A couple of weeks ago a jury agreed with Apple in their latest lawsuit against Samsung, awarding Apple over $1 billion supporting its claim that Samsung infringed on their patents in the design of eight Samsung mobile phones and one tablet. But, there is method to Apple’s madness, and it isn’t putting Samsung out of business.
What this verdict does give Apple is the upper hand in “negotiations” that are being conducted through the courts all over the world. Apple’s opponents include five of their largest competitors in the global war for smartphone and tablet dominance. It’s not just Apple claiming patent violations. Most of the mobile behemoths are fighting amongst themselves over license agreements.
Apple big beef with its device-making rivals like Samsung, it that they use the Android operating system that Google gives away for free. According to Bloomberg Industries, Android accounts for about 60 percent of the mobile market, three times as large as Apple’s iOS. The big prize Apple has its sights on is having the dominant operating system in the device market. The problem many consumers, app designers and device manufacturers should have with Apple’s OS is that it’s a closed-garden operating system while Google’s (and Microsoft’s) is an open system. This means that Apple controls everything. (This was a point that Steve Jobs was always fanatical about.)
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will probably deny a request by Samsung to throw out the verdict. Samsung’s lawyers will file an appeal in a higher court.
Koh will still have to decide whether to issue an injunction blocking the sale in the U.S. of the nine Samsung devices in the latest lawsuit. If she decides in favor of Apple, Samsung will have to make some design changes, eliminating the offending features or pull them from the market. Samsung probably won’t expend too much effort on this since the nine devices are older ones, and they can still sell them outside the U.S. The hit to their bottom line should be minimal.
Once the competitors get some legal satisfaction, they’ll make their financial deals over supplying products and components to one another. Even Apple will play nice. (Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer for mobile-device components).In the meantime, the companies are still doing business as usual with one another while they keep their lawyers busy in court.
Telecom companies and consumers aren’t going to put up with a clearing out of the competition by Apple. Many of us like Android devices like Samsung’s, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS is a welcome addition to the competition. Bottom line: what ultimately happens from all this bickering is up to us.