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Patent dominance could open TV door to Apple

By PETER WHITE

Published: 31 August, 2012

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Apple winning a jury trial in California, is not a verdict that is going to be copied around the world. Almost certainly an appeal judge will see things very differently, and Apple's gesture patents, which were not challenged, will be up for invalidity hearings as part of any long term appeal.

But as the Judge calls for evidence as to why she should place a ban on Samsung products, we have to worry more than a little that if Apple appears to have won rights to curved corners and tablet shapes, as well as obvious gesture commands, how anyone can bring a tablet to market safely.

We have already seen what effect selling 55 million iPads has done both to Hollywood and viewing habits. Hollywood said that no HD programming should go to a Tablet without hardware protection and immediately changed its mind when it became obvious that the iPad is a new type of TV. People now watch tons of TV on Tablets, while also using it as a second screen. If Apple takes an even larger market share of tablets, then Apple has way too much power in the content market.

Apple has been rebuffed time and time again by studios saying it cannot have its own TV Channels to put onto iPads and Apple TV, which will compete with pay TV. If the iPad becomes too strong, eventually studios will break rank and cut deals directly with Apple. Then bang goes the entire TV industry - cablecos, DTH players and Telcos - and all that anyone would buy from these guys would be broadband - oh and iOS devices.

Which is perhaps why Comcast and DirectTV and co should not be backing Apple's bid right now for an injunction against Samsung, and should speak out and lobby against it.

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