In late August, I wrote about the $1 billion plus jury decision in favor of Apple against Samsung for patent violations. Last week, a German court ruled that Motorola Mobility (which is owned by Google) violated Apple’s “bounce and scroll” patent (the same one that led to Apple’s victory over Samsung in the US). If Apple puts up sufficient bond, the German court will ban the sales of Motorola Android devices and could even force them to recall all devices sold in Germany.
This ruling is important for two reasons. First, it shows the risk that developers face in creating content for Android devices. As you need to decide what devices to optimize for, one of your key markets may disappear overnight with a court ruling. Moreover, Apple is likely to go after the devices with the greatest market penetration, so you could lose a big revenue earner.
Second, not many companies can afford the legal fees that Samsung and Google are running up in their battles against Apple. Other companies are more likely to create devices that do not risk Apple’s legal wrath, either by abandoning Android (maybe to Win8) or more likely modifying their devices and the OS significantly. Either way, it will create more fragmentation in the market, increasing your development costs.