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Apple case raises innovation concerns

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Concerns about the future of innovation rise after Apple's victory in a patent lawsuit against Samsung.

Bill Flora, creative director at a design firm in Seattle called Tectonic, acknowledged both positive and negative feelings about the verdict. On the one hand, it could force mobile companies to focus more on design rather than simply acting as copycats, said Mr. Flora, a former Microsoft designer who played a central role in creating the look of its Windows Phone software.

But he said the decision could also create a “minefield” for product designers, in which they are constantly second-guessing whether functions will step on someone else’s patents. Mr. Flora is concerned, for example, that Apple’s patent on the pinch-to-zoom function covers a gesture that now is so common that touch screen products without it would be like cars with square or triangular steering wheels.

Read more at The New York Times.

{biztweet}apple innovation{/biztweet}

 

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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

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