Carlos also has prior experience as a senior engineering manager at Adobe/Macromedia, where he was responsible for overseeing the development of FlashLite 3.0 and bringing Flash to mobile devices.
As usual, an avalanche of e-mails, Twitter DM’s, and Facebook messages have prodded me to write about who I thought deserved to win in the Tech Trial of the Century (thus far!). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the Apple vs. Samsung patent dispute case, whose verdict was handed down this past Friday.
So, who won? Apple did and Samsung’s fine — before Judge Koh adds additional “willful” damages — came to about $1.05 billion. And yes, the jury did find evidence of willful infringement by Samsung on Apple’s patents.
I will pause for a minute and let you all know (especially those of you who don’t know me well) that I have been an Apple user since 1983. My first computer was an Apple IIe. My second computer was a Mac 128K. The rest, you can probably guess…
I have been programming in both camps — Apple and Microsoft — professionally since 1992. The first cross-platform product I worked on was called Deneba Canvas. It was feature-by-feature parity on both Windows 3.1 and Finder 7. You are reading that right, Windows 3.1 and Finder 7.x. Mind blowing.
So, my world as a professional developer has always been writing cross-platform ‘apps’ and before I embarked on my own entrepreneurship endeavors, my software highlight culminated with Adobe Illustrator, Flash authoring tools, and FlashLite for mobile devices.
Of course, I’m sure you don’t give a hoot about my background, and want me to get to to the point already!
What has been interesting to see under all the blogposts (along with all the “fanboyism”) is how just about every post has a comment on how the “patent system needs to be reviewed,” which makes all hell break lose in the comments section about said patent system. Then, the fanboys hit their stride and it becomes a war of words and insults and everything else that you can think of — “overpriced,” “a sad day for XYZ” etc.
But here, Apple won.
There is no going back. Even if Samsung wins the appeal, it’s a clear, decisive victory for Apple.
But this is more than the jurors agreeing to the violation of patents, it was also about the “look and feel” patents — design patents, as they’re commonly known.
Back in the mid-2000′s, I was working with Nokia and Symbian and bunch of other device manufacturers from Asia and Europe (Flash Mobile Authoring and FlashLite 3.0). Writing mobile back then was as painful as having your molar extracted without any Novocaine. Seriously. It was an aberration of the senses and all rational practicality.
Then, in 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone and development for the iPhone was what we were used to as developers of desktop apps. Build > Sync > OnYourPhone. There. Bam. Done. Debug, not a problem. Profiler, not a problem. etc. (well, it was later than 2007 when Apple introduced the SDK but you know what I mean).
On the other hand, Nokia’s C++ was outrageously expensive. Also, it was not a Build > Sync > OnYourPhone — nowhere near that easy.
Apple made development simple. And because of Apple and what they did to the mobile industry, I was able to found my “mobile app company.” Yes, Apple made it possible.
And look around you. There are billions of dollars and thousands of entrepreneurs — from 14-year-olds to 80-year-olds — currently in the app development business. And it’s all because one company, which was on the brink of death in the mid 90′s, then had an idea, and executed on it.
Nokia, RIM, Adobe, even Google, and countless other “mobile” companies of the mid 2000′s (like mine!) were in for the win. But they all got steam-rolled by a fruit company down the street from them.
We would not here if it wasn’t for Apple’s vision. Some of you reading this, are in the mobile app development world because of Apple. Not Nokia, not RIM, not Adobe, not Google, not Samsung — because of Apple. Some of you used my previous product to get into the mobile app business — well, Apple made my dream of becoming a mobile entrepreneur in Silicon Valley a reality.
And guess what? Some of you will read this on your mobile device, whether it’s a device from Apple or even Samsung. Less than five years ago, you wouldn’t have thought of that as being even remotely possible.
So yes, Apple deserved to win.
I guess I could have just said that at the beginning.