This isn’t even slightly surprising: HTC is suing Apple. The Taiwanese phone giant says that the iPhone maker has violated five HTC patents, and it’s therefore asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to prevent the iPhone, iPad, and iPod from being imported into the U.S. and sold.
(Extremely unlikely but perversely satisfying potential scenario: All three companies win all their lawsuits, preventing all of them from selling any products whatsoever and driving them all out of business. At least it might dissuade other businesses from doing battle in the courtroom rather than the marketplace…)
Microsoft, meanwhile, isn’t suing HTC–it’s collecting royalties whenever HTC sells an Android phone. But the unspoken message of its pact with HTC appears to be “Strike a similar deal with us, makers of Android phones, or we might sue you.”
HTC doesn’t seem to have disclosed which patents it thinks Apple is violating, but its portfolio includes hundreds of ones relating to mobile gadgets. Just for fun, here’s a drawing from one HTC patent that probably isn’t involved–the clever one covering the phone that became the AT&T Tilt. (Come to think of it, I’d be interested in buying an iPhone based on this patent–too bad Apple never violated it…)