Disrupt the superiority of Apple — that is the goal of Google CEO Larry Page. With the acquisition of the mobile communications division of Motorola, he wants to enter the lucrative business of cell phones. However, the competition will not only be carried out in the market, but also in courtrooms.
Telephones with built-in computers or electronic tablets that show movies are comparatively banal technical products. In the year 2011 anyway. And yet, recently, something mystic wafts around the all-in-one equipment of the U.S. company Apple. Corporate leader Steve jobs appeared to be, even if seriously ill, the King Midas of the digital world, who turns everything he touches to gold. His achievements — the iPod, iPhone and iPad — allowed him to become a large icon for some.
In the second quarter, his disciples sold 20.3 million smartphones, as many as never before in the history of the firm; with their closed i-system, the Apple people demonstrated self-confidence to business partners, as if the formula for technical progress lay exclusively in the corporate safe in Cupertino, California.
Only competition helps against hubris in the economy — and Apple is experiencing that, remarkably enough, from a company that, even in countries like the United States and Germany, enjoys a quasi-monopoly (in online search machines) and that is not abounding in modesty. Google is beginning to delicately destroy the idyll of Steve Jobs' superiority. For the Internet company founded in 1991, it is worth $12.5 billion to buy the mobile communications division of Motorola. That is meaningful in so far as it strengthens Android, the operating system of Google. Android is scheduled to be the basis for all the smartphones and tablets that the spirited assailants would like to sell themselves. But before the product war is decided by users, the wars concerning the patents must be won in the courtrooms.
Continuation of Company Policy by Other Means
Here, Apple has a few advantages. There is no doubt in its own user rights, but on the other hand the rival Android system is vulnerable. And so, the world rulers from Cupertino, and for that matter Microsoft and the device manufacturers who utilize Google’s Android, bring suits — often successfully. In the middle of July, the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, a close partner of Google, was caught; the U.S. Trade Commission ruled that there was patent infringement in two cases. Likewise, in six countries Apple is proceeding against Samsung. A judicial war is the mere continuation of company politics by other means.
Consequently, Google boss Larry Page is transitioning to get hold of as many patents as possible in the digital monopoly against Apple. At the beginning of July, he was defeated by an alliance between Apple and Blackberry manufacturer RIM in the bidding for the 6,000 patents of the insolvent network outfitter Nortel Networks. Two weeks ago, however, Google took over 1,000 licenses from IBM. And now, with the Motorola deal, important patents are attached. That should better protect the firm against Apple, but also Microsoft and other firms, announced co-founder Page. In addition, his firm has become a hardware provider overnight.
Everything would be in the nicest competitive order if those at Google who crazed for the huge and spectacular had not drawn attention to themselves through their non-transparent demeanor in the core business of Internet searching. The U.S. cartel watchdogs are closely scrutinizing whether marketing power is not being transferred to other fields, whether search queries are being manipulated. It is also a matter of Android. In the battle of the empires, Google will presumably need to survive some inquiries before their own devices can perhaps out-compete the Apple bestsellers. And still more billions will be spent, whether for patents or for market access. It is a matter of nothing less than dominance in the realm of the mobile Internet.