Samsung’s documents (displayed in court) showing feature-by-feature comparisons of its unreleased S1 handset and the iPhone are shameful. Each page makes nearly explicit recommendations for aping features on which Apple has patents.
This is aggressive competition gone waaaay overboard. It is copying patented technology. You did it. You gained the lead in the smartphone market in part because you did it, and you deserve to be reined in with some sort of punishment.
We expected to see clunky no-name clones of the iPhone come out of China a month after the iPhone was released, and we did. We didn’t expect this slavish professionalized copying from Samsung.
Still, the lights stay on pretty late in Seoul where they develop some of the world’s finest chip technology, displays, batteries and much more. There are hundreds of hard working engineers in this company and they deserve their due. In becoming one of its largest customers, Apple has already paid Samsung a form of silent respect.
When this trial is over, Samsung probably owes Apple a check, though it may not be for as much as $2.5 billion. Indeed, Samsung showed some pretty compelling evidence of how the iPhone appears to infringe some of pretty broad mobile patents it owns.
Speaking of what’s owed in all this, Apple could write one to the diligent workers at Foxconn who help it amass its iFortune along with the Apple’s retail staff that reportedly works for an average of about $12 an hour.
After observing the maneuvering in a San Jose court, one thing seems clear: It’s time to put an end to this patent madness.
They already did (numerous times). They just don't sell it abroad, but so what, they have their internal market big enough ... So far we have very limited success in dealing with that angle of the problem. The solution for it will NOT come from us.
Back in Mar 2012 Apple brought out the iPad with its A5X dual core quad graphics processor in it Fabbed by Samsung still with their old 45 nm non HKMG gate oxide process. The result: a larger die, more heat dissipation requiring a heat spreader and clumsier spread out arrangement with slower SoC to Memory access.
Just 2.5 months later in Jun 2012 Samsung brought out their own Galaxy S3 with a Quadcore SoC built by their latest 32 nm HKMG gate oxide. Result : smaller and faster die uses only 1200 mWatt, no heat spreader, memory stacked over SoC, higher bandwidth.
Could Samsung not have hurried up their 32 nm process to build the A5X for Apple and save Apple a lot of technical hassles ? Did they deliberately hold it back from Apple, their largest Customer & Competitor ?
What does Wall St. have to say about Apple continuing to depend on Samsung, their largest competitor for a key component like the SoC which has such major impact on system performance ?
First, don't see evidence that Samsung deliberately hold it back from Apple; second, even they did, there is nothing wrong in it. Apple must have been well aware of this when they made the decision unless you want to say Apple is stupid
Changing process technologies isn't as simple as checking the "32nm" box instead of the 45nm" box. There would be a non-trivial amount of design and testing for Apple to move their A5X to the 32nm process.
But even if we assume it was an option from the start, then the other problem is the delay. To advance a deadline for such a large project as deploying a new process technology by 2.5 months would be challenging if not impossible. Time is easily converted to money, but the converse is not always true.
So with that in mind, rather than be gated by Samsung's deployment of 32nm, they went with the tried-and-true 45nm process from the start. Can't say it turned out poorly for them.
Samsung and Apple are too big as suppliers/customers not to work with each other.
But given the fierceness of their handset competition, Apple would be wise to find alternative key component suppliers if it can find any who can deliver what Samsung can.
Appple could have found alternative key component suppliers instead of Samsung but so far They have not. What this tells you is Samsung has probably the lowest cost of production for Apple and the moment Apple switches to other suppliers, either your iphone price will go up or Apple won't make as high margin as it used to. I bet it is a big headache for Apple right now.
The patent swamps are filled with alligators, patent lawyers, pharma companies, a sprinkling of engineering, and elsewhere it is mined, so careful where you stand or step. What was good in the late 1700s no longer serves us now. Pharma companies want protection for as long as possible, but business patents, software patents, and many electronics patents outlive their technology. Even though prior art exists in many electronics patents, the legal fees are too high to risk court cases for many, who simply settle. It should be easier to invalidate poor patents, but again, the cost is too high, which is not something engineers can solve, and the legal guardians have no incentive to. We will visit this same mess in ten years time.
A nice balanced view of both sides. I think at the end of the day, it seems that nowadays that the gladiators of old are replaced now by armies of lawyers doing pretty much the same thing - bloodying the competition into submission or death irrespective of any fundamental moral rights or wrongs that may exist. Reams of arrows before are replaces by reams of money now, and the one who has the most, usually wins.
What I see at the heart of the matter is that this case will define how smart phones are copied going forward. I don't think Apple has the right to rounded corners in a device, but it is not right if I see a smart phone and I confuse it with an Apple product.
Where do you draw the line?
people honestly really buy samsung phone thinking that it's apple phone.. really? people really so stupid? I saw all samsung phones have samsung logo on front face... for reasonable min iq person, there is zero chance it gets confused.
I think we can all agree that its wrong for someone to blatantly steal and profit from the innovations of others. From a fundamental fairness perspective, that's just not right. But at the same time, in every business in the world, competitors size up the leader and try to take them down, often times trying to take a page from the leaders book and learn from its success. This business of a patent on the rectangle is ridiculous. I appreciate your commentary, Rick. And I wish I knew what the solution should be.
patents are supposed to encourage, not stifle competition. we (people acting through government) created all forms of IP as a purely artificial mechanism to encourage progress. Apple is one of the finest examples of how to *abuse* IP - how to use patents to maximize profits by minimizing competition.
we need to reduce the domain of valid IP protection, and greatly narrow the definition of infringement. Apple has made a mockery of the IP system as it stands today. especially in light of the realities of industrial supply-chain management: no one could possibly clone an Apple product because Apple does a very good job of squeezing out efficiencies of scale, of locking up industrial capacity. remember that none of the parts in Apple products are somehow uniquely Apple - even the CPU is just a SoC built from commodity blocks.
The patent system is indeed broken. Big coorporations build up or buy (Google) large volumes of IP, which is used as ammunition in suits and countersuits against their competition, and to shut down disruptive innovation by small companies. The end customer is the biggest loser, and the biggest winners are the lawyers and executives of the corporatocracy.
When a company has to turn to its patent attorney’s to protect its competitive advantage utilizing bogus claims in ridiculous patents it’s time to look to another leader. Apple has to realize it’s time to market and its marketing that made the product. Finally a big boy got up and said enough already.
The concept of a tablet and most of its features is not new, it is not an innovation, etc etc.. Do we suffer from amnesia? Anyone remember PDAs? The concept was there, what we lacked was all kinds of technology improvements to make it really useful, sufficiently powerful and cool. Apple has all the right to copyright/patent a particular shape/color etc as Industrial Design did and does, but to patent "a rounded rectangle"?! Give me a break!