Samsung lost, quite decisively, in the court battle over lost revenue due to patent infringement and design theft. The jury were very much in favour of Apple’s case, and awarded them just over $1bn in payments alongside upholding all of their patents.
However there are questions to be asked and some thoughts thereafter. First query is whether or not the jury actually understood what was going on. They upheld Apple’s patent infringement claims for scroll bounce on all but two of Samsung’s devices. Why? The operating system powering these two phones were the same as ones that infringed on the patent. Unless I (and the people who’ve I listened to/read from) am missing something, this seems highly unusual.
The major win for Samsung, though, is that they weren’t hit for stealing the iPad design. Which in my view is very odd, as this – to me – was the most egregious example of something Samsung had done. It was the primary focus for the entire trial, but the jury felt that Samsung did nothing wrong. Perhaps the devil was in the details, as you can’t really claim ownership over a black rectangle.
I’ve heard people discuss the idea that HTC and other manufacturers will be shaking in their boots. I don’t believe that. I think Apple have sent these manufacturers a signal that not playing with their ball properly will reap bad things, unless you license from Apple. Or buy from someone who licenses from Apple. Microsoft, for example, who could really jump in on this and do great things to push Windows mobile. They could, if they’re smart about it, go from the fourth or fifth best mobile OS to the second really, really quick.
If I were Ballmer I’d be hopping on the phone to all manufacturers to let them know about that license you have with Apple, and how cool the new Windows OS is. Moreover, I’d be buying someone like Nokia or RIM. Second best is still very, very profitable.
Let Apple be Apple, but coming in just behind them is quite alright. Competing with them head-on is a losing battle when their arguments are so strong. Just five years ago a touch screen device was a whimsical idea that was destined to fail, today it’s really obvious design. Apple all but own that now. It’s their ball. And it’s their rules. I just hope they don’t leave the ball the way it is, and I seriously hope they continue to innovate in the face of a lack of opposition.