Now that both Apple and Google have laid out billions to acquire wireless phone patents, it's unlikely Apple will use its new properties to sue Google for alleged infringement, a veteran Apple analyst said.
"Apple has no intention" to use patents it and partners including Microsoft won last month from Nortel Networks to sue Google, which plans to acquire Motorola Mobility with its wireless patents, wrote Charlie Wolf, of Needham.
"Rather, the company's intent is to protect the sanctity of the patents it was awarded for the design of the iPhone," Needham said. Now that Apple and partners possess the Nortel Networks patents they bid $4.5 billion for, they can see if any that support Google's Android OS violate Apple's iOS code.
If so, Wolf suggested, Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., could "force Google to rewrite the offending code and in the process, degrade the quality of the user experience on the Android platform."
Before Google, of Mountain View, Calif., announced its $12.5 billion takeover of Motorola Mobility last week, its chief legal counsel, David Drummond, had commented the only reason Apple and Microsoft outbid Google for the Nortel patents was to slow the proliferation of Android, which is now installed on about 550 million smartphones.
Apple had about 18% market share in the second quarter, estimates IHS, a market researcher.
Apple and Microsoft are expected to introduce upgrades or new operating systems soon. So any move by Apple to bash Google over alleged patent infringement "has the potential to dramatically reshape the competitive landscape in the smartphone industry," Needham's Wolf said.
Apple shares fell 3.5 percent in early Wednesday trading. Google shares dropped 3.8 percent