I think, it's not out of character per se, but Apple will be very threatened by the rise of Android. Android now leads the market (afaik), which was Apples position for years.
Now, they only have two options in the current system:
- change strategy
Obivously, a huge company like Apple won't just change its strategy. Just building the fancy products they do got them at this point but may not get them much further.
To sue is (sadly) the only other way to hold off competition.
What that change in strategy may be, i don't know. Maybe more openness and try to break out of the walled garden they build..
There is only little space left in the niche that Apple occupies (selling expensive tech products to people that can afford it), especially when there is so much competition in the whole market. Apple had a major advantage for years in the market with the iPod and iPhone and i will be really impressed if they can think of the next big thing(tm).
If Apple can't come up with the next big product and just keeps going, they may only be able to sue to hold off competition.
That's only talking about the mobile market of course.
I'm hoping for months now that all major companies just sue each other into checkmate until it becomes obvious to the governments that the patent system has to change.
Please Apple, MS, Google, etc. sue until you are not allowed to sell any products anymore! I very much look forward to it.
I believe Android leads only in a pure device count kind of way. Apple leads (far and away) in terms of profit per device, and that is the interesting metric for all large corporations. Google's Android play has always seemed defensive to avoid getting locked out of search if usage patterns on mobile shifted to non-web based interactions. Google does NOT want Apple, Microsoft or anyone else stepping between them and their users, especially since they make money with ad targeting/serving. As for Apple selling luxury toys to the well heeled, I recall reading recently that tablet manufacturers have all but admitted they can't price compete with the iPad. If Apple starts lowering prices to move down market, with their impressive vertical integration, I think it would be a blood bath for people currently in those spaces. I suspect we will see moves like this before the year is out. Not a good time to be Dell, Asus, etc...
They have a position they feel is worth defending. I don't see this move (and to be clear, it is a distasteful move) as anything other than piling obstacles in the way of current or potential competitors. It is easier to prevent a competitor from rising up than it is to combat one that already has a foothold. I doubt this is a significant part of any strategy on their part other than "throw molotov cocktails all around to keep competitors busy/distracted". I would like companies to compete on merit and win by, you know, convincing consumers their offering is the best. Current corporate culture seems to view that kind of outlook as quaint or naive and prefers this kind of ass-hattery. I continue to hope for an eventual attainment of more sophisticated outlooks. The fact that such retarded, petty shit continues thousands of years into organized society is discouraging.
"Apples (sic) position for years?" Apple has NEVER held the market lead in smartphones. They've been a minority of the market since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.
And your description of the "niche that Apple occupies" in nonsensical.
Yes, Apple has had a major advantage for years; the iPod was very well designed, as was the iPhone. And funny enough, you should be impressed because they've already thought "of the next big thing(tm)." It's called the iPad. You might have seen one here and there.
If you seriously think that Apple is successful because it builds fancy products, that their walled garden is anything but a success, and that there is "only little space left in the niche" for Apple to grow in, you haven't been paying attention.
That's your point of view.
You may not have paid attention to the competition growth over the last years. Where is your reasoning that Apple will dominate the tablet space for the coming years? Do you seriously believe, that what happened in the mobile space, won't happen in the tablet space? Then you're just ignorant. And Apple knows that. Apple is arming itself and will defend itself in the court. That was my reasoning in my original post.
No, it's not my point of view, it's a fact. Apple has never held the majority of smartphone market share.
And my reasoning that Apple will dominate the tablet space is because they have sold arguably the best tablet in numbers that dwarf any other vendor, or all other vendors combined. With the iOS ecosystem supporting it, the chances of another vendor usurping the iPad's lead in the next five years is unlikely.
And what has happened in the mobile space? Apple introduces a smartphone with the goal of 10% of the market. They have had year over year growth in that market, and now are in the mid 30's of share percentage. They dominate the smartphone market when it comes to extracting profit, and have one singular competitor, Samsung, who is beating them in "shipped" units.
If Apple were so unfortunate to have the tablet market follow what it has done in the smartphone market, there will be a lot of happy Apple shareholders in the future.
"Moderate" is always relative to standard industry practice. If patent trolling isn't standard industry practice quite yet, it's fast getting there. "Don't be evil" is a lot harder when evil is the norm.