T-Mobile Throws Weight Behind Samsung In IP Battle With Apple

On Sunday I covered how Verizon was siding with Samsung in their IP battle with Apple, and now it appears T-Mobile has also decided to weigh in on the issue. Today, T-Mobile filed an amicus brief opposing the Samsung Galaxy ban. From their statement:

While T-Mobile respects intellectual property rights and believes that owners of intellectual property deserve the right to present their arguments and evidence of infringement in court, a preliminary injunction is a drastic and extraordinary measure, and the courts should pay particular attention to its public consequences

T-Mobile may soon be the only major U.S. mobile carrier to not offer the iPhone, with rumors that Sprint will soon offer the top-selling device. Couple this with the fact that 90% of the smartphones T-Mobile sold in 2011 run Android and you can start to see why they too are concerned over the ban.

Cole Brodman, Chief Marketing Officer for T-Mobile USA has made it apparent that they do not know when they may carry the iPhone. From GigaOm:

“We’d love to have the iPhone whenever Apple makes that available,” he said, adding that the ball is in Apple’s court. “We are waiting for that phone call.”

I always thought a major selling point of Android was the diversity offered from multiple handset makers. But if Apple wins their case against Samsung, this could cause problems for future Android phones before they make it to market. Considering T-Mobile relies almost exclusively on the Android smartphone platform, this precedent could spell problems for them going forward.

Why Verizon Sides With Samsung Over Apple

FOSS Patents has published a great article on Verizon’s stance regarding Apple’s defense maneuvers filed against Android handset makers Samsung and HTC. From the article:

Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, implores the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to deny Apple’s request for a US-wide preliminary injunction against four Samsung products (the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G and Droid Charge smartphones, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer), arguing that such a decision would run counter to the public interest as it “would hinder Verizon Wireless in developing and deploying its next generation high-speed LTE [fourth-generation] network, the job growth dependant [sic] on that network, and will undercut key public policy goals, including expansion of American’s [sic] access to broadband networks and faster communication with emergency personnel.”

I am not sure how much good Verizon’s request will do in the legal arena, but I read it as “Verizon has bet big on LTE, and without these devices we’re screwed.” Then I came across this:

However, it remains to be seen whether the judge will believe that the market-leading carrier represents the public interest, given that Verizon’s objective of commodotizing smartphone technologies is transparent and that the same California-based federal court has in its records for another case, Oracle v. Google, a document that shows Verizon and Google promised each other unspecified favors, potentially anti-competitive ones since they did not document them in writing.

I would think that Verizon prefers Android over iOS for the simple fact that they can lock down the phones, brand them with their own logo and preload them with crapware, something not possible with the iPhone. Apple’s stance from the beginning has been that they control the hardware and software, and the phone companies are just the pipes. This view is inline with how we view terrestrial phone services and broadband internet today, but something new to the mobile space, and I am sure it makes Verizon uncomfortable.

Samsung Misusing RAND Patents Against Apple

Josh Rosenthall published an informative article on Edible Apple about Samsung using RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) patents against Apple. From the article:

Whereas the patents asserted by Apple against Samsung are completely owned by Apple and unencumbered by any outside obligations and restrictions, many of the patents asserted by Samsung involve technologies that are part of established technological standards.

Because Samsung’s patents are part of an industry standard, it must be licensed equally to parties implementing the standard without discrimination. If Apple implemented an industry standard without licensing the applicable patents from Samsung, it makes sense for Samsung to pursue a license deal from them. But using these patents to defend against Apple’s existing lawsuits is like fighting a forest fire with a water pistol; just plain confusing.

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