President Obama says he’s not allowed to use an iPhone!

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US President Barack Obama has been photographed, on a number of occasions, using an iPad. He says he loves the tablet, and was actually given a second generation model days before it was announced, by Steve Jobs himself.

But it looks like that’s where Obama’s Apple gadget usage stops. During an Obamacare speech he gave yesterday to a youth audience attending a White House Summit, the President said he isn’t allowed to have an iPhone…

Here’s part of the speech via ABC News:

“Now, I am not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone. I don’t know what your bills are. I’ve noticed that Sasha and Malia seem to spend a lot of time on it. My suspicion is that, for a lot of you, between your cable bill and your phone bill, you’re spending more than $100 per month.”

While Obama’s remark was obviously meant to be a quip, it has sparked a conversation in the tech world about mobile platform security. After all, the President is allowed to use a custom version of one of BlackBerry’s handsets.

Interestingly enough, many other US government agencies have already ditched their BlackBerrys, or are in the process of doing so, in favor of Apple’s smartphone. More secure or not, the company is bleeding enterprise customers.

As for Mr. Obama, his involvement in the tech community extends much further than gadget usage. Earlier this year, he vetoed an ITC sales ban on Apple products, and he’s currently fighting (or says he is) for a new unlocking policy.

President Obama vetos iPhone sales ban, Samsung disappointed

The administration of the US President Barack Obama has recently issued a veto on the pending sales ban of certain older Apple products (the iPad 2 or earlier and the iPhone 4 or earlier). Following a ruling of the US International Trade Commission (ITC) back in early June, the products were supposed to be banned from selling because of violation of a certain Samsung-owned standards-essential patent.

The Obama administration stepped up and disproved the ITC determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order due to its effect on “competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.” This action is entirely in the competence of the President’s office although this block of the ITC ban is said to be the first of its kind since the Reagan administration in 1987.

Obama’s office reminds of “the potential harms that can result” from using standards­-essential patents for “gaining undue leverage and engaging in “patent hold­up”. It reminds that standards­-essential patents should be easily accessible for licensing under FRAND terms, which, they consider, was not the case with this Samsung’s patent.

Back in June, the ITC ruled that Apple was violating one of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet-related patents. Due to that decision, Apple was about to face bans on the sales of certain AT&T iPhone and iPad models. Apple was highly disappointed because they claimed Samsung would readily license the said patent to anyone else interested, yet it insisted on a sales ban in Apple’s case.

Companies holding standards­-essential patent such as the one in question, are obliged to license these to third parties on terms that are Fair, Reasonable, And Non­Discriminatory (hence FRAND). According to Apple, in this case Samsung was far from offering them FRAND licensing terms.

Up until now Apple was appealing the ITC’s initial ruling and the Commission was supposed to come up with a final ruling on August 9.

Fortunately, the block does not mean the patent holder is not entitled to a compensation, just on the contrary.

Samsung has already responded to the decision of the president’s office:

“We are disappointed that the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC’s decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license.”

Quite expectedly, Apple’s stance on the President’s office decision is just on the contrary:

We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.

We are yet to see which direction this thing takes. It’s more than obvious that the Apple vs. Samsung patent brawls are already getting out of hand. It’s getting increasingly harder to tell who’s right and who’s wrong.

President Obama Sends Congratulations to Michael Phelps!

Michael Phelps in the Pool

Michael Phelps made history yesterday, breaking the mark for most medals ever won at the Olympics.

And it didn’t take long for the legendary swinner to receive congratulations from another record-setter, the nation’s first-ever African-American President.

“Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time medal record,” Barack Obama Tweeted. “You’ve made your country proud.”

Michael Phelps in LondonPresident Obama in Florida

Phelps soon replied to the First Message with: “Thank you Mr. President!! It’s an honor representing the #USA!! The best country in the world!!”