Does Apple-Samsung Ruling Spell the End for Android?

      August 27, 2012 11:24

      After being awarded US$1.05 billion in damages by a jury which found that Samsung had copied the designs of the iPhone and iPad, Apple has sought a U.S. district court to ban any smartphones and touch-screen tablet PCs manufactured by the Korean electronics giant. The Northern District Court of California has asked Apple to submit a list of products involved.

      Apple's final aim is apparently to ban all Samsung's smart devices in the U.S.

      Market researcher Strategy Analytics says Apple tops the North American market for smartphones with 33.2 percent by selling 8.5 million of the devices in the second quarter of this year, and Samsung ranked second with a 23.4 percent share or six million. Motorola came third with 2.3 million smartphones sold in the US, followed by LG Electronics with 2.1 million.

      The jury's decision puts the entire fate of makers using Google’s Android OS in jeopardy.

      Apple is expected to sue other smartphone manufacturers using Android like HTC and Motorola. A major legal offensive seeking huge reparations could be devastating for the Android camp, which accounts for around 70 percent of the world's smartphone market. Google acquired Motorola, which has many core communications technology patents, to prepare for that legal offensive, and apparently supported Samsung in its patent infringement suit with Apple.

      Apple developed its own smartphone operating system and pioneered the smartphone but soon faced stiff competition when Google supplied the Android OS free of charge, with the drawback that manufacturers, not Google, are then responsible for any patent or royalty suits.

      Late Apple founder Steve Jobs apparently had a personal vendetta against Android, which he considered a blatant theft of Apple inventions.

      According to market research firm Gartner, the Android camp accounted for a combined 64.1 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter this year as against Apple's 18.8 percent. The latest decision should be a huge boost to Apple's global market share.

      Jurors in California decided that the rectangle with rounded corners design belongs exclusively to Apple, and most smartphones are designed that way. But most of the Samsung products that were deemed to have infringed on Apple's design are older models and their ban would not deal a massive blow to Samsung. The Galaxy S is no longer sold, while the Galaxy S3, Samsung's mainstay smartphone, is not involved. But the Galaxy S2 is still being sold and the ban will mean losses for Samsung.

      Samsung apparently excluded any features in the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 that could be accused of infringing on Apple's design patents. But the company's copycat reputation could hurt other members of the Android camp.

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