Steve Wozniak, the programmer and computer engineer who helped launch what would later become Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), didn't have the best things to say about his former company when the subject of Apple's recent legal battle with Samsung (KRX:005930) came up. Speaking to Bloomberg about Wednesday's launch of the highly anticipated iPhone 5 unveiling, Wozniak praised the new iDevice, but went on to comment on the recent Apple v. Samsung patent case, saying I hate it.
Wozniak added that he doesn't agree with the court's ruling in favor of Apple, saying that the patent disputes focused entirely on very small things I don't really call that innovative.
I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody's technologies, he said.
Late last month, a California jury ruled in favor of Apple in its high-profile patent dispute against its chief rival in the global smartphone market, Samsung. In the court's official decision, Samsung was charged $1.05 billion for patent infringement of Apple's smartphone designs. On Thursday in Shanghai, Wozniak said I don't think the decision of California will hold.
While Wozniak is not a legal expert, his concern resonates for an industry that demands relentless innovation to stay on top of fierce competition. While Apple has historically been a beacon of ingenuity in the tech industry, industry analysts have begun to wonder if the world's most valuable tech company is losing steam in the innovation game and resorting to excessive litigation to cover its lack of the game-changing products that previously defined its legacy. Less than 24 hours after monumental unfolding event, many critics are already noting that the iPhone 5 may be completely amazing, but is also, in the words of one Wired reporter, completely boring.
Like many hardware and software engineers more concerned with product development itself than the corporate or legal issues that attach themselves to new intellectual property, Wozniak expressed a general distaste for a patent system he sees as excessively stringent and creatively stifling. I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody's technologies, he concluded.
Approving or not, Wozniak has also said that he is excited to purchase an iPhone 5 to (ironically) replace his current Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone.