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How the Ban Workaround OTA Will Work
Here is my opinion on how this ban workaround OTA that Google is prepping might work. I am not a lawyer and don't have any insider info. This approach just seems to make sense...
So, Apple received an injunction against Samsung, preventing them from selling the Galaxy Nexus. The injunction prevents the sale of the phone with Google’s unified search tool included. Google and Samsung are busy working on an OTA that will allow the phone to be sold again. Here is what I think they are likely to do:
1) They will dumb down the default search widget that ships by default on the Galaxy Nexus to not include local search.
2) Google will instead release Google Now as an app for all phones with Android 4.1 (maybe 4.0 even? and iOS even?) that is downloadable from the Play store. This will make it extremely easy to restore the lost functionaliy.
Since the app is not installed by default on the phone, Samsung has nothing to do with it. So, hopefully the phone will be allowed to sell (remember that Apples suit was against Samsung not against Google). Samsung cannot be held accountable for every app that can be installed on their phone, just like Dell is not responsible if someone writes an app for Windows laptops that infringe some patents.
If Apple wants to sue over the new Google Now app, they will have to sue to Google directly for creating and distributing an app they think infringes on their patents (since Google Now is quite different from the old seach widget, Apple may not even find it infringing - and hopefully any court wouldn’t either).
Thus, it seems that a solution to the problem of Apple suing manufacturers over Android features that ship on a device is for Google to remove them from stock Android and distribute them themselves through the play store.
This may very well lead to a direct confrontation between Apple and Google. And, If Apple does go after Google directly, this could get ugly quick. Such a lawsuit could get out of control with both companies suing each other over the other’s core products in order to gain leverage and both companies consumers could get really hurt.