Will we ever see an end to the Patent Wars?

Tim Berners-Lee at a Podcast Interview

The news that Apple and HTC have agreed to end their patent war and settle is good news for the industry (but maybe not for lawyers!). However, Samsung have said that they are not prepared to come to a similar arrangement. Now we have seen how bitter the relationship has become between Samsung and Apple in recent years and the court battles are still raging in various courts around the world. Now, to me and to many others, this all seems a great pity. Here we have two great companies known for innovation and creativity who both manage to produce some of the most desirable products known in history. However, they are spending hundreds of millions on lawyers dragging each other through the courts. That’s good money that could be better spend on research and product development.

What makes the whole thing between Apple and Samsung even more bizarre is that Samsung supplies plenty of key components in Apple’s products and presumably they must work closely on developing these products. Seems something like a crazy situation if you ask me. Why they can’t agree to cross-licence each others technologies and get on with creating something excellent and useful instead of paying lawyers is beyond me.

According to one source, the cost of these patent wars in the past two tears is $20 billion! According to the New York Times this just in the smartphone industry (mainly between Apple, Samsung and HTC). Apparently Apple and Google are now spending more on litigation over patents and in buying up companies to bolster their position in these patent wars than they are on Research & Development. Crazy!

Now I am not against patents per se but this situation can only hamper future developments and innovations. Cast your mind back to when these companies started out – if someone had slapped a huge patent infringement case on them then they may never have grown from a small start-up in a garage into great companies.  I am talking about Apple, Microsoft and HP here. All of them started off small and grew because of their founders’ innovation and creativity. All that patent wars have done is stifle innovation and creativity, make lawyers rich and one could argue that the problems the likes of  HP, IBM, Dell and Nokia have had in recent years is down to this very issue.

So what’s the solution? Maybe its time to think the unthinkable and abolish patents – yes abolish the lot of them and replace the whole caboodle with a different system. After all, if we look at open source we can see immediately that the lack of patents here has not stifled creativity and innovation, rather the very opposite. Open source produces progress much quicker and leads to greater creativity. Yes it is largely software but there is a lesson to be learned here. Think of the world wide web. Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented it and gave it away, to the world and so we owe him a great debt. he could have patented it and where would be then? Not here for sure.

If you think this is a stupid idea then check out this article. It may change your mind.

Problems with Samsung MFP

Staples (Canada)

Image via Wikipedia

Today, I bought a Samsung CLX-3715 Multi-Function printer from my local Staples store. Once I have installed the printer and its software I decided to try it out. Imagine my despair when I discovered that it wouldn’t scan or copy, only print. Whatever settings I choose, only blank sheets were the result, except when printing. So, I can get beautifully sharp prints but nothing when copying or scanning.

After searching a few forums via Google I discovered that this was not an uncommon problem. I then rang Samsung support who confirmed it was a hardware fault and that I should return it Staples. Having rang the store I have now arranged to return it to the store for a refund tomorrow.

Such a shame as it promised so much and yet failed to deliver.

Apple takes Google’s crown as world’s No.1 brand

Apple is now the No. 1 brand in the world, having overtaken Google, at least according to the annual ‘BrandZ‘ report from WPP-owned research agency Millward Brown. According to the report, Apple’s value grew by a massive 84% over the previous 12 months, whilst Google’s declined by 2%. Apple is now worth over $153 billion, whilst Google lags somewhat behind at a ‘mere’ $111.5 billion.

Interestingly, of the top ten brands, Google was the only one to decline. The next best performance in terms of growth was the number 4 brand, McDonald’s, which grew by 23% to $81 billion. The top ten brands are now worth a staggering $2.4 trillion! That’s an awful lot of iPads or double quarter pounders!

The growth in the value of these corporate behemoths shows that the world’s economy s on the up, at long last. Another interesting trend that is highlighted in the report is the growing importance of companies from China, Brazil and India. As well as being important markets for western companies, they are also producing home-grown corporations such as China Mobile, at No. 9 and worth over $57 billion, an increase of 9% over 2010.

Also, its clear that technology brands dominate, with a third of the top 100 brands being technology companies. Of the top ten, 7 are technology companies. Even non-tech companies though are increasingly dependent on technology and tech companies, with the growing importance of socia media such as Twitter and the dominance of Google. Even in China, the home-grown search engine, Baidu, which is China’s largest search engine and is worth already an impressive $22.5 billion, ranking 29.

Google Chrome Canary for Mac available

If you are a fan of Google’s Chrome Browser than you will be interested in Google latest incarnation for the Mac – Chrome Canary. It is now available from Google’s Chrome Canary download site.

Google Chrome Canary

Canary is a developer version of Google Chrome, not unlike Chromium. However, Canary comes with some extras. Windows users have had the option to download Canary, essentially an experimental build of the Chrome browser, for some time now. Now, at least, Mac users get the same access to these developer versions and the great thing about them is they don’t overwrite your existing installation of Chrome.

To get Chrome Canary for Mac, head to the download page or check out some of the other more stable releases on the Chromium Early Access Release Channels page.