If you haven’t noticed the epic battle taking place between Apple and Samsung you must have been living in a cave for the last several months. Apple revolutionized the cell phone industry with the debut of the iPhone in 2007. Like any technological advance, it was only a matter of time until the imitators arrived. Late last year, Apple filed suit against Samsung, who they claim has twelve products infringing on seven of Apple’s patents. Juror’s agreed and hit Samsung with over a billion dollars in damages. Now the question is how will Samsung choose to appeal this decision and more importantly what kind of impact could a verdict like this have on the smartphone and tablet markets?
Apple revolutionized the cell phone industry with the debut of the iPhone in 2007. Like any technological advance, it was only a matter of time until the imitators arrived. Today, smartphones account for 68% of worldwide cell phone sales – 17% of which are iPhones. Most companies would be ecstatic with that kind of market share. Not Apple.
In 2011, the company filed suit against rival Samsung, who they claim has 12 products infringing on seven of Apple’s patents. Jurors agreed, and hit Samsung $1.05 billion in damages – a shocking blow considering it also found no wrongdoing by Apple. It’s not as bad as it seems. The devices in question are older models accounting for less than 2 percent of Samsung profits. It’s in both parties’ best interest to make nice, seeing as Samsung provides 26% of the components found in the iPhone.
But the decision, sets the stage for going toe-to-toe with Google in a battle that could define the future of an over $200 billion industry. Phones running with the Android operating system comprise some 60% of the smartphone market – three times that of Apple’s iOS. Going after Google will be more difficult, due to the fact that Android is freely given to manufacturers and can’t be compared as easily to Apple’s counterpart.
With trials still pending in dozens of countries, it’s likely this may drag on for years to come. The notable effect of Apple v. Samsung is that it sets the price for cross-licensing negotiations. In the end, consumers will serve as both judge and jury.