Blame it on Android’s massive popularity or Google’s lack of mobile patents, but Android is being attacked on all fronts. On one side, you have patent trolls like Oracle wanting to feed off Android’s success. Then you have companies like Microsoft, who would rather resort to lawsuits and lawyers to win, instead of building a better product. And finally, you have Apple, the company that has patented things like “slide your finger to unlock something”, the letter “i” and the words “app store”. If Apple had its way, we’d all have to pay a licensing fee for saying the words “magical” or “it just works”.
Earlier today, we reported that the ITC has found HTC guilty of infringing on some of Apple’s “patents”. Obviously, HTC is going to appeal the ruling, so this fight is far from over. But investors can sometimes be an easily-scared crowd. As a result of the ruling, investors are afraid of a U.S. import ban on HTC products. This in turn, drove HTC shares to the ground this morning, after a 6.5% drop.
With hopes of stabilizing its share price and restoring investor confidence, HTC has announced a share buy back program worth up to $760 million. Although this hasn’t worked that well, according to Financial Times:
The attempt to prop up HTC’s share price appeared to have little effect as the stock fell below HTC’s minimum purchase price of T$900 to close down 3.9 per cent at T$871. The sell-off highlights investor fears that the legal battle could have wider implications for the competitive balance between Apple and Google Android-based phonemakers like HTC, Samsung and Motorola.Robin KwongFinancial Times
Hopefully, HTC will quickly manage to turn around its falling share price, once investors realize the ITC ruling are nothing to be that much worried about. But more than anything, we hope Google will soon go on the offensive against companies like Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. Because frankly, we’re getting somewhat tired of playing defense.