Confusing? A touch if you haven’t been following the patent wars in the mobile device market over the last couple years.
Apple and Google have been going toe-to-toe over similarities between iPhones and phones running Android. Those are the two key players, but the supporting cast includes Samsung, Motorola, HTC and others (using Android).
According to the Guardian newspaper, Apple and HTC have put their differences aside (sort of) and come to an agreement. “Industry sources suggested that HTC may have agreed to pay Apple between $5 and $20 per handset that it produces with Google’s Android operating system,” wrote the Guardian.
For that sum, HTC gets to use Apple patents on their handhelds for 10 years under a licensing agreement.
Enders Analysis analyst Benedict Evans told the Guardian that the agreement could be the beginnings of the end in the patent wars over mobile devices (hope against hope).
We’ll see, but he’s not the only one who thinks there’s a chance. Carl Howe of the Yankee Research group wrote on Twitter that he’s seeing a softer side of Apple under Tim Cook as opposed to Steve Jobs, according to the Guardian. In 2010, Jobs (by contrast) threatened to “destroy” Android “after HTC introduced a handset which he thought used patented Apple methods for zooming into text.”
Of course, it could also be that HTC’s phones don’t look all that much like iPhone’s, as opposed to some Android’s that bear a closer resemblance, such as Samsung’s (Apple’s biggest threat and biggest opponent in court at the moment).