HTC Sends Cease & Desist To Developer Who Made Similar Android Widgets

from the can't-compete? dept

Tim K alerts us to the news that phone maker HTC has sent a cease & desist nastygram to the developers of an Android widget that certainly had a similar look and feel to HTC's own Sense UI. Except, many people claim that this newer widget, from LevelUp Studios, was actually better. LevelUp apparently has no interest in fighting this, and are ditching the widget, but it seems that they could have a decent argument here. The bigger question, though, is why HTC is bothering? I'm actually a big HTC fan. My last two mobile phones have both been from HTC, and I had been expecting my next one to be from HTC as well. But this sort of bullying for no good reason makes me wonder why I'd want to support a company like that. Honestly, what was HTC "losing" by letting this widget be created? This seems like bullying just for the sake of bullying.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Sense UI

    It's because they believe people are buying it for their Sense UI. I have an HTC Hero, and while I love it I don't like any of the HTC widgets. They seem sluggish compared to the rest of the operation of the phone and they tend to get in the way.

    It's all about ego.

     

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  2.  
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    David (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 8:42am

    I don't get it

    I have an HTC phone, as well (the G1), it is actually my 3rd (all t-mobile branded, the MDA, the Dash), and I agree that their software is not what has me buy the phone.

    I don't like the fact that they are getting nasty about it. For gosh sake! Can't you let people have a choice?

     

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  3.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 8:45am

    reverse it

    what was HTC "losing" by letting this widget be created?

    What was HTC gaining? Not very much, they are losing control over their product, they are losing a brand product that differentiates them from the other players, etc. In a more and more crowded smart phone market, HTC has continued to differentiate themselves by not having products that are just "me too". I think they are doing the right thing by protecting the parts of the market that make the HTC experience unique to HTC products.

     

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  4.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: reverse it

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Whew, thanx I needed a good laugh.

    Ever head of the PDA? Why'd they die out? Maybe nobody cared for them because they were... how'd you put it? "doing the right thing by protecting the parts of the market that make the ... experience unique to (their) products." Yep, they protected their unique user experienceness right out of the marketplace. Good job there. *Pat on the back*

    "History repeats itself. Those who fail to learn from the failures of others are doomed to repeat them."

     

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  5.  
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    robin, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: reverse it

    "...they are losing control over their product..."


    the plaint and world-view of the status quo defender. sadly for the anti-mikes' of the world, the future is not about control, it's about how to make money when you've lost control; to technology and irritable consumers:

    http://www.mediafuturist.com/the-end-of-control-essays.html

    "What was HTC gaining?"


    they were gaining: a larger network surrounding their products and company, energized developers, attentive purchasers, engagement with with fans.

    PFFT, gone.

     

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  6.  
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    AdamR (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:31am

    "What was HTC gaining? Not very much, they are losing control over their product, they are losing a brand product that differentiates them from the other players, etc. In a more and more crowded smart phone market, HTC has continued to differentiate themselves by not having products that are just "me too". I think they are doing the right thing by protecting the parts of the market that make the HTC experience unique to HTC products"


    They lost control of their product when they got conned by Verizon and let them market The HTC Eris as a Droid. Please explain how they gain from that?

     

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  7.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: reverse it

    They are still gaining it from the hundreds and possibly thousands of developers who are actually making new stuff and supporting the android OS and HTC phones (full disclosure, I have an HTC phone which I enjoy very much).

    It isn't about stopping development, it's just keeping control of the key apps that make the phone unique to other offerings.

     

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  8.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:47am

    Re: reverse it

    They were gaining a developer base for their phones, which means more apps, which means more customers. They were gaining a product that was better than their own, which gives them a sense of what the market is looking for so they can improve their own offering, or a replacement for their own app so they can focus on developing better core tools. They were gaining customers of the technically savvy type who are easily frustrated by second rate apps, and get very upset when some company tells them they can't do something that they should be able to do, just for the sake of maintaining their own control over it.

    In other words, they were gaining everything they should have wanted to gain.

    What were they losing by letting this widget on their phones? A little market share in the app world maybe, which would likely have been more than made up for by the gained customers in the phone market when they realized that HTC phones weren't afraid to offer the best apps out there... Smooth move HTC, if it weren't for Google, you'd probably be looking at a very dim future.

     

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  9.  
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    milrtime83 (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:48am

    They aren't "ditching" the widget.

    The developer has changed the look of the widgets and they are back in the market.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    The droid name makes it more attractive. I want an Android Phone and the more obvious that is the better. The Verizon network wins in this area so an iPhone is right out.

    I was considering the ERIS but if HTC is doing to stay this stupid I will let my money go elsewhere. The programmer should just alter the output enough so it doesn't look as much like the HTC crapware.

     

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  11.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re: They aren't "ditching" the widget.

    Which is probably the best solution for everyone.

    See, solutions aren't hard to find.

     

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  12.  
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    AdamR (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:59am

    They are still gaining it from the hundreds and possibly thousands of developers who are actually making new stuff and supporting the android OS and HTC phones (full disclosure, I have an HTC phone which I enjoy very much).

    It isn't about stopping development, it's just keeping control of the key apps that make the phone unique to other offerings.

    You do realize all Beautiful Widgets was? It was a clock app and also showed weather info with the clock? If you hold that as a key app then HTC is going to have some serious issues.

     

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  13.  
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    coco, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:02am

    WHY???

    I'm having a hard time understanding what the C&D was for. You cant claim copyright infringement because something LOOKS the same?

    If they were just betting on the small guy being afraid of the legal hammer, thats criminal.

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: reverse it

    "History repeats itself. Those who fail to learn from the failures of others are doomed to repeat them."

    Hey that my line .... ;) ... kind of

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    Has anyobe ever looked up the definition of the word "Eris"? It's either a genre of jumping spider, or the name of the Greek goddess of strife. Excellent name for a phone!

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Open Development?

    So how's that Open Development going Google? Oh, not so well?

     

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  17.  
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    Andrew F (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re: reverse it

    You need to do a little more to make your argument work. What would happen if Motorola used an HTC widget? Since Motorola is a direct HTC competitor, then that would look a little sketchy.

    In this case, the developer is not Motorola, but you could potentially download the widget onto a Motorola Droid and make it look all HTC-ish -- thereby nixing some of the advantage the Eris might have had over the Droid.

    That said, it requires quite a few jumps. I imagine the number of consumers who say "Oh, I'd get an Eris because it's so pretty, but I can just download the widgets onto a Droid and get a keyboard instead" is fairly small.

    I am also very much alarmed how you can copyright or trademark UI elements and "look-and-feel". I mean, imagine if someone had copyrighted the scroll-bar. We'd have like a gajillion variations of the scroll-bar to get around the copyright, most of them would suck (e.g. see that thing on Google Wave), and users would be horribly confused over the design inconsistency.

     

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  18.  
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    Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re: WHY???

    "If they were just betting on the small guy being afraid of the legal hammer, thats criminal."

    And standard operating procedure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Andrew F (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: They aren't "ditching" the widget.

    Ironically, the actual HTC phone owners are probably worse off now.

    See, if I was downloading the widget onto a phone manufactured by an HTC competitor, there's likely already a look-and-feel mismatch between the manufacturer's widgets and the one I downloaded. So long as the replacement is reasonably "pretty", there's no loss.

    On the other hand, for an HTC owner, one of the reasons I may have downloaded that widget was because it offered better functionality and integrated well with the other parts of the Sense UI. Now that the replacement looks different, part of its original value to me is lost.

    I mean, there are Apple users who insist only on downloading third party software that conforms to Apple's look-and-feel. Imagine how'd pissed they be if Apple started saying that only core OS X apps could use the brushed metal look.

     

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  20.  
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    Christopher (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 11:37am

    negative

    I understand they want to keep control. You do that by competing, not suing. HTC is wrong, and so are you.

     

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  21.  
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    Difranco, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    HTC phones are junk....

    I'm on my 4th phone (3rd Replacement) since April this year. The digitizer keeps dying on my Diamond Touch.... never will I make that mistake again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    news u can use, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    This just in:

    GoodYear Sends Cease & Desist To Firestone because they made tires that are also round with grooves refered to as "threads".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Dah Bear!, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:49pm

    Re:

    This just in: You are an idiot. No film at 11.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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