Google's Shot Across Apple's Bow

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Includes: AAPL, GOOG
by: Wayne Dahlke

Now that the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) battle has reached its first conclusion (subject to appeal), it is time for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Android to get into the fight.

According to a recent article in TechCrunch, a number of Apple devices and products, to include iPhones (3G, 4, 4S), iPod Touch, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, all infringe upon seven patents held by Motorola Mobility, a division of Google, regarding technology to "utilize wireless communication technologies to manage various messages and content," among other patents.

Motorola Mobility lists seven patents for infringement. Each of them deals with a method of managing data in some way shape or form, or deal with location-based services.

Google, as the owner of Motorola Mobility (formerly MMI), has timed this perfectly to maximize on the potential to use Apples own Samsung ruling against it. If Apple can patent "Rounded square icons on the home screen," then Motorola has a pretty good case when talking about patents that are for legitimate interests like data management, location based services and media content management.

Motorola Mobility has asked the International Trade Commission, under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (as amended), to act within 15 months and if supported to issue a permanent exclusion order against Apple "excluding entry into the United States of wireless communications devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers and components thereof that infringe upon one or more claims of" the 7 US Patents that are listed.

If successful, this action would clear the way for Android to become the major player in the US market for smartphone operating systems. The numbers vary depending upon source, however data from IDC shows that Android already has 59% of the US market based on new units shipped, with iOS having only 23%. An injunction against apple importing devices could put Android over 80% of the US market share, leaving Android as the only viable smart phone ecosystem available.

The Windows phones' market share (2.2%) is minuscule, and the BlackBerry (RIMM) market share (6.4%) is not much better, and their offerings of late have been less than stellar (in my humble opinion).

It is never a good idea to speculate on what a court or a jury may do, however this is definitely a story to keep your eyes on in the near future. Apple has not yet responded to the filing in question.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.