In the wake of last week’s court ruling in the Apple/Samsung patent dispute, the South Korean electronics giant was ordered by a US federal court to pay a sum of $1 billion in damages to iPhone manufacturer Apple, after it was found in infringement of certain Apple design and software patents. The ruling upheld Apple’s allegations that Samsung had indeed copied many of its patents and used them on the various smartphones it manufactured. Following this the US court ordered Samsung to pay damages to Apple, which the Korean company said it would appeal with Apple saying that it would follow up the present law suit with even more punitive measures, this time to seek a sales ban on certain Samsung products and would do so at the follow-up hearing in September.
Of course while the Samsung/Apple patent dispute ostensibly involves the two manufacturers, the dispute, to quite a large extent, also involves internet search giant, Google, whose Android operating system, which powers Samsung smartphones and tablets and many other smartphones, is a direct competitor to Apple. While so far the two companies have been engaged in a so-called ‘cold war’, Apple has recently taken measures to stymie Google’s influence, removing Google Maps and the YouTube app from its latest software and now with this court victory against Samsung, the dispute seems to becoming even more entrenched.
Reacting to the news, Google said that it did not want the court ruling and possible sales ban to “limit” the choices of US consumers, something which Samsung had stated after the ruling. In a statement released by the company a day after the court ruling, Google said, "The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don't relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players - including newcomers - are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We continue to work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don't want anything to limit that."
Of course while the two foremost smartphone manufacturers are engaged in numerous disputes, analysts are keen to point out that this rivalry may create way for Microsoft, which is increasingly shaping itself towards the smartphone and tablet industry, having released the Surface and Windows Phone. Speaking about this, , principal analyst at the tech consultancy Enderle Group said, "I think this will force a reset on Android products as they are re-engineered to get around Apple's patents. [It should also] provide a stronger opportunity for both of Microsoft's new platforms - Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 - because they come with indemnification against Apple, suddenly making them far safer."