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Apple now has exclusive rights to use “one-tap screen commands” for its devices. This lays an all-mighty smackdown on HTC, which is now forced to end deliveries of “offending units” to the US by April 2012.
A limited exclusion order now places HTC in a tight corner. Is the loss of one-tap screen commands a blow for HTC phones running the Android OS? Yes, as features such as calling a business via a mobile web page, sharing content and running embedded links are also affected by the ruling.
HTC had planned to adapt the Android OS for its upcoming line of Google-powered smartphones. It would have then been able to tiptoe around the single patent issue. HTC now has to adapt to the International Trade Commission’s ruling.
HTC are not the only mobile phone makers to be hit by Apple’s lawsuits. Samsung felt the sting earlier this year when it’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets were effectively banned in Germany and Australia.
In October, HTC reloaded its guns with fresh patents courtesy of Google. It used these new patents to defend against the IP lawsuits fired at it in the States. Apple accuses the Android phones of using its patented tech, such as multi-touch, tabbing through screens and content interaction.
Despite the lawsuits being launched at it, it is unlikely that the rise of Android will be halted. In the third quarter of 2011 alone, more than half of all smartphones sold came with an Android OS.
Microsoft has also set its sights on Android, accusing it of running its proprietary tech. The outcome of the case may result in a licensing agreement between these major mobile phone players. David Howard, Microsoft VP defends his company vigorously, saying “We have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard our intellectual property.”