Aug 27, 2012

What will change as result of Apple's legal win over Samsung?

Will Apple winning an Austin Powers-esque One Billion Dollars in its lawsuit against Samsung have any impact on the wider smartphone/android marketplace, or were Apple's claims specific to Samsung? I know Google had a press release saying that this verdict doesn't apply to android OS, but I reckon that they would say that either way. Is this going to make a difference we will see in the marketplace, either in costs or product availability?

I think companies, including Samsung, will start to be more careful when creating new products or changing existing ones. Companies will have to step back and make sure that their products aren't too close to existing ones. They'll also have to make sure that the technologies they use are either open source, paid for outright, or properly licensed.

Overall, I think it's a net positive for everyone. It will most likely force companies to engage in true innovation instead of mindless copying for a quick buck. And that's ultimately a good thing for consumers.

It remains to be seen whether the court will issue the injunction against Samsung selling many of its products in the US, as Apple has requested.  But if issued, that would only directly impact Samsung and those who desire a particular Samsung device in the near future.  


One potential long term impact for all of us could be increased innovation.  With companies on notice that patent infringement can be very costly indeed, it could make it less expensive to develop one's own ideas instead of repackaging those of others.  Perhaps that will mean capital that would otherwise be expended on reverse engineering the products of competitors will be spend on research and development.  


I doubt there will be much impact on the smartphone market in many ways.  Most of what was found to be infringing was the user interface, not the underlying OS.  Windows Phones and BlackBerries use distinctive UIs that are very different than Apple's so we know it isn't necessary to clone Apple's UI.  There will likely be changes on some of the manufacturers' UIs running on top of the vanilla UI, but to be honest, in most cases I prefer the vanilla UI anyway.

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