updated 01:05 pm EDT, Sun October 10, 2010
Apple's Jobs explains Meizu shut down
Apple chief Steve Jobs responded to questions surrounding the freeze of Meizu's M8 sales in an e-mail late last evening. The executive, whose e-mail headers were verified through MeizuMe, offered just a terse response that accused the Chinese company of deliberate theft. It's "because they stole our ideas and intellectual property," Jobs said.
The specific points that led China's Intellectual Property Office to halt M8 production and marketing still aren't clear, but the device was originally conceived as a direct response to the 2007 iPhone and had its first mockup designs released just weeks after Macworld showing a design that was at least superficially reminiscent of Apple's hardware. In final form, it resembled the iPhone 3G and was most likely one of the targets of the suit. Initial OS layer designs also borrowed very heavily from Apple, although the final UI for the late 2008 Windows Mobile release had only some similarities to the finished product.
The upcoming M9 will run a heavily customized version of Android and has a design that's more recognizably different than the iPhone.
Meizu has accused Apple of bullying and has raised the possibility of a lawsuit to counteract Apple, but the financial impact of an M8 shutdown would be relatively small with the M9 as close as two months away.