Apple's life just got a little more positive this week when a California District Court jury came to a decision on the Samsung/Apple patent infringement suit. The decision stated that Samsung has knowingly and willfully infringed on 12 Apple patents. The case is significantly more complex than just that, involving subsidiaries and business models. However, when all was said and done, the case really came down to did Samsung steal from Apple and the jury believed they did.
The trial has taken weeks, including the revelations of products and practices that no one had known outside of the two companies. While this can be seen as a win for Apple, it is even more of a win for the rest of the tech industry. Finally the handset manufacturers will be forced to stop copying the least innovative handset design possibly ever and start making phones that are unique. Hopefully Samsung will be able to use it to hold onto its lead over Apple, not fall into the pits of innovation hell.
This also spells a huge win for Microsoft and its upcoming Windows Phone 8. Samsung will be reconsidering its Android partnership, seeing as the interface of the OS is in part what has gotten Samsung in trouble. There are two easy alternatives for Samsung to turn to: Windows Phone 8 or HP's Gram. WinPho8 will be on the market long before Gram, so it would make sense for Samsung to embrace the unique interface.
Clearly Samsung is not happy about the verdict. Hit the break to read statements from both companies, plus some fun pokes from Microsoft.
Samsung said about the verdict,
Today's verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple's claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.
Apple, being happy to own round corners, said,
We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung's copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung's behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right.
A little less important but much more interesting are some tweets from Microsoft. Windows Phone senior director Bill Cox tweeted, "Windows Phone is looking gooooood right now." Frank Shaw, Microsoft communications director, tweeted, "Using Bing Local Scout on my Windows Phone to look for a place to drink a pint. Love that UI. Fresh. Unique. Different. That is all."
I believe Samsung is right - this is not the end of this battle. It will be interesting to see where all of this goes.