Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile at search giant Google Inc., said in Taiwan Wednesday that the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC's) latest ruling on a patent dispute between U.S. consumer electronics titan Apple Inc. and Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC Corp. could mark the beginning of settling patent battles in the high-tech arena.
Rubin's whirlwind visit to HTC headquarters in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan a day after the ITC announced its final ruling on the case was seen in the local technology sector as a gesture of goodwill toward HTC, one of Google's most important partners in the Android world.
Rubin, a technology pioneer who oversees development of Android, an open-source operating system for smartphones, met local journalists at a news conference at HTC headquarters hosted by HTC CEO Peter Chou.
The following are excerpts from the local media coverage of Rubin and Chou's remarks at the news conference:
United Evening News:
Rubin came to Taiwan for a less-than-24-hour stay shortly after the ITC ruled on Dec. 19 that HTC, the world's No. 4 smartphone maker had infringed on only one of Apple's four patents related to portable electronic devices.
The decision was generally seen as a win for HTC because the patent involved in the infringement is related to a feature that is rarely used by consumers. HTC officials said Tuesday that it is quite easy to get rid of the feature without sacrificing the mainstream user experience.
Speaking at Wednesday's news conference, Rubin said he entered the mobile phone industry in 1990. In the early stage, cellular phones only offer sound, he recalled. But cellphones have since gone far beyond that, he added.
Along the way, Rubin said, some arrogant players came into the industry with guns blazing, referring to frequent patent battles in the sector.
In the wake of the ITC's Dec. 19 ruling, Rubin said he has become more optimistic. The judgment could be "a way to settle this situation."
"The ITC is a quick path for settling these disputes. I think this is the beginning of settling," Rubin noted.
Some market analysts shared his view, saying that the latest ITC ruling may signal the start of an era of "patent peace."
At the news conference, Rubin said he took pride in Android's open-source operating system, saying openness has contributed to the platform's rapid growth.
Rubin revealed a figure that has not been published before. Some 90 days ago, he said, about 550,000 Android devices were activated a day. The count has grown to 750,000 activations by now, he added.
According to a survey by market research firm NPD Group, Android controls a dominating 53 percent share of the U.S. smartphone market this year, far higher than Apple's 29 percent and RIM's 11 percent.
According to Rubin, HTC ranks among the top five smartphone makers using Android operating system. HTC is a very important partner of Google Android, he added. (Dec. 21, 2011).
(By Sofia Wu)