Apple's War on Android

The clash reflects life in the tech big leagues: Apple sharply reminding a formidable rival who’s boss. At the same time, Apple v. Samsung is remarkable for its scale. The combatants barely notice the millions of dollars in legal expenses they’re each spending annually to flog the other in an epic struggle that will surely test their multibillion-dollar symbiotic relationship. The battle also signals a broader conflict pitting Apple against multiple mobile-device manufacturers in some three dozen legal and regulatory actions pending in 10 countries. Beyond Samsung, Apple’s notable antagonists include Motorola Mobility (MMI) and HTC (2498). As Silicon Valley sophisticates underscore, however, the phone and tablet makers are mere proxies for another foe—Android, the operating system Google (GOOG) gives away to manufacturers. Google employs a come-one, come-all business model radically at odds with Apple’s and, in the late Steve Jobs’s view, existentially threatening to his company.

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