July 19, 2012

Steve Jobs Not On Trial, Says Koh

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Steve Jobs was a man who did not shy away from giving his opinion, no matter how unpopular or impolite. For weeks after the Walter Issacson biography was released, the usual Apple blogs were littered with short stories about something Steve had said at one point in his career. Some of these quotes have even had the life-span of a prehistoric turtle, trudging ever onward, blissfully unaware of the passing time. For instance, how many times this year alone have the words “I finally cracked it“¦” shown up on tech blogs and rumor sites? Furthermore, what about Jobs´ venomous diatribe about Google´s Android? I, for one, have set my keys about the words “thermonuclear war” more times than I can recall.

Jobs quotes aren´t just good fun for those of us who are far removed from the situation at hand. Some of the companies at the receiving end of Jobs´ hatred have tried to use these remarks in a court of law, and as Apple is hell-bent on suing every company in bed with Google as opposed to just suing Google themselves, these comments could be damning for Cupertino´s case.

In June, Richard “The Judge” Posner – who later threw out the case between Apple and Motorola in a Chicago court room – ruled that Google´s Motorola could use these quotes in their case against Apple.

Today, Judge Lucy Koh decided in an opposite manner, agreeing to keep these angry Jobs rants out of the San Jose case between Apple and Samsung.

I really don´t think this is a trial about Steve Jobs,” said Koh, according to Reuters.

Given the exact verbiage in Steve´s NSFW rant, it´s completely understandable why Samsung would want to use Jobs´ words against him. Apple issued the suits against Samsung (and Google, by association) while Jobs was still at the helm. Explaining their reasoning, Jobs famously told his biographer, “Our lawsuit is saying, ℠Google, you fucking ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. Grand theft.”

This next quote, which Samsung no doubt referred to as the “money quote” is particularly damaging:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple´s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I´m going to destroy Android, because it´s a stolen product. I´m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Samsung argued in a filing that Steve´s desire to “go thermonuclear” and “destroy” Android, “speaks to Apple´s bias, improper motives and its lack of belief in its own claims in that they are a means to an end, namely the destruction of Android.”

Apple, understandably so, argued back that the Jobs quotes are nothing more than a distraction from the true point of the case, Samsung´s ripping off Apple designs.

It´s been a long and winding road which has led us to this point between Apple and Samsung. One court-ordered CEO mediation and a couple preliminary injunctions later, the final case is expected to finally hit the court books later this month, July 30, with Judge Lucy Koh presiding. Most recently, Koh placed a ban on both Samsung´s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and Nexus smartphone. Both bans were later rejected by a higher court.

Koh has also allowed for some other controversial topics to be discussed in the court room, such as Apple´s trouble in China (though Samsung can´t make a human rights case out of it) and Samsung´s US tax issues (though Apple can´t imply any sort of tax avoidance.)