In my last post, I stated that Apple’s reputation would be trashed as a result of the Apple-Samsung ruling. Over the last few days, my opinion has not changed. I still believe that Apple will lose some of the respect it has gained over the years because of its ruling. The company has had some illegitimate practices within the last few month (read on the Proview and Jingsu Xuebao rulings in China against Apple) and is in no position to call out Samsung on anything.
In this post, my goal is to cover a few more implications from the Samsung ruling. The next implication of the ruling, apart from Apple’s trashed reputation in the consumer mindset is that Apple could go on to hold a monopoly on the smartphone market. In his article titled “Apple, a Monopoly? It Could Happen,” Roger Kay provides the foundation for Apple’s hatred of Google (and its associates) as well as the future of the smartphone industry:
“Steve Jobs harbored a well-known vendetta against Google based on his belief that that Eric Schmidt, while sitting on Apple’s board, had leaked the iPhone’s critical characteristics to his own design teams, who then copied it. Jobs swore he would spend as much of Apple’s considerable wealth as necessary to stop Google cold, and he wasn’t interested in licensing to Google’s partners. The offer that Apple made to Samsung, which came out during the trial, would have absorbed all of Samsung’s profit. In other words, the terms were unreasonable, and Samsung rejected the offer. But Apple wasn’t serious, or else it would have done something more like what Microsoft has done: license on reasonable terms” (Roger Kay, “Apple, A Monopoly? It Could Happen.” Forbes, 8.28.2012).
Apple has had a vendetta against Google from the very beginning, and Samsung is one of Google’s partners. Thus, Apple would have a problem with Samsung and would want to sue the company to send a message to Google (the real target of Apple’s wrath). Apple negotiated with Samsung to squash the company at all costs, but the Korean manufacturer refused to forfeit all of its income to Apple. The lawsuit, happened, thus, because Apple was not reasonable. Then, in the lawsuit itself, Apple put forth its ridiculous patents—another sign of the unreasonableness of the Cupertino, California corporation. The rationale behind the lawsuit? To “stick it” to Google:
“…Apple doesn’t want money from Samsung. Of course Apple is happy to add the jury-verdict winnings (to be appealed) to its already staggering hoard, but this matter is not primarily about money. It’s about wanting Google dead, at least in the high-mobility-platform business, and, really, entirely, just for being cheeky” (Roger Kay, “Apple, A Monopoly? It Could Happen”).
One implication of the Apple-Samsung lawsuit pertains to Apple’s vengeance against Google: Apple will use this lawsuit to press its hate campaign against Google. Just today, I read that Apple has already filed a lawsuit to ban 29 HTC phones some weeks ago; now, Apple wants to ban 21 Samsung phones as a result of its victory in court over a week ago against Samsung. What are the two newest smartphone bans? The Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note! The Galaxy Note had nothing to do with Apple’s lawsuit in court. The court lawsuit was only against the Galaxy S phones, but, if you are a company like Apple that can win a childish lawsuit, why stop when you can have blood (as Roger Kay says in his article)?
Roger Kay believes (as do I) that Apple’s problem with Samsung is that, like Google, the company is qualified competition. In other words, Samsung is a capable rival that can stand up to Apple. This is the reason why the lawsuit took place. Kay notes the real reason behind the lawsuit had little to do with patent copyright infringement. Although he believes that Tim Cook may still carry the vendetta against Eric Schmidt that Steve Jobs once did, Tim Cook has a bigger reason as to why he took the case to court against the Korean company:
“Apple seems to want to drive all viable competitors from the high-mobility game…If Apple succeeds, then it will have no viable competitors and might draw attention from public authorities around the world…it would be a bad thing for the market if Apple were to become the only supplier of high mobility products, software, and related services. And yet, that’s where we’re heading” (Roger Kay, “Apple, A Monopoly? It Could Happen.”, underline and italics mine).
Some may say that this notion is preposterous: the market could never survive the kind of takeover that would deepen Apple’s pockets; however, if Apple succeeds in getting the latest Samsung phones banned from sale in the United States, then the smartphone market will become solely Apple’s. Can you imagine going to purchase a new smartphone upgrade every two years and only seeing Apple phones in the store? I like Apple’s products—but I also like variety. If one company made all the smartphones in the United States, the market would become boring despite the fact that the phones would be produced by a company as famous as Apple.
The jury in the Apple-Samsung lawsuit made a ruling that it believed was in Apple’s best interest. The jurors feel as though they did the right thing; they looked at charts and noticed how similar the two phones may seem to be. When the jurors came to their final decision, they did so because of the look and feel of the phones (an issue of design). Yet and still, they probably never imagined the impact their lawsuit can and will have upon the smartphone market. While it may be fair to protect your patents (depending upon the logic of the patent in question), it is not acceptable to crush your competition simply because it has sold more smartphones than you and has made more money than you. Those who choose to sell under these circumstances endorse what Richard Weaver calls a “spoiled-child psychology.” I will cover more of this in my next post.