5 reasons the Apple-Samsung ruling is GOOD for everyone
The outcome of the recent Apple vs Samsung trial isn’t particularly surprising -- the American company was always going to benefit from home-court advantage -- but the comprehensiveness of the victory shocked a lot of people, and at a stroke changed the smart devices industry for good. Yes, Samsung will appeal, and might succeed in overturning some of the findings or reduce the amount owed Apple (although, equally, the South Korean company might end up paying even more as the wilfull infringement finding is very damning). But there’s no question the result, as it stands, has repercussions not just for Samsung but for several of Apple’s other rivals.
My colleague Mihaita Bamburic claims that the ruling is bad for everyone, and while his position has merit, I view things differently. I see the result as having a positive impact in the long term, and here’s why.
1. Samsung won't be hurt too badly. Yes, of course $1.05 billion is a lot of money for any company to pay out in damages, but Samsung can afford it. The electronics manufacturer made a profit of $4.5 billion in the most recent quarter this year and two-thirds of the operating profit came from its mobile business. Yes, the stock price is down at the moment, but it will rebound (and has already started to). If Apple’s victory is seen as being down to American bias, Samsung’s sales will increase outside of the United States (especially in Asia) anyway.
2. Newer devices aren’t affected. Apple is sure to seek a sales ban on infringing devices but those applicable are older models, and changes made to newer products prior to the trial should keep them safe -- for the meantime at least (although Apple could use the verdict to go after newer devices like the Galaxy S III in a "contempt proceeding"). Samsung will likely seek to have any injunction on its products put on hold during appeal, and if it’s successful that will buy the company time to make necessary changes.
3. Verdict will bring about innovation. Apple’s victory will prevent rival smartphone manufacturers from copying features protected by Apple’s patents, but it won’t stop Samsung and the like from creating alternatives to the iPhone or iPad. It’s just the differences between the devices will have to be more marked, and the obvious way to do that is for those manufacturers to become more innovative. And that’s great news for consumers. We need variety, not just clones.
4. Android is safe. As Google says in a statement released a few days after the verdict: "Most of these [infringements] don't relate to the core Android operating system". Samsung ran into problems by adapting Android and making it too much like iOS. We’ll probably see more devices sticking to stock Android as a result, and that’s no bad thing.
5. Other manufacturers get a chance. While it’s been about iOS vs. Android for a while now, there are other options, such as Windows Phone. Both Nokia and Research in Motion enjoyed stock boosts on the back of the ruling and will likely see this as an opportunity to capitalize on Samsung’s stumble (although consumers still may not buy their products).