《经济学人》:安卓系统,要当心了
日期:2011-07-29 11:01

(单词翻译:单击)

HTC's patent problems
HTC的专利问题

Android alert
安卓系统,要当心了

Using Google’s Android software has given HTC a boost, but it may now make the Taiwanese handset-maker vulnerable to costly lawsuits

使用谷歌的安卓软件推动了宏达电(HTC)的发展,但是现在它可能变成弱点,令这家台湾手机制造公司遭遇昂贵的诉讼

Jul 21st 2011 | TAOYUAN, TAIWAN | from The Economist print edition

UNTIL a few years ago HTC was pretty small and relatively obscure. But the Taiwanese company’s recent growth has been remarkable. In the second quarter it sold 11m smartphones, more than doubling its revenues in the same period last year. HTC’s main rivals, Nokia, Samsung and Apple, still sell around twice as many smartphones. But its rapid growth, especially on Apple’s American home turf, has made it a competitor to reckon with.

几年前HTC还只是一个规模很小、相对不知名的公司。但是这家台湾公司最近的业绩增长却有目共睹。今年第二季度它共出售了1100万部智能手机,收入比去年同期增加了一倍多。HTC的主要竞争对手诺基亚、三星和苹果公司卖出的智能手机仍然是HTC的大概两倍。但是它的快速崛起、特别是在苹果的美国老家的迅速发展,已经使它成为不容小觑的对手。

One reason for HTC’s surging sales is the relentless pace of its innovation: in the past quarter, in which Apple had no new iPhone to launch, HTC introduced ten new models. Another is Google’s Android operating system, on which most of HTC’s smartphones are now based, which has proved a hit among consumers.

HTC手机销量猛增的原因之一是它源源不断的创新:上个季度,苹果公司没有发布任何新款iPhone,但是HTC却推出了10款新机型。还有一个原因是谷歌的安卓操作系统,现在HTC智能手机的大部分都以此系统为平台,它在消费者中间非常受欢迎。

Apple has not taken the challenge from HTC lightly. On July 15th the US International Trade Commission upheld two claims in a larger patent suit Apple had filed against its rival. Earlier in the month, Apple had filed additional claims and MOSAID, a Canadian company, said it would also sue HTC, and Sony Ericsson, for patent infringement. The outcome of these cases will be of keen interest not just for HTC but for other handset-makers using Android: promoted as a free, open-source system, it is proving surprisingly expensive. This is because it relies on a host of basic features that may be subject to patents: how a screen is swiped with a finger, how a phone number embedded in an e-mail can be called by tapping it, and so on.

苹果公司并未轻视来自HTC的挑战。7月15日,在苹果公司起诉HTC的一起比较大的专利诉讼案中,美国国际贸易委员会裁决HTC侵犯苹果公司的两项专利。本月初,苹果公司还起诉HTC侵犯了自己另外几项专利,而加拿大公司MOSAID称它也要起诉HTC和索尼爱立信侵犯专利。这些案件的结果不仅关系到HTC的直接利益,同时也关系到其他使用安卓系统的手机制造商的切身利益:安卓系统以免费、开放资源的姿态推广入市,但现在证明它会非常得贵。这是因为它的一些基本特色也许涉及到专利:触摸屏、电邮里的电话号码能直接拨打等等。

Last year HTC resolved another claim over Android, with Microsoft, agreeing to pay it hefty royalties. More such suits may yet emerge, and prove costly. HTC’s shares, having hitherto outperformed its peers’, have dropped by a third since early June. HTC will appeal against the trade commission’s ruling; but it will fight back in other ways, too. This month it spent $300m buying a loss-making software firm, S3, which recently won a patent case against Apple and may have other patents that will be useful in fending off Apple’s legal forays.

去年,HTC也解决了一起有关安卓系统的专利问题,它同意向微软支付巨额专利费用。更多这样的诉讼也许还会浮出水面,而且代价高昂。HTC的股价目前已经胜过同行们的了,而自6月初以来已经下跌了三分之一。HTC将就贸易委员会的裁决提起上诉;不过它也从其他方面予以反击。本月,它耗资3亿美元收购了亏损软件公司S3,这家公司最近在与苹果的专利案中胜诉,它也许还有其他专利能帮助HTC应对苹果的法律突袭。

Founded in 1997, HTC started out mostly doing contract manufacturing for other gadget-sellers. But as it has gained confidence in making smartphones under its own brand, it has steadily risen up mobile operators’ lists of the handsets they promote to subscribers. By April this year it had a bigger market capitalisation than troubled Nokia. The firm’s success has pushed Cher Wang, its chairwoman and largest shareholder, to the top of Forbes’s Taiwan rich list, passing Terry Gou, the boss of Hon Hai. HTC has kept much of its production in Taiwan whereas Hon Hai (also known as Foxconn) has shifted it to mainland China and stuck with contract manufacturing—a business that emphasises cost-trimming and low value-added.

HTC成立于1997年,最初主要为其他小机械销售者做代工。但是随着在制造自己品牌智能机方面积累起了信心,它在移动运营商向用户推荐的手机名单中的地位平稳上升。到今年4月,它的市场资本化已经比身陷困境的诺基亚公司要大了。HTC的成功使得其董事长、也是最大的股东王雪红女士超过鸿海集团董事长郭台铭荣登福布斯台湾富人榜榜首。HTC的生产多保留在台湾省内,而鸿海集团(也就是富士康集团)则把生产移向中国大陆,继续做代工——它注重节省成本和低附加值。

HTC has shown remarkable speed in building new products, adapting to changing telecoms standards and developing its own applications software. And its manufacturing quality has been remarkably high. Unlike rivals HTC has not suffered unpleasant headlines about shoddy products or suicides at its factories. It has made progress in building a brand that reflects innovation and trust, allowing it to escape from the low-cost treadmill on which some of its peers remain stuck.

HTC制造新产品非常迅速,也能很快地适应电信商的标准、开发自己的应用软件。其生产质量之高令人瞩目。不同于竞争对手,HTC并未因劣质产品或是工厂里员工自杀而登上头条惹一身麻烦。在建立一个反应创新和信任的品牌方面它取得了进步,这使得它能从禁锢了一些同行的低成本枯燥无味的工作中逃脱出来。

But there is a risk that Android, a key element in this successful strategy, is turning into a vulnerability. Apple sees its patents as a weapon to undermine Android’s cost advantage. The more time HTC has to spend fighting lawsuits, and the greater the share of its revenues it has to pay out in software royalties, the harder it will be to keep up its remarkable run of success.

但是风险在于这种成功策略的关键因素之一安卓系统正转变为致命弱点。苹果公司以专利作为武器削弱安卓的价格优势。HTC花在反抗诉讼上的时间越多,它在软件专利费上支出的钱占其收入的份额越大,那么它就越难保持巨大的优势。

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重点单词
  • remarkableadj. 显著的,异常的,非凡的,值得注意的
  • outcomen. 结果,后果
  • advantagen. 优势,有利条件 vt. 有利于
  • confidenceadj. 骗得信任的 n. 信任,信心,把握
  • patentn. 专利,特许 adj. 专利的,显著的 vt. 批准
  • commissionn. 委员会,委托,委任,佣金,犯罪 vt. 委任,委托
  • underminevt. 暗中损害,逐渐削弱,在(某物)下挖洞或挖通道,从
  • brandn. 商标,牌子,烙印,标记 vt. 打烙印,铭刻,加污
  • vulnerabilityn. 易受攻击,弱点,[计]漏洞
  • embeddedadj. 植入的,内含的,深入的 v. 埋入,植入,深入