Many have speculated that the two lawsuits Apple filed against HTC were merely a thinly veiled attack on Google, who designed the software on HTC's phones. But HTC is quick to remind us that despite their recent surge in popularity (and subsequent placement on our Most Innovative Companies list), they're by no means new to the game.
Before HTC began branding their own phones and marketing them under the "Quietly Brilliant" campaign, they were a well-respected but fairly anonymous Taiwanese OEM, making phones for other companies to brand with their names. The company has been making phones well before Android, and says many of the patents Apple claims HTC violated are just evolutions of their previous hardware. Said Jason Mackenzie, vice president of HTC America:
"We were working on our first touchscreen smartphone in 1999. That eventually came to market in 2002 as the XDA phone in Europe, and the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone in the U.S. Since that time we launched over 50 smartphones, and are fortunate to have relationships with most of the carriers in the U.S. We have been recognized as an innovator by our carrier partners."
Making no bones about their intent, Mackenzie said "HTC disagrees strongly with Apple's actions and we plan to use all the legal tools we have at our disposal to defend ourselves, as well as to set the record straight." He did not, however, give any specifics as to what that might entail (for example, a countersuit).
Interestingly, while HTC hasn't said specifically if Google is assisting them in the lawsuit, some requests for comment were referred to a Google spokesman, who issued an inoffensive statement of support. If Apple was rearing for a fight with Google, it's not clear that they'll get it--but HTC is not going to allow themselves to be trampled in the process.
[Via The New York Times]