What has been the one technology story that has dominated the last month? It is none other than Apple vs Samsung. I would love to know the amount of attention quantified; as many blogposts, articles and podcasts were used to provide insight into it.
Samsung has been ordered to pay a $1 billion fine for copyright violations according to a US jury. They have a right to appeal the verdict but the court case poses more questions than answers. It is all but a given that Samsung will appeal the verdict.
The Samsung story I think is one that is going to have long term effects. It is pretty clear that patents are the new weapons of choice between large companies. Be objective for a minute: if you copied someones work it is called plagiarism.
The problem is that there are a lot of unwritten agreements between all the technology companies and Apple felt the need to go to court with regards to fighting the matter. I found something very interesting while reading though the court verdict. Apple made a lot of noise about the iPad and violations on concepts copied. None of those stuck and has not been given too much attention by the press.
Think about the following; if the judgement stands then Samsung paid a relatively small price for quickly moving up the rankings of being a smartphone manufacturer. Compare Samsung to BlackBerry and Nokia in financial results and then you realise that this court case has some interesting bylines… suddenly the $1 billion looks like a drop in the water. Keep in mind that Samsung also supplies Apple with LED & LCD screens, so the relationship is not purely competitive.
Is Samsung guilty of using Apple’s intellectual property? The legal system has said yes but is this not the case of Samsung becoming a real threat to Apples business? What would have happened if this court case was in Asia or Europe? Those are the real questions and they are highly subjective.
One other thing that this ruling will do is transfer the pressure to research and development teams at all the businesses who design cellphones, tablets for Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola and Sony. If they do not create fresh new products that are unique then more lawsuits like this Apple vs Samsung will be seen.
The real winner in this whole story for me is the customer. One, this is not going to hinder innovation as most predict. In actual fact it is going to force everyone to innovate and create products that are unique and truly special. The patent war is going to rage until a meeting is held between all the parties and some agreement is formulated. The more choice the customer / user has the better for all involved.
So what happens when Samsung makes a very popular product in the next 12 months? Now that is a question to ponder on..
This image might be changing soon.. as Samsung will fight back.