Innovation Asset Blog

Apple plays defense in patent licensing deal

Apple has once again pursued a strategy that would seem to counter the wisdom of its late co-founder Steve Jobs by agreeing to pay more than $10 million for intellectual assets he previously deemed inconsequential. Although the move comes as a surprise to some, others believe Apple's latest patent licensing deal may be a defensive maneuver against Microsoft.

The deal will grant Apple access to a portion of the portfolio held by Japanese mobile software maker Access Corporation. In 2005, Access made a significant acquisition in PalmSource, developer of the Palm OS software which powered the ubiquitous personal digital assistants (PDAs) that predated the smartphone era.

According to CNET, it was only a few years ago that Jobs took Palm to task over mutual allegations of talent poaching. However, no formal litigation was filed at the time, as the former Apple CEO ultimately dismissed Palm as a non-factor in the mobile arena.

Now under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple has revealed a change of heart with its recent $10 million tender. According to Apple Insider, Microsoft has a similar licensing deal in place surrounding Access' patents, and the Cupertino company's latest move appears to be a preventative strike against Microsoft and its increasingly relevant mobile offerings.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.