had said that copyright would not be possible and everything should be done under GPL, the industry would have found a way to do what it wants.

    I can not even blame that industry for trying. I can only blame the people that voted for those who allow it.

  • Re:Truce (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:49AM (#39157149)

    What is the point? You , me and everyone here has "read" the verbose, archaic, purposely overdone and almost obfuscatory text of some patent or another. We want to know what the patent does using the hallowed principle of "If it's quacks, it's a duck".

    Automatically 'pushing' messages from one computer to another is something a "practitioner skilled in the art" (mostly anyone here) can do and consider obvious.

    So no, while I could be wrong, I concur with the guy you're responding to. And I haven't read it either

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:56AM (#39157169)
    Ah, but you're assuming that Motorola would agree to license it. I'm not so sure they will since Apple's been hellbent on suing the competition out of existence instead of just beating them in the marketplace. I'm glad that the German courts are making Apple realize that karma's a real bitch.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @06:43AM (#39157261)

    All the companies are just interested in making Apple sit down and shut the fuck up. None of this counter-lawsuit stuff started until Apple started to try and shut everyone else down. The other companies that made cellphones had occasional hissing matches with each other, as companies seem to like to do, but it would get resolved since they realized it was in their best interests. While they'd all like to be the one and only phone provider in the world, they know that isn't going to happen so they'll settle for cross licensing and so on.

    Then in comes Apple who decides they can just sue everyone else out of existence. They think they should be the only company other than maybe RIM who is allowed to produce a smartphone or tablet. No surprise it has raised the ire of all the other companies and they are now striking back.

    They don't want money, they want Apple to stop suing. I'm not sure Apple will though, I think they are real scared. Apple's rise to their current mega corp status has all been about getting in to markets that nobody else is really having any success in and making it cool. This lets them sell their stuff with a massive profit margin due to no competition.

    They did it with MP3 players first. They weren't the first company to make one, but they made them cool, made them a fashion accessory. Now everyone had to have one, but not just any one, an iPod. That has waned quite a bit these days, but no problem, because then they brought smartphones to consumers. Blackberry's were always business toys. The US government loves the things but they didn't sell so well on the consumer market. The iPhone made smartphones a thing to have and they did well there. Then of course they made tablets the new toy to have. Most people have no idea why they want one, but they want one.

    However they don't seem to have a "what's next" and unlike the MP3 player situation, people are moving in on phones and tablets quicker than they are ready for. Android went from more or less an experiment to an extremely competent competitor in just a few years and has been selling really well. They see their market slipping, and have nowhere else to go.

    So they are going sue happy, to try and keep everyone else out. If they can't, they risk losing their place of prominence, and no company wants that.

  • by Vapula (14703) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @07:23AM (#39157393)

    The big point about having the Nuclear Bomb is to NOT use it...

    Steve Jobs broke the truce and went nuclear against Android... Except that most of his nuclear missiles are rotten (patents on obvious things... didn't we have "swipe" in "Minority Report" for example... and rounded rectangle... no comment)

    Now, it's beginning to backfire... Samsung, Motorola and other would probably not have sued Apple out of existence... But now, Apple has put them in a situation where it's probably the best move...

    My guess is that they will sue Apple again and again until iPhone and iPad go to oblivion... And Apple is in a dangerous situation. It's share is bubbling up... which means that it's perceived value is probably much higher than it's real value... It also mean that the Apple share can drop suddently to levels well below it's real value (panic effect) when the bubble will explode... And market bubble always explode one time or another...

  • Re:Don't worry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wzzzzrd (886091) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @07:36AM (#39157433)
    There are no software patents in Germany. This is not a software patent. Also, it's "die Juden" not "der juden".

    See, you just learned two new things! Knowing now how easy that was maybe it's time to fill out that school application and give education a try? It's never too late they say.
  • Re:Truce (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @07:37AM (#39157435) Homepage

    Yes, but that's SMTP not any client side protocol. The client side is a different story.

    I don't care about the outcome in this one. I only hope that it hurts badly for one side or the other. One thing seems to becoming obvious -- Germany is the new East Texas.

    I just hope the families of various politicians are interrupted, annoyed or iritated by all of this so that attention to the issue. Politicians only care about what affects them and that's about the extent of it. They listen to the highest bidder after that and we already know who the highest bidders are. I only hope it "gets too stupid, even for the politicians to tolerate."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @07:56AM (#39157489)

    I can not even blame that industry for trying. I can only blame the people that voted for those who allow it.

    I'm getting really tired of this cop-out. "You can't blame the company, they exist just to make money!"

    Yes, I fucking well can. Companies are made of people, people have moral compasses; if dickheads want to try this shit then they should be lynched for being immoral (aka evil) bastards. This is the Nuremberg defense all over again, "I was just doing my job!" — guess what, asshat? Power comes with responsibility, you don't get to have your money/power and then ignore all the externalities you created.

  • Re:I wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @08:08AM (#39157529)

    Perhaps Apple shouldn't have tried to kill off its competitors with patent trolling.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @08:22AM (#39157573)

    I suspect Apple knew what they were doing. They are trying to deal with two huge problems:

    1) Apple is a high-end consumer company, like with PCs they initially do rather well, but over time they end up fighting an ecosystem of other manufacturers who are constantly undercutting them and eroding their market share. That's capitalism, but as Apple won't join the fight for the low-end, they cede it to others. And over time, the low-end gets good enough for most people, and Apple's market share drops to single figures.

    2) Apple had no worthwhile patents on the actual technology of the iPhone, which was already invented by 2007 (design patents don't count). Mobile browsers, email, etc. had already been done for many years, and all of the hardware was licensed and patented by others.

    Apple's response to 1) was to go on the offensive, and try to use the handful of patents they did have which could be applied to smart phones, and use those patents to shut out competitive products (Android being the prime competitor). Apple's response to 2) is to argue that their patents from the last few years are the equal of those mobile patents that other companies have acquired in the last 20 years. i.e. if you want to make a modern smart phone, then you will need to do a deal to license Apple's patents, regardless of how many other patents you have. Apple can then try to use the license terms to negate the advantage of its competitors multi-decade mobile patent portfolios.

    It is an interesting approach, they are playing for keeps in a very high value market. The worst case scenario for them is that they end up with global market share in the single digits, as happened with desktop computers, and their current strategy reflects this overriding concern. At best, they kill Android and regain their 90%+ of the smartphone market. What will probably happen is something in the middle of those two extremes.

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @08:59AM (#39157653)

    You're not accounting for the usage habits of the buyers.

    There are *no* ad-supported apps on my cell phone. None. Everything I have installed is either legitimately free, or it came with the phone. And I don't use mobile web at all. I'm on a flex data plan, and my usage is consistently in the bottom tier (25mb/mo). 100% of my data usage is e-mail, calendar, and contacts. I would not show up on either of those statistics. And yes, I have an Android device.

    Considering that the iPhone is marketed as an internet-connected consumer device, specifically for the consumption of stuff on the web, I would be willing to lay odds that iPhone users consume more web, on average, than Android users. Sure, there will be aberrations on either platform, but ultimately I think the numbers will show that on the whole, iPhone users consume more data. That will naturally skew statistics that come from watching peoples' data use: that is, search hits and ad impressions.

  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @11:19AM (#39158287)

    Your non-violence attitude is fine when all you care about is not starting a war yourself. Doesn't do squat when someone else starts beating up on you.

    That's what's going on here. This particular spate of patent fights was triggered when St Jobs decided to go all holy war on Android and Google and won injunctions against phones which had rounded corners among other stupid patents. Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and other Android makers got caught in the cross fire and shot back. Don't get me wrong, Apple fan-boys: everyone plays the same game, it's just this particular mini-war which was started by St Jobs.

    The fault is with governments that make money from issuing as many patents as possible and lawyers who make money from fighting as many patent battles as possible. It's quite evident that "obvious to anyone skilled in the arts" and "for a limited time" mean nothing. Patents would have a purpose if they were actually limited to innovative clever not-so-obvious features and there were only, say, one thousandth the number we have now.

    But it's also obvious that governments and lawyers have an interest in not limiting patents to the truly innovative, and we'd be better off with no patents whatsoever. Innovative companies would always have a lead in clever designs, and early adopters would be glad to pay a premium for that and quality. Copycat companies would always be playing catchup and have to charge less for mass production.

    The world would be a better place if all those patent lawyers and government bureaucrats had to find useful productive work instead of being parasites who gum up the works.

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