Intellectual property is important. There's no denying that. But there's a line between protecting yourself and just trying to kill everybody around you. It's one Apple has already crossed, and it's not doing anybody any good. Time to knock it off.
Another Apple lawsuit was smacked down today. This time a Dutch court ruled that Samsung's Galaxy Tab did not need to be banned in the Netherlands. They acknowledged that yeah, Apple had some patents, but its claims were far too broad. It's another in a string of losses, each of which costs Apple and its target money, and temporarily deprives consumers of a competitive playing field. Look, Apple has every right to defend its intellectual property, but at this point it's turned into a war of attrition.
These frivolous lawsuits are bad for Apple, too. Yesterday, Dan Lyons reported that Apple blew a cool $100 million on their first lawsuit against HTC. What did they get for it? In the immortal words of Chris Farley, "JACK SQUAT." Apparently HTC already has a simple workaround that will allow them to escape the patent infringement charges. Meanwhile, Apple is out $100 million. Yes, to a company as gigantic as Apple that's a small piece of the pie, but the kind of R&D that $100 million can buy anybody is mind-boggling. Would that money not be better spent on truly pushing the limits of innovation? Isn't that a better way to compete?
This is Steve Jobs's war. Steve Jobs was inspired, passionate, and courageous. He also wanted a "thermonuclear war" with Android. Thermonuclear wars are awesome in video games. In real life, they are horrible for everyone, the provenance of only the craziest James Bond villains. Jobs's war was in the courtroom, sure, but the destructive potential is real: huge expenses, fewer devices, less choice.