German iOS users finally have their push email back, Apple confirmed in a support note on Tuesday. This follows a lengthy pause in such functionality, brought about by a Motorola patent victory over Apple in a German court.
Push email involves the “pushing” of email from the server to the client device, so that it shows up fairly instantly – the alternative is “pulling” email from the email provider’s servers, which involves either checking for email manually or setting the mail client to pull email at specified intervals (the shorter the interval, the greater the battery-suck).
Push is a standard feature of Apple’s email services around the world, but the situation has been different in Germany over the last year and a half. That’s because, in February 2012, a German court found Apple’s push email technology infringed on a patent held by Google subsidiary Motorola. The court granted Motorola an injunction (which it chose to enforce) and the decision was upheld a couple months later.
Apple is still appealing the decision and, at the end of August, it won an interim decision allowing it to resume services as normal. As PC World pointed out on Wednesday, Apple had to pay a hefty €100 million ($135 million) bond, given the interim nature of the ruling.
As a result, on Tuesday it could tell its iOS users: “Push email service available for iCloud, Yahoo!, AOL, QQ, and NetEase users located within the borders of Germany.”
It’s worth bearing in mind that all this is separate from the German case in which Motorola attacked Apple using standards-essential patents. That case attracted the attention of Europe’s antitrust regulators, who said on Tuesday that their investigation was at an advanced stage.