Many third-party content providers require that the Company provide certain DRM and other security solutions. If these requirements change, the Company may have to develop or license new technology to provide these solutions. There is no assurance the Company will be able to develop or license such solutions at a reasonable cost and in a timely manner. In addition, certain countries have passed or may propose legislation that would force the Company to license its DRM, which could lessen the protection of content and subject it to piracy and also could affect arrangements with the Company’s content providers.
The Company’s future results could be materially adversely affected if it is found to have infringed on intellectual property rights.
Technology companies, including many of the Company’s competitors, frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of patent infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. In addition, patent holding companies seek to monetize patents they have purchased or otherwise obtained. As the Company has grown, the intellectual property rights claims against it have increased and may continue to increase as it develops new products and technologies. In particular, with the introduction of iPhone and 3G enabled iPads, the Company began to compete with mobile communication and media device companies that hold significant patent portfolios, and the number of patent claims against the Company in that technological space has increased. The Company is vigorously defending infringement actions in courts in a number of U.S. jurisdictions and before the U.S. International Trade Commission, as well as internationally in Europe and Asia. The plaintiffs in these actions frequently seek injunctions and substantial damages.
The Company’s products and technologies may not be able to withstand these or any other third-party claims regardless of the merits of the claim.
Regardless of the scope or validity of such patents or the merits of any patent claims by potential or actual litigants, the Company may have to engage in protracted litigation, enter into expensive license agreements or settlements, pay significant damage awards, and/or modify or even discontinue one or more of its products or technologies. Any of these events could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial condition and operating results.
In certain cases, the Company may consider the desirability of entering into licensing agreements, although no assurance can be given that such licenses can be obtained on acceptable terms or that litigation will not occur. These licenses may also significantly increase the Company’s operating expenses. If the Company is found to be infringing one or more patents, it may be required to pay substantial damages. If there is a temporary or permanent injunction prohibiting the Company from marketing or selling certain products or a successful claim of infringement against the Company requires it to pay royalties to a third party, the Company’s financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected, regardless of whether it can develop non-infringing technology.
While in management’s opinion the Company does not have a potential liability for damages or royalties from any known current legal proceedings or claims related to the infringement of patent or other intellectual property rights that would individually or in the aggregate materially adversely affect its financial condition and operating results, the results of such legal proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty. Should the Company fail to prevail in any of the matters related to infringement of patent or other intellectual property rights of others or should several of these matters be resolved against the Company in the same reporting period, the Company’s financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected.
The Company’s future performance depends on support from third-party software developers. If third-party software applications and services cease to be developed and maintained for the Company’s products, customers may choose not to buy the Company’s products.
The Company believes decisions by customers to purchase its hardware products, including its iPhones, iPads, Macs and iPods, are often based to a certain extent on the availability of third-party software applications, and services, including online services. There is no assurance that third-party developers will continue to develop and maintain applications and services for the Company’s products on a timely basis or at all, and discontinuance or delay of these applications and services could materially adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and operating results.