updated 02:05 pm EST, Mon December 19, 2011
No obvious motivation mentioned
Apple may be intentionally delaying the creation of a formal standard for how touchscreen devices interact with web content, claims Haavard, one of the developers behind the Opera web browser. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is currently at work on the standard, known as the Touch Events Specification. Apple, though, has allegedly submitted "invalid or irrelevant" patent claims in a way that is holding up the specification's progress.
In particular Apple has submitted one granted patent and three patent applications that will demand time to evaluate. As evidence that Apple is intentionally trying to delay proceedings, Haavard notes that the company made its submission on November 11th, even though the deadline for such claims is December 26th. More importantly, Apple is said to have taken a similar approach with W3C widget issues in 2009 and 2010, which in both cases required the creation of Patent Advisory Groups that ultimately dismissed Apple's assertions as irrelevant.
The company is also absent from the Touch Events working group, which would've required submitting patent claims earlier. If Apple is intentionally trying to delay the Touch Events Specification, though, its motivations are unclear. The company may be hesitant about having to make Safari conform to a new W3C standard. Such a standard could theoretically help competitors as well, by improving web browsing on their devices.