Apple has tended to be rather aggressive when it has come to crippling its competitors in both the hardware and software sector. It has come down with all its might on Samsung, as the ongoing feud between them has escalated in to a massive, high profile legal battle on a global scale. It managed to get HTC’s much awaited (and appreciated) One series of smartphones banned from being shipped into the USA for a considerable amount of time, and Motorola Mobility didn’t escape the Cupertino company’s wrath either.
More importantly, though, Apple has been successfully undermining the company that powers the devices made by the manufacturers listed above – Google. Google has managed to come up with a hugely popular and versatile mobile operating system in Android, and its collective popularity far exceeds that of iOS globally. Apple has chosen to battle and cripple the largest Android OEM’s one at a time, instead of taking on Google head on, and it seems like it’s doing a rather good job with it as well.
However, Apple has been curiously silent about the efforts in the tablet market by its old foe – Microsoft. The Redmond giant has been silently trying to do an Apple and launch a Windows 8 tablet all by itself – one that it dubs the ‘Surface’. So far, the only opposition it has faced has been from Windows OEMs like Acer.
In the proceedings for the Samsung v Apple trial today, Boris Teksler (an Apple director who deals with the iPhone maker’s patent strategies) elaborated on the cross licensing deals that exist between Apple and Microsoft for quite some time:
“The Apple and Microsoft cross license does cover the design patents. However, we took special prohibitions from both parties so there is what I term an ‘anti-cloning’ provision… so we couldn’t copy each other’s products. There’s a clear acknowledgement that there’s no copying.”
Long story short, Microsoft cannot, in any way, ‘clone’/ imitate the UI of Apple’s iOS in its Surface tablet. This probably goes a long way in explaining how Microsoft could come up with its radical and innovative Metro interface for Windows Phone and Windows 8, while also demonstrating the sheer power that Apple wields with its patents.