Yair Reiner on Apple’s IP Threats to Rival Handset Makers

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, quoting from a report from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner on the behind-the-scenes aspects of Apple’s patent suit against HTC:

Starting in January, Apple launched a series of C-Level discussions with tier-1 handset makers to underscore its growing displeasure at seeing its iPhone-related IP [intellectual property] infringed. The lawsuit filed against HTC thus appears to be Apple’s way of putting a public, lawyered-up exclamation point on a series of blunt conversations that have been occurring behind closed doors.

Our checks also suggest that these warning shots are meaningfully disrupting the development roadmaps for would-be iPhone killers. Rival software and hardware teams are going back to the drawing board to look for work-arounds. Lawyers are redoubling efforts to gauge potential defensive and offensive responses. And strategy teams are working to chart OS strategies that are better hedged.

Reiner concludes that the effect is going to be to drive would-be Android handset makers into the arms of Microsoft and Windows Phone 7.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010