Why Apple Won't Sue Microsoft Over Surface

The latest revelation from the never-ending Apple vs. Samsung patent spat: Apple offered to licence the contentious patents to Samsung and they declined, but Microsoft was offered the same deal -- and took it.

There are, however, a few caveats to the cross-licensing deal between Apple and Microsoft. First, there's an agreement between the two companies that neither will make what is described as a "clone product." The deal apparently lays out some specific rules dictating exactly what a "clone product" is. Second, there are some things that Apple isn't willing to share, described by Apple's director of patent licensing and strategy Boris Teksler as "untouchables." What they are exactly is anyone's guess, but it seems likely the were UI related.

Presumably, because of the cross-licensing deal between Apple and Microsoft, the Surface should be able to launch without running into the same kind of problems Samsung is up against, especially since the Windows 8 interface is so radically different from iOS. Of course, if Samsung manages to win, they didn't need that offered deal anyway. [CNET via SlashGear]


    apple do not own the tablet. what is wrong with this world?

      No, but they do own patents for technologies and designs that Samsung ignored. What you think ethically/personally about said patents is irrelevant.

        Completely disagree. Personal opinion will always have the final say (unless robots only exist).

        Civilisations have risen and fallen from the foundry of personal opinion and ideals, any the same too with companies, government, etc. All it takes is enough people to be outraged to the point where they change their behavior. Once this happens, the legality or not of anything becomes irrelevant.

        If you were capable of independent thought (i.e., not an Apple user), you would know and understand this.

          What are you going on about??

          Nobody is about to get outraged to the point where they change their behaviour of a patent dispute on a tablet device!!

          Honestly, the arm chair lawyers and philosophers that pollute the comments sections of blogs like Gizmodo just make me laugh. Full of their own self-importance.

          This issue will be decided in the courts and I'm confident your opinion (or any other member of the public) will have absolutely no bearing on the outcome.

          Seriously, nobody that matters cares about anything about your opinion and if YOU were capable of independent thought you would know and understand this.

            Just because the mob adopt a stupid idea doesn't mean the idea stops being stupid.

            The right to privacy is a Human Right and if you think than to violate it is ok, then you personal opinion becomes irrelevant. Sure you can have personal opinions about societal issues and if enough people believe it you can get laws changed. But when your opinion is the opposite of the foundations of current civilization, for example it goes against those included in the U.N.Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which includes the right to privacy)... your personal opinion is irrelevant.

            Please stop being a hippy.

          Go move to china and see how great it is when you can't even be sure if you're buying a legit product. Or create a piece of software or a game or a product. -- and then tell me how it feels when somebody steals al l of your ideas, and then is able to undercut you because they don't have to spend money doing research and development. Do you think the iOS UI just grew on a tree or was a first draft? They spent a LOT of time and money perfecting it. Same with the design aesthetic and branding and everything else.

          Obviously, you feel entitled to have anything you want for free and work in a job where you don't have to create anything -- but the law on patent and copyright exists to protect inventors and creators and investors and people who work to bring new ideas into the market.

          Sorry you miss the underlying policy and economic and ethical undercurrents. That doesn't mean theryre not there.

            yeah so much R&D went into designing a rectangle shaped touchscreen with a touch based desktop OS home screen "interface"

            Try watching this series: http://www.allremix.ru/watch-the-series/

            Everything we've ever made was made by building upon what other people did, taking good ideas and running with it.
            Imagine if someone patented a genre of music or art or the First Person Shooter. Form is something that everyone should be able to mimic and build upon, it's only specific implementations that people can own.
            Stealing specific code is bad, stealing an idea is important.

            The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal. - Picasso

            My point. You missed it.

            Although what you say is true, my point is that when it comes down to it, the people as a whole will decide the fate of everything, right from what tinned food is popular right up to the style of government they want, or the products that they buy - irrespective of who makes them.

            I'm not sure where you got this from: "Obviously, you feel entitled to have anything you want for free and work in a job where you don’t have to create anything" but you can see this manifest itself with the rise of piracy - people are starting to dictate a new business model where by they want what they want, when they want it (and are prepared to pay nothing to a small amount for it (Netflix etc)). This only proves my point that, regardless of what YOU believe as a person, or what the LAW might say, when the people get together and form a common agreement, then things will change.

          wsDK_II either you're arguing for the sake of arguing or you realy are brainless. Personal opinion is relative and subjective. That's why there are laws in place so that objective decisions/rulings can be made without the inevitable chaos that would ensue if basing decisions on people's opinions.

          If you were capable of any thought at all, you would agree.

            Please ensure that you understand my comment before you retort - as your replies reek of self satisfaction in attempting to prove me wrong, and nothing else.

            Either you agree with what i am saying - that the majority of the people are the ultimate deciders in what happens, or you don't. Personal attacks etc are not necessary, and only detract from what little you may have to say about this topic.

            Now if we were having a flame war about Apple vs. Microsoft, then that would be different, and i would love to get stuck into you. But its not.

              "...i would love to get stuck in... you..."

              Not interested, but thanks.


                more trolling or cant read?

                  I can't read.

              What a load of irrelevant nonsense. How does the movement of history over 100's of years relate to a patent claim by Apple against Samsung? That's right, it doesn't.

              And with you trotting out lines like "...If you were capable of independent thought (i.e., not an Apple user), you would know and understand this..." you shouldn't be accusing ANYONE of self-satisfaction.

              Not only is your assessment "...the majority of the people are the ultimate deciders in what happens..." irrelevant, it is wrong. Democracy is largely an anomaly in the history of human-kind.

              Now ignorance doesn't generally upset me. But ignorance combined with arrogance is the sign of a true fool.

      Oh but they do. Judge Lucy Koh seems to agree, or just cant be stuffed deciding.

    means an inflated price to offset the license... :(

    it's a completely different product though... especially the win8 version, which is more a pc than a tablet...
    it has inbuilt peripherals, better everything, and a stand... how is it remotely similar to the iPad? :S

    if Samsung wins, i wonder how long this contract with Apple will last :S

      Or, you could buy a product which uses an alternate set of technologies and aesthetics. They exist. You just don't want them. You want the Cupertino product and design and tech and "feel" -- but you don't want to pay for it. Sorry, I'm not sympathetic. Apple deserves to have its ip protected. If it were free to download over BitTorrent, you'd just take it for free and they'd never recoup costs. Sorry.

        You do realise the Surface will probably cost more than iOS? Maybe they don't want the cupertino product and design at all, so want to buy a high quality product from the competition.

        The idea of owning an aesthetic is laughable.

        No. This has nothing to do with "paying for it". People are paying for some Samsung products (such as the S3) a lot more than what an iPhone would cost them. These products are very different.

        As to the " Cupertino design", this is the first time I see a design patent that is granted for a generic shape devoid of any ornamentation. It is like having a design patent for flat screen TVs. Could they hold up in court? Sure they could. These things are so subjective, it is hard to predict. Samsung would have to change by adding some extra aesthetics and repeat for another round in court.

        The functional patents are another story. There is no way they will stand regardless of how much Apple can get the judge to rule in their favor. There is just too much prior art.

        Hahaha that was the most retarded comment ever! Congratulations you Apple tard!

          A true sign of intelligence, calling people retards. Your presence creates a vacuum in the time space continuum, and if your skull wasn't pressurised with shit for brains, your head would just implode.

      Not a hope in hell samsung will walk away from this trial winning anything. Not even their credibility. They stole, they got caught out, they'll lose. Microsoft at least have some respect for its partnerships. The license with Apple is not an opt in, opt out arrangement. One only thanks god that people like you don't make business decisions.

    Microsoft are a bunch of arses for this, they should of declined instead of setting a precedent their partners will now have to follow. OEM's are having enough issues offering good products for competetive prices without having to licence the "tablet" from Apple.

      Why? If, as the article infers, the patents are about UI, then MS will be paying royalties for Windows, not specifically for Surface, so they'll be passing the costs on to their partners, although the royalties they get from Android no doubt offset whatever it is they are paying Apple.

        Well no, neither article says that it's about UI at all, but just having read the Cnet article I have to say this is one of the poorest articles I have seen on Gizmodo. Microsoft was not "offered the same deal as samsung and took it". The Cnet article states it was all covered under Microsoft and Apples existing cross licencing deal.

          Except this bit "... it seems likely the were UI related", referring to Apple's "untouchables". Although re-reading it, it seems those might be things Apple are unwilling to license to anyone.

      You really think Apple sold Microsoft a license for 'the tablet'? Grow a brain.

        Have YOU been following the Apple vs Samsung litigation at all?!? They are suing for both hardware and software similarities ('infringements'), so, yes, they are trying to license "the tablet" (and "the phone", and "the notebook", etc etc ad infinitum for anything with an Apple logo plastered on it).

          "yes, they are trying to license “the tablet” (and “the phone”, and “the notebook”, etc"

          They're not suing them because they made a tablet. They're suing because of similarities to THEIR tablet. They're trying to license "the phone"...??? So they're suing anyone for making a phone or a notebook are they? Now fly away Raven. Your bird brain is no longer required here.

            This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

        Mac, we come to this website for news and views on technology. Many of us are adults. Please, when you post on Gizmodo, could you behave as such? No need for personal attacks. If you want to argue a point, fine. Just argue the point.

    Yeah, but when Microsoft own so much of the market in all other aspects of the IT world anyway, I really don't think they care too much for a few $$ here and there to shut the spoilt brat Apple up and stop them from throwing their toys out of their cot in a tanty. I'd rather Microsoft avoid all the courtroom bullsh** as well, doesn't help anyone.

      Yes. Protecting your parents and ip is a "tanty."(eye roll)

      ITT -- entitled kids whine about not getting free tech and moan that innovators ghetto recover their R&D budgets.

        do you even know what patents apple is throwing around? look into that before you cry "R&D"

          Just because you own a patent, doesn't mean you spent millions in R&D or that you should have the right to a particular, basic, aesthetic. Besides, ever heard of a patent troll?

            Sorry - reply was intended for 9000 (just in case that wasn't obvious - like his/her fanboyism ;)

              FYI, Apple spend billions on R&D. They develop their ideas into products. Patent trolls don't make up ideas, they just buy the patent rights and shelve them waiting for someone to infringe. Apple patent their own ideas and developments them. Apple have never sued anyone for a patent that wasn't apart of a REAL product. Just because you don't like Apple doesn't mean they can't protect their product line patents and licenses. Ever heard of an internet troll?

    Gaining a patent for something that looks like something that has been used many times in the past is outrages and.. still to this very day do not undersand how Apple and other companies have been able to own designs, let along how they are succesfully enforcing these patents as well.

    Prior Use should be used and if it does then M$ will bet almost all patents held by Apple because they were doing most long before Apple..... not to mention Nokia as well and other companies too but those two come to mind very quickly

    Glad to see Microsoft are doing the right thing by licensing intellectual property.
    I'm getting tired of infringement lawsuits.

      But licensing and paying what can only be a lot for something that is flat and has round corners is over the top indeed. M$ were doing tablets long before Apple, their OEM Partners were doing this with round corners as well. It's good that M$ are thinking ahead but for design looks?

        Moses invented the tablet

      Your comment is bad and you should feel bad.

      Microsoft are not 'licensing intellectual property', they are avoiding a law suit.

      Apple may have enough money to do and say what they want, but they didn't invent the iPad.

      Time to start thinking for yourself maybe?

        Firstly... "Your comment is bad and you should feel bad"... get a new joke. Or a new personality.

        Secondly, Microsoft have a great relationship with Apple. They're not scared of getting sued, they're doing the correct thing by ensuring they don't step on Apple's toes when bringing out a tablet to compete directly with the iPad. Microsoft may have made a tablet years ago but it was trash. Apple made a successful one. Now everyone is copying them. It's only fair that they should be careful about copying them too closely. Whether Apple is a little too sensitive or not is what is up for debate. But why should they feel sorry for Samsung? Why not sue if they can?

        Time to start thinking for yourself mate. Apple haters are the most blind people of all. You don't see Apple users going around trashing other brands. Apple are incredibly successful for a reason. If you can't see why, you're probably the stupid one. And don't quote some crap about their marketing. Marketing may attract the crowds, but the product brings them back for seconds.

          I thought your comment was serious until this: "You don’t see Apple users going around trashing other brands"

          Now i know your trolling :)

          And since you are trolling, that means you must like my jokes.

          So thanks! :)

            Yeah I thought your comments were worth reading until I read one.

        WHAT, "but they didn’t invent the iPad" ????? REALLY?? Can you show me who invented the iPad then, I'd really like to know?

        Haters are the biggest idiots. Honestly.

      Licencing this utter rubbish will give Apple precedent to sue everyone else.

        Where'd you go to law school? Because you should ask them for your money back. Hell -- I'll represent you for mate's rates.

    Apple should be paying Microsoft license fees if anything, given Microsoft made tablets long before Apple did.

      But did M$ license the patents for the POS they called a tablet by the way? No, they didn't because they were rubbish and never saw the light of day. You can't license vapour wear. Can you show me one of these "tablets" M$ made so I can buy one?

    Here is a good question for anyone and everyone:
    Does the licenses that M$ are paying extend to their OEM Hardware/Software Partners? Meaning they are protected from Apple's sexy fingers? (sexy fingers = They [email protected]#$% UP everything they touch)

      Correct term = passion fingers

    There's only so many ways to make an interactive rectangular square....

    I thought MS and Apple had a deal in place whereby they would not sue one another anyway? Given that they seem to mostly get on, I'd be surprised if they weren't offered a substantially better deal than anything offered to Samsung. i.e. The "same deal" might really mean a deal on the same patents but with vastly different conditions. If that is the case, then it is quite reasonable that one party might accept a deal and another reject theirs.

      They get on because many years ago, when Apple was on the verge of collapse (after they'd kicked out Jobs for a while) Microsoft bailed them out by buying a huge chunk of non-voting stock. Not because they felt sorry for Apple, but because without Apple, they'd be up on "monopoly" charges, which the US govt doesn't like i.e. having one company controlling a particular market (Which is why AT&T, I think it was, had to break up into multiple companies). So Apple owes them, so to speak...

        Better the devil you know. For both sides.

    Of course, those two photos at the head of the article tell the whole story - Surface and iPad are two very different takes on the same form factor. For a start, I'm pretty sure Windows 8 won't work in portrait mode, although I'm sure plenty of apps will, so just the way Ballmer and Jobs are holding their respective products shows a fundamental point of difference. Beyond that, aspect ratios are quite different and the materials/colours make them easily distinguishable. 16:9 aspect ratio just looks so much more modern than 4:3.

      I've seen plenty of video's with Windows 8 Start Screen transitioning from landscape to portrait. Definitely going to be a part of Windows 8.

        OK, I've not bothered watching any videos as I have the damned thing in front of me every day. But even if it will work in portrait mode, it is clearly designed for landscape.

      Yes, the UI makes them pretty distignuishable. Besides the fact that one has an apple-shaped logo and the word "Apple" stuck on it, and the other has a (well, kinda-) windows-shaped logo and the word "Windows" stuck on it. Oh, look-it, just like the Samsung one had "Samsung" written right there on the FRONT! I mean, seriously, how can anyone really get these things confused?
      (also, the some other things you point out that distinguish the Windows tab from an iPad - UI and aspect ratio) are just the same differences between Samsung's tab and the iPad... Where's the equity in arguments?

    Does MS not own a large portion of Apple still?

      No. They divested themselves of it years ago. IIRC, it was something like $128million in non-voting stock. Imagine what that might be worth now if it was enough to keep Apple from going under in the 90s?

        Enough to buy them whole?

    The iPhone alone makes more profit than the entire Microsoft Corporation. Just a bit of trivia for you

    I wonder whether Samsung even cares if it wins or loses.

    Firstly it can afford to lose which would of course be the worse case scenario but what would they get for the cost.

    -They have probably learnt more from there competitor through this law suit both in terms of technology and business practices that they could have gotten via any other means.
    -The Apple brand has been tarnished as they are no longer the good guys, Samsung was never in that position so the law suit has probably done nothing bad to the brand.
    -The law suit lays down a hell of lot of precidents that sets boundaries for copyright, trademark and patent law that most likely didn't already exist which could have bite Apple in the arse is years to come if they want to diversify their product ofering (i.e The mystical Apple TV)
    -Also Korean nusiness practices do allow for deliberate failures for the purpose of greater understanding, probably more prevalent in Japanese Business practices but the Koreans allow for it as well.

    Even though I'm locked into the Apple Infrastructuce and will probably do so for some time to come I still think that Samsung is playing a very clever game

      Theyre playing with fire though. The biggest loss that Samsung can get from this is when Apple decides/can afford to take their business elsewhere. Until then theyll just keep on trading punches.
      Its not a bad deal for samsung - since even if they are barred from the smartphone/tablet market - worst case scenario - most of the big component pieces of the iOS and other touch devices are made by them anyways? If they win - they can carve up a decent niche into the market.

      Though honestly - i would sooner have samsung line perish and have the other Android devs flourish. Google-Samsung's Nexus and HTC to be exact. The Samsung lineup just sets a bad example for the whole Android ecosystem. Android is already awesome by itself - and will continue to improve as google innovates the heck out of it. Blatant copying here and there is just a cheapshot even though its legal to some extent and seems like an obvious choice.

    Golly, I hope you all realise that if patent holders can successfully sue with impunity then a hell of a lot of more of your hard earned is going to be added to the products you buy.
    Companies buy and sell patents - they are commodities now. The existence of patent trolls highlights this.
    I am angry the new patent system exists - thank you America.
    You guys are paying lawyers and the whole patent commerce system. The figure for the Apple patents was about $30 per unit. Now start adding dollars for the patents the trolls will want.
    Go back to the original reasons and procedures for patenting and its protection by law. Then we will all win.

      And i hope you realise at this point in time - suing the heck out of each other is just common business practice. Massive amounts of bloodletting between partners (yes partners) and competitors alike. I dont think its personal...its just business. Or are you suggesting that patent holders just take it in the -place-where-the-sun-doesnt-shine ? Theyre a financially motivated entity - refusing to not play the game will not grant them immunity to it, in fact they are beholden to the shareholders to use every means necessary (sometimes, barely legal?) to ensure their ROI. If anything - blame capitalism. And to throw in an old paradigm - blame the game, not the player.

      Sucks. But thats the cards that we and they have been dealt with.

    Refusing to play the game* (blah!)

    MS own a crap load of tablet patents. No doubt it's a contra deal with little cash changing hands.

    Oh and my guess is it's in place to protect 3rd party vendors.

    What if the fee that MS pays to Apple is actually nominal? That is, the point of licensing is to add weight to the bogus argument that Apple invented something completely novel. If they can help damage Google then both MS and Apple win.

    I don't understand. Microsoft had a tablet series years and years ago, when Apple was just surviving. Yes it was crappy, but it was a tablet. So to all those who thing Apple is GOD, get your heads out and do some research on past technologies. As a matter of fact your iOS looks exactly like the Nintendo Wii.

      Yeah, Apple were just surviving years ago only selling the number one mp3 player world wide and making a superior computer OS and developing a new phone, how about M$? So how did that series of tablets work for M$ again?

    Considering Samsung supply large quantities of components to apple, I doubt a loss will be a loss. I think any new apple products will be a little dearer if they do.

    KrOO - Dont forget that Microsoft bailed out Apple from becoming bankrupt, do a bit more reserach.

    KrOO - Superior OS? really check out some stats. You either want a workhorse OS or a Showpony OS, you obviously like Ponies and donkey's.

Join the discussion!