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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Apple awarded iPhone patent

iPhone patent 2[Originally posted Jan. 27, 2009 on]

Tim Cook must have known.

One day before Apple's acting CEO told Wall Street analysts that his company would not stand for having its intellectual property "ripped off" -- a remark clearly aimed at certain iPhone-like features of the Palm Pre -- the U.S. Patent Office awarded Apple Patent No. No. 7479949.

This 358-page document, originally filed on Sept. 5, 2007, is the mother of all iPhone patents. Signed by 21 Apple (AAPL) employees -- starting with Jobs, Steven P. and Forestall, Scott -- it covers everything from the way a finger or fingers touch the screen to the heuristics that turn those touches into commands.
Other smartphones introduced since the iPhone came out have avoided using the multi-touch technology covered by this patent. The Palm Pre may have crossed the line. See Apple vs. Palm: Geeks with grudges.

IBM settles; Papermaster to join Apple in April

IBM court papers[Originally posted Jan. 27, 2009 on]

In the end, they split it down the middle.

On Tuesday, International Business Machines (IBM) announced that it has resolved the lawsuit against a newly appointed senior vice president at Apple Inc. (AAPL) that was, for a brief moment last November, the hottest story in technology -- a bi-coastal drama that pitted one of the world’s largest and most established computer companies against one of the brashest.

The case involved Steve Jobs' decision to hire Mark Papermaster, a 25-year IBM veteran, to replace Tony Fadell as head of the iPod/iPhone division. (Fadell, once considered a rising star in Cupertino, was said to be stepping down to devote more time to his family, according to Apple's press release.)

IBM complained loudly and litigiously, arguing in a 10-page complaint filed last October that Papermaster was "in the possession of significant and highly-confidential IBM trade secrets and know-how" -- secrets he was now in a position to deliver to a major competitor. The case rested on a noncompete agreement that Papermaster signed in 2006.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Steve Jobs, chained to a rock

[Originally posted January 18, 2009 on]

He was a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave to mankind the tool that allowed mortals to rise above the beasts. For his sins, Jupiter had him chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus. Every day a vulture feasted on his liver, which grew back overnight.

Steve Jobs, who announced on Wednesday that he is taking a medical leave to focus on his health, must feel something like poor Prometheus, chained to his rock in the hills above Palo Alto. The vultures this week are an ever-expanding team of reporters from Bloomberg News -- and whoever is feeding them medical updates.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The last time Tim Cook ran Apple

Cook and Jobs[Originally posted Jan. 15, 2009 on]

Apple (AAPL) shares dropped 7.56% to $78.88 in after-hours trading in New York on news Wednesday that COO Tim Cook was taking over day-to-day operations -- a $6.7 billion hit on Apple's market capitalization.
This is not the first time Cook has stepped in while Steve Jobs dealt with a serious medical condition.

Cook ran the shop for a month in 2004 while Jobs recovered from surgery that removed a malignant tumor from his pancreas (see here). The stock fell then too -- down 2.3% on Aug. 2, 2004, the day after Apple announced the news -- a loss that widened to nearly 8% by week's end.

But by Sept. 1, 2004 the stock had not only recovered, but gained 10.9% on its July 30 price -- closing at what now seems an impossibly low $35.86.

Some of that bump may be attributed to investor relief that Jobs was due back at the helm. But whether or not Jobs returns from his latest medical leave, the fact is that Tim Cook has been running day-to-day operations at Apple for some time, as Adam Lashinsky's long profile in Fortune makes clear. (See The genius behind Steve.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan. 1984: How critics reviewed the Mac

Original Mac[Originally posted Jan. 12, 2009 on]

Anticipating the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh -- unveiled by Apple (AAPL) in a Super Bowl ad on Jan. 22, 1984 -- AAPLinvestors has assembled some choice quotes from the first wave of critical reviews.

Below, a sample from their collection, to which we've added a few of our own (from Owen W. Linzmayer's Apple Confidential 2.0).
Byte, Gregg Williams, February 1984
The Macintosh brings us one step closer to the ideal of computer as appliance.
Creative Computing, John Anderson, July 1984
In its current form, the Macintosh is the distilled embodiment of a promise: the software can be intuitively easy to use, while remaining just as powerful as anything else around. It is now time to lay out the “bads”:
• The Macintosh does not have enough RAM.
• Single microfloppy is slow and inadequate.
• There are no internal expansion slots or external expansion buses.
• MacWrite has some severe limitations.
• The system is monochrome only.
• MS-DOS compatibility is ruled out.
• The Macintosh will not multitask.
• You can’t use a Mac away from a desk.
• MacPaint has an easel size limitation.
• Forget about external video.
• Macintosh software development is an involved process.
Bill Gates
Anybody who could write a good application on a 128K Mac deserves a medal.
InfoWorld, Thomas Neudecker, 26 March 1984
We think Apple has at least one thing right -- the Macintosh is the one machine with the potential to challenge IBM’s hold on the market
The Seybold Report, Jonathan and Andrew Seybold
Apple also got some important things wrong. Our biggest worry is that Mac may be under-configured... But the dumbest thing Apple did with the whole development effort was to allow two different operating systems for Mac and Lisa.
San Francisco Examiner, John C. Dvorak, 19 Feb. 1984
 The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a "mouse." There is no evidence that people want to use these things. 
David Bunnell, Macworld, from The Macintosh Reader
Borland founder Philippe Kahn was half right in January 1985 when he called the early Macintosh a "piece of s___." It was underpowered, had very little software, no hard drive, no compelling applications like desktop publishing, and was marketed by a company that seemed to be near death. I can't help but be amused by all the pumped-up bravado I hear and read about the people who created the Macintosh. To hold up the Macintosh experience as an example of how to create a great product, launch an industry, or spark a revolution is a cruel joke.
Click here to see APPLinvestor's full collection.

Below the fold: That 1984 Super Bowl commercial with the "Big Brother" theme.

See also: