HTC has finally spoken out regarding the pending lawsuit Apple launched against the smartphone maker regarding its use of multi-touch as an interface navigation mechanism, and around 20 other technologies. It should surprise absolutely no one that the Taiwanese company doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the iPhone maker regarding the appropriateness of its use of the tech.
HTC CEO Peter Chou released a statement Wednesday addressing the recently filed suit directly. According to Chou, as quoted by InformationWeek, “HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself.” HTC’s stance, like that of Apple, is that it respects and values healthy competition and innovation. Of course, that shared premise leads both companies to quite different conclusions.
Chou elaborates HTC’s position further in the official statement:
HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible.
Apple is no stranger to suits from other companies, and it certainly hasn’t shied away from pursuing legal action itself in the past. A suit against Nokia along similar lines is still ongoing. HTC shouldn’t be surprised about the move, either, considering the fact that multi-touch wasn’t officially introduced as a launch feature on the Nexus One, even though the hardware supported it. It was added later by Google to the device via a software update. Sure seems like an attempt to dodge the ire of multi-touch’s proclaimed originator to me.
The Nexus One is almost certainly the catalyst for this suit, and with good reason. Despite the fact that the device itself isn’t selling anywhere near at the level of the iPhone, recent evidence suggests that the phone has raised the profile of Android, which seems to be positioning itself to make a serious bid on Apple’s smartphone market dominance. If Apple is ever to strip Google of some of that momentum, the time to do so is now.
But are the claims Apple is making valid, or is it just an attempt to strike down any and all competition before the consumer gets a chance to choose? I’m no legal expert, but it seems to me that Apple is going after some very basic concepts in its legal claims, ones without which the concept of a modern smartphone would be untenable. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, but if we’re to see cell tech progress, it has to be at the behest of the free market, and that means not unduly placing restrictions on Apple’s competitors.