Skyhook Wireless Digs In, Touts Location Patents After Apple Drops Technology From iPhone

8/4/10Follow @gthuang

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an advantage for long. “There’s a huge platform war breaking out,” Morgan says. “Location infrastructure is a big part of the mobile chess game.” Not surprisingly, he insists that Skyhook’s system “is still the best in the world.”

Clearly, Apple is trying to own every component of mobile technologies, including location. But Morgan confirms that Apple “remains a Skyhook customer.” That means older iPhone models still run Skyhook’s software, but it also means Apple continues to have a license to use the technology across all of its products. “We’re still the main guys driving this. We’d love to say we’re on every Apple device ever, but we can’t,” Morgan says.

The Skyhook founder downplays the effect the Apple news will have on the company’s other partnerships, but he acknowledges that mobile firms are all looking at their options when it comes to location technology. “This is validation of what we’ve been saying for seven years,” Morgan says. “Location is going to be key for mobile. And mobile is the big growth area in tech… Boston has a good foothold in the core pieces of mobile and location [technologies]. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

On the intellectual property front, Morgan declined to comment when I asked him whether it’s conceivable that Skyhook would take Apple (or others) to court over patent infringement. He did say that Skyhook has “never engaged in any litigation.”

Lastly, I asked about the company’s prospects for the next year or so, as the location competition in mobile software heats up further. Morgan declined to give any stats on company revenues or growth, but Skyhook currently has 35 employees, and the company says its software is deployed on tens of millions of devices around the world and powers thousands of mobile applications.

It sounds like the company’s main focus—now more than ever—is to get out there on more smartphones and other devices. “We’ve signed the biggest consumer electronics companies in the world,” Morgan says. “As they invest more in mobile, the trajectory is all up. Hopefully you’ll see more devices with Skyhook on them out in the market.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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