Is Microsoft the big winner in Apple’s win over Samsung?

Bill Gates would be the first to point out all the cases where Microsoft’s competitors made a key mistake that let Microsoft succeed.  Office is perhaps the most notable example, where competitors’ reluctance to support Microsoft Windows took Word and Excel from second-tier status to leadership as customers shifted from DOS to Windows.  Xbox 360 triumphed over the PS/3 because Sony created a platform that was both late to the market and too hard to develop for.  Borland started a price war that Microsoft was better positioned to endure.  Etc.  That is why Microsoft historically keeps the pressure up even when its cause looks hopeless.  One could probably apply this to both the  Windows Phone and Bing efforts in today’s world.

If OEMs have to pay both Microsoft and Apple patent royalties then Android could be more expensive than Windows Phone.  Google may remove popular (and expected by consumers) features from Android to avoid it or its OEMs paying Apple royalties, but that will diminish Android’s competitiveness.    So indeed Windows Phone has the potential to benefit from Apple’s win in this case.

OEMs and Carriers will no doubt hedge their bets by giving Windows Phone a little more prominence over the next 12 months while the dust settles.  But I doubt the big players actually run away from Android.  It’s up to Microsoft to take advantage of this disruption to Android’s trajectory.  For example, by HEAVILY promoting Windows Phone 8 itself rather than leaving promotion completely up to the OEMs and Carriers.  We’ll just have to wait and see if that’s what they do.

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47 Responses to Is Microsoft the big winner in Apple’s win over Samsung?

  1. Dave says:

    Unfortunately, we’ve moved beyond pricing as the issue for smartphone purchasing as the industry has consolidated around iOS and Android. Linux, at a lower cost, doesn’t outsell Windows. Android has reached a point of acceptacence and recognition that won’t easily fade with a price increase. Microsoft needs to build and promote its own phone, as it does with tablets so it can stop depending on unqualified and low cost partners to win in mobile.

    • halberenson says:

      Pricing is an issue for the OEMs rather than the consumers. OEM margins, already thin, will have to absorb an increase in Android costs. That causes them to re-examine their product mix. If that leads, for example, to Samsung introducing a “Galaxy S IV” platform Windows Phone a couple of months before it introduces the Galaxy S IV Android phone then it represents a significant shift in market dynamics.

      The problem with Microsoft introducing its own phone is essentially its relationships with carriers. They just aren’t good enough for it to go it alone unless they can figure out the secret sauce that makes the carriers less of a factor. Google has been trying to do this with no success, but then I think Google’s efforts have been half-hearted. So maybe Microsoft could figure out a strategy that mitigates the carrier’s influence but it is even riskier and far more expensive than their current strategy. And because it alienates both carriers and OEMs it truly would be their last shot.

    • Walt French says:

      The industry has consolidated around iOS and Android because the many other competitors have NOT offered a compelling and complete customer solution. WP7 offered reasonable multi-tasking only during the time when it was becoming obvious that WP7 phones were NOT going to be capable of running WP8.

      The store still has a dearth of choices for many popular categories. You can count on the thumbs of your left foot the percentage of consumers who would first respond “Microsoft!” when you ask “where would people go for the type of games, music, TV and video that you like?” The retail presence is only in carrier outlets, widely claimed to have been utterly captured by Android.

      The recent trial gives Microsoft approximately one tiny advantage: there is reason to think Apple will not sue them. They still have to show the world why their solution is the best one for many people. Lotsa work ahead.

    • Roger Spencelayh says:

      “Microsoft needs to build and promote its own phone”

      Which is effectively what they’re doing with their Nokia partnership.

      • WaltFrench says:

        If their current results are indicative of what Microsoft will do, they are in for a huge disappointment. Android’s issues may be the equivalent of a fumble that gives Microsoft the chance to pick up the ball, but they will need a strong offense to actually score. The word “pathetic” comes to mind.

  2. Tom says:

    I don’t mind Microsoft pursuing the long shots, and waiting for the competitors to stumble. Although Microsoft hasn’t gotten too much of this sort of luck recently, it can and does happen. See, e.g., the recent kerfluffle over VMWare’s price increase.

    It’s just unfortunate that Microsoft could at least break even while doing so. Word for DOS was modestly profitable in the days of WordPerfect dominance. Mac Excel generated a very substantial profit in a small market niche, enough to pay for the development of Win Excel.

    The problem is that over the past ten years, Microsoft seems to have gotten stuck in a “go big or go home” mindset. With Xbox, Bing, Windows Phone, etc., Microsoft has spent tens of billions of dollars with little return. Much of it was due to operating losses, but a great deal came from dumb acquisitions like Danger or aQuantive.

    • halberenson says:

      When you are as big a company as Microsoft you have no choice but “go big or go home”. Even a $1 Billion business is no longer considered “material” to it’s financial results. And the management attention that small efforts require is just as distracting as it is for big efforts, with much less opportunity for a return on the investment. That’s why Larry Page has been killing so many small efforts at Google, they are just too distracting.

      Microsoft’s mistake, and hopefully it is a thing of the past, was to let the competitors get such a huge lead on them in the first place.

      • paul says:

        That’s valid. But you also can’t afford to blindly enter major new areas just because you perceive a future existential threat there or just covet the potential $. Like Apple, you need to study the segment throughly, determine what if any unmet needs exist, identify if/why/how your company is uniquely able to address those better than existing players, and only then (assuming the data supports you) enter with the appropriate strategy and offering, even if completing all that delays your entrance by years. Additionally, I don’t think Apple ever anticipated the success they would see with either iPhone or iPad. Their go-in objectives were much more modest. They just got pleasantly surprised because of how great a job they did on the above. MS, OTOH, has most often failed to do that upfront work. More often than not they rush in, pre-announce their goal to be #1 in a ridiculously optimistic period of time, make numerous subsequent mistakes, fail badly in their objective, spend more, take longer, and ultimately end up belatedly doing the work they should have done upfront, which in several cases might have said don’t enter at all. There has really only been one unqualified new business success over the past thirteen years and that’s Sharepoint. Everything else is either a deeply qualified “success” (e.g. Xbox, still lifetime unprofitable), an abject failure currently (e.g. music, search, mobile, tablets), or TBD (e.g. Mediaroom, auto, etc.).

        • halberenson says:

          We agree in principle (though could argue about examples). Microsoft’s big mistakes are mostly ones where it had vision, limited initial success, and put on the investment brakes. Then a competitor slingshot past them. smartphones, tablets, even search to an extent fall into this category.

      • Hal. At this moment, Microsoft’s problems are more of paradigm than strategy.

        Windows 8 and Window Phone 8 are perfect testimonies.

        For the former, Microsoft chose to create “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” monster. I had several meeting with possible investors on a start-up and none recommended the Windows Marketplace, since they say “little reason users will stick with it, given that they can install Metro-lookalikes (like Metrotwit) via conventional download”. They told me to look in an iPad alternative to the product. Ironically my dev team and I were “sold” on Windows 8 and WinRT.

        For the latter the problem’s just the opposite. After two years of struggle, Windows Phone 7 seemed poised to break the 100k apps and get a 7 or 8% market share and then Microsoft made a decision that might as well redefine the “osborne effect” as the “windows phone effect”. They announced WP8 which virtually killed the Nokia Lumias (700,800,900), while at the same time not presenting an actual product containing it (aka Lumia 1000). So people know that the Lumias will be left behind, but don’t know what new phone to expect. Imagine apple doing that with iOS 5, presenting the OS, but telling everybody it won’t work neither on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but not presenting the iPhone 5. Killer situation.

        So until, Microsoft overcomes that paradigm problem, as much fumbles as they can occur on the other side, they have a slim chance of catching the ball at this moment. Or just take a look at the i4i controversy and the almost null advantage Google gained from it on its Google Docs.

        • halberenson says:

          Recall that the problem with the Windows ecosystem is that people stopped installing apps on their PCs. Until Apple came up with the App Store client apps were basically considered dead and people moved to using the web instead. A situation so prevalent that Netbooks came into being and Google started working on Chrome OS as an alternative to Windows. So now this VC is claming that those very same people who would no longer install apps from web sites or physical media on their PCs, but will install apps from an application store, are suddenly going to start installing apps from the web again? NFW. Oh, and Windows RT systems can’t run those desktop apps. Find yourself an investor who gives better advice.

          Android does what you describe all the time and it hasn’t slowed them down. That’s the interesting thing here. Where Apple and Google have exactly opposite behaviors someone will say that Microsoft is bound to fail no matter which one they are more like, even though both are succeeding wildly. Apple proves a closed system with tight control over every aspect of the ecosystem and a very consumer friendly offering wins really big with consumers. Google proves that no centralized control and heavy fragmentation wins really big with OEMs, Carriers, and even when they are not consumer friendly it doesn’t seem to matter. It seems like Microsoft’s problems sit elsewhere.

  3. Stuart says:

    I’m betting that this decision gets reversed on appeal. There was definitely something fishy going on with the jury, and the foreman seems to have been biased.

    • halberenson says:

      We’re it to,be reversed for something like that then it would just mean a retrial. And Apple would probably be able to keep Samsung products out of the U.S. for much of those proceedings.

    • WaltFrench says:

      Stuart, there are some fervent OSS partisans who have gone ballistic over this case. Too bad; they are making a good cause look like it’s only supported by cultists whose prediction of the Apocalypse has gone wrong, and they are salving their cognitive dissonance by redoubling their claims.
      I don’t know what specifically you’ve read, but I have seen some absolute garbage. People who have claimed that because the foreman was quoted as saying they wanted to “send a message” that the jury was trying to punish Samsung rather than set fair damages for Apple. Others, perhaps some who’ve said Judge Koh was totally biased against Koreans (despite herself being Korean), have claimed the jury was in Apple’s pocket from the get-go, despite not a single juror owning an iPhone, and the foreman having explicitly chosen not to own Apple products for several years.
      I’m sure you have heard about “fishy” dealings, but I encourage you to realize that rumors from prejudiced partisans are not going to play even a teensy role in how the appeal plays out. You might wonder why people are pitching such falsehoods as the ones I’ve seen—down-right lies, often laughably false—and what YOUR motivation is in making utterly unsubstantiated claims of “fishiness” when this has been widely covered in the press.

  4. Stuart says:

    As for MS benefiting from this, I just don’t see that they have a competitive product. Apple could benefit, but I don’t see MS getting any of the windfall. In fact, it’s more likely that people will simply accept paying a bit more for an Android phone – if that’s the way things actually work out.

    I really wish that our patent system would be reformed. These patent suits and all the patent trolls are costing the consumer a lot of money. In addition, I’m solidly on the side of the people who feel computer programs should not be patent-able. (BTW, one of the biggest patent trolls is an ex-Microsoftie – Nathan Mhyrvolds.)

    • halberenson says:

      Why is Windows Phone not competitive? And for whom? Let’s focus on the overall market, not techies. And we’re talking about Windows Phone 8 not 7 going forward.

      See the piece I wrote on Android and patents a month or two ago.

  5. Chui Tey says:

    I tend to agree with your analysis. Regardless of whether Samsung deserved to be punished to this extent, Samsung’s misfortune is will make Windows a viable third force. I wonder though whether it’d make a great deal of difference in the enterprise space, where anecdotally iPads enjoy greater penetration.

    • WaltFrench says:

      Most of the “punishment” you’re thinking of is actually “damages” — harm to Apple’s business that they shouldn’t have had to endure.

      The “punishment” will be that Samsung will be enjoined from selling many of its devices.

      • Chui Tey says:

        I thought the issue of “look and feel” patents were settled back with Lotus 123 vs Borland. This jury’s verdict has brought it back into play.

        I’m surprised the Samsung legal people didn’t vet the jury more carefully. Having a patent holder in the jury is not a good idea, since the verdict is always going to be seen through the eyes of the right holders. If “Notch” (the Minecraft developer was who hit by a patent troll) were in the jury, the results would be influenced in the other direction.

        • halberenson says:

          Each side only has a limited number of peremptory challenges. and merely being a patent holder is going to be insufficient to challenge someone for cause. Since you go in order of juror number, accepting or challenging until you have the requisite number of jurors, Samsung’s lawyers likely found less acceptable jurors it would have had to accept in order to boot this one. I also don’t think merely being a patent holder would influence most people’s ability to fairly judge the facts of a patent case, whereas having previously been involved in a patent infringement case might. And even in the latter it gets more nuanced. I’m both a patent holder and owned responsibility for dealing with a true patent troll so I’ve lived on both sides of this. I would be comfortable telling a judge that I could fairly evaluate a patent infringement case that didn’t involve a true patent troll (that is, someone who doesn’t have a product but is just trying to milk patents). If a true patent troll is involved then, while I feel I could still be impartial, I would consider it inappropriate for me to serve on the jury. But I doubt I’d be allowed to serve in either case. In the latter I’d be out on a challenge for cause and in the former I assume I’d be out on a peremptory challenge.

          Wasn’t Lotus vs Borland a Copyright case rather than a Patent case?

      • anon says:

        @Chui Tey

        So, if you invested in and invented something, and someone just copied it and used it to compete with yours, you are OK with that, right? “Having a patent holder in the jury is not a good idea”, what?

    • Chui Tey says:

      Hal, you are right. Lotus vs Borland was a copyright case. I stand corrected.

      In terms of copying, there’s a full spectrum of what may constitute acceptable behaviour. While an artist may make a “nod” or a reference to an existing piece of art, the copyright courts don’t necessarily view it this way – see the case of the Kookaburra riff in Men At Work’s song ( On the other end is egregious counterfeiting.

      The Samsungs are clearly not Apple. No amount of rounded corners are going to convince me they are the same. When the jury is out looking for similarities, they are going to find some, in the same way we stare at babies before concluding that the baby has his father’s nose and his mother’s eyes. That may be well and good, but people are too tired at the end of the process to consider from whom the father got _his_ eyes from.

      • WaltFrench says:

        “The Samsungs are clearly not Apple.”

        Your statement only tangentially corresponds to the law. The judge’s little stunt of holding two tablets before the Samsung lawyers (who couldn’t tell the Apple from the Samsung) had nothing to do with the jury’s decision, either (although it got Samsung a LOT of negative press).

        The jury appears to have tried very hard to evaluate the facts that corresponded to the law, which have to do with how similarly the overall appearance is to an ordinary person, and whether Apple had established either a registered or de-facto distinctive identity. (Being a little fuzzy here, because I’m not a lawyer, either.) Both sides had prepared checklists, visual comparisons, etc., and the jurors got to inspect devices closely. As you apparently believe should have been obvious, no tablets were found to be infringing Apple’s design rights, but in contrast, the iPhone 3G and 3GS designs were found to have infringed. There was some careful attention paid; despite the speed there were no blanket decisions.

        I understand that Samsung and Apple have a lot riding on this case, and we’re all entitled to our various opinions. But why do people bring up points about the case that have only to do with individuals’ prejudices and standards, which would indeed constitute malfeasance by the jury if they were the basis for the decision?

      • Chui Tey says:

        Walt, thank you for continuing to engage in the conversation. The history of computing industry has always been the refinement and synthesis of new ideas from old.

        Samsung lost the case because the question was framed in a particular way. In court, there only devices in consideration was Apple’s products, and Samsungs products post-iPhone. e.g. Eve is a copy of Adam – but only if you truly believed no one came before Adam.

      • WaltFrench says:

        Apple attempts to invoke principles of fairness when it says its suits are about copying, but in fact the law is about infringement of intellectual property.

        In Apple v Samsung, the copying was so blatantly obvious that it was easy for jurors to feel that teh infringement was egregious. But the decision was about infringement, not copying per se.

        Well, mostly. The court may find that the infringement was intentional, as it sure seems, and worthy of special opprobrium, in the form of tripled damages. I kinda doubt it.

  6. Jim Birch says:

    This result won’t stand. The jury clearly didn’t do it’s job, jurors have admitted errors, and the judge appears to have got a few things wrong.

    • WaltFrench says:

      Jim, I’m not an avid case-watcher, have only sat as juror a couple of times. But your claims sound oddly hollow. First, I have heard not a peep of complaint about the basic fact: Samsung widely, extensively, purposefully and blatantly copied Apple’s products. Those products are OBVIOUSLY covered by US design and patent law, and nobody seems to dispute the core of the issue. Why do you?
      The judge often referred to the difficulty of sending such a complex case to a jury. She knows juries. Do you? What standards do you think should be expected of a jury of Northern Californians?
      As to the judge getting a few things wrong, in virtually EVERY case one party or another will press for the judge to reverse a decision. Again, since courts are run by real human beings, they try to mete out justice without perfection. This case will enjoy a lot of inspection on appeal, but that is far different from claiming that the result won’t stand. If the judge were found to have done something actually improper, what do you see that would cause the result to be a bit different?
      (And save your breath talking about the F700 phone with a pull-out slider and very non-iPhone icons. Rules of evidence are important to courts’ being able to run themselves, and my own take was that Sammy’s lawyer wanted to make a stink about superficial similarities, more than they wanted another example of an earlier, non-touchscreen phone that Samsung USED to make, before they went hellbent copying Apple.

  7. Bassam says:

    Yes MS should benefit from this but not in a big way due to the design choices they made to Windows Phone 7 & 8, by the way I have a Windows Phone HTC HD7 which is great but I’m a power user , regular consumers need more flexibility from their phones and MS is preventing that , The problem is MS chose to follow Apple closed system which is :
    Marketplace with 30% profit from every apps sales – Developers annual subscription fees – No sideloading , No file system that allows the phone to work as USB storage , Contact synch is difficult as must be done thru cloud not client outlook for ex , Apps is limited because of Silverlight run in a box mode although 8 will change that to an extent , etc
    If they really want to dominate even with android presence is to offer unified core with Win8 as they will do BUT also to open the platform for sideloading (so important) , cancel developers subscriptions (they don’t really need this few millions!) , cancel marketplace as a must to run applications on the phone (Enterprise sideloading with a certificate in WP8 is not good enough) , limit their profit to just 10% from Marketplace purchases , offer native development with full capable applications not running in a sandbox with full permissions over the phone hardware.
    Google followed a much open structure using Android than iOS , that’s why the world gave it 60% market share not just 18% like Apple, MS can do it but change design philosophy of Windows Phone first! , Apple already is owning this model , MS must think of another open model to penetrate every corner of the world, they just can’t do it with the Apple model.

  8. brian m says:

    Don’t forget this is the US only – a lot of these issues are either non-enforceable (software patents) outside the US or have already been held invalid (UK). Of course the case is not over in the US either, perhaps a court that doesn’t sit a few miles up the road from Apple might see it differently.

    • halberenson says:

      Sure, but if Samsung has to design majorly different products for different countries it will be an economic disaster for them. Apple also has additional patents to go after Samsung on, it withdrew some of them to simplify the case. But now they are free to re-assert them. In boxing this would be a knock-down not a knock-out. Samsung is back in its corner trying to shake off the blow. Outside the U.S. the Apple vs. Samsung battle has had varied results. In South Korea Apple has one on a couple of patents and lost on one.

      Apple v. Samsung will continue on for years unless the two of them sit down and work out an appropriate patent cross-licensing deal. Apple v. Android will end about the same time, because all of the Android vendors will do a deal with Apple that mirrors whatever Samsung does. Well, there is always Google/Motorola to throw in a monkey wrench.

      As I said, I don’t see OEMs running away from Android. But they just may give WP a little more love as they wait for the dust to settle. Even in the unlikely event that the dust settling eventually is in Samsung’s favor. And then they’ll figure out variations on their existing business plans that they think will work well for them. If Microsoft strikes while the air is still filled with dust then it can secure a stronger position in OEM’s future business plans.

    • WaltFrench says:

      brian m, you probably know that Motorola recently forced Apple to remove the push email feature from its phones in Germany. It’s what you and I might call a “software patent,” but of course it’s listed as “a method for communicating…” German courts have similar patent law to the rest of the EU, so if you want to educate us about how well you understand the issue, you might have to do a bit of research.
      And just last week, a Korean court found that Apple had infringed a Samsung patent, while Samsung infringed an Apple (again, “software”) patent. Again, you are painting the notion with a very broad brush.
      Meanwhile, Apple has gotten a few injunctions of its own in places like Australia. We’re now talking four continents where your broad assertions are kinda skewed.

  9. Brian Balke` says:

    While all of the flash is in the consumer market, my sense is that Microsoft is focused on enterprise solutions. They have a huge base of developers that really don’t want to have to learn 5 different platforms to deploy an application, and managers that have strong motivations to partner with a company that will attempt to preserve some continuity in their in-house application development.
    I think that this is where Microsoft is making its bet with Windows 8: as that core base of enterprise developers commits to the technology, some of them will see opportunities in the consumer market. There are a lot of device vendors that are counting on that as well.
    I have yet to see any of their competitors attack this bastion of strength in an organized fashion. The only possibility is the pairing between Apple and Oracle. And could you imagine where DoJ would go if Apple succeeded in taking over the device market? Anti-trust concerns would arise not just relating to the operating system, but also the hardware.

    • halberenson says:

      Wait, most enterprise folks are totally pissed at Microsoft because WP7 was clearly a consumer and not enterprise-oriented product and they feel that Windows 8 is too consumer focused as well. In fact, I’d say that enterprise devcelopers feel that Microsoft has thrown them under the bus. In the past it was fair to think of Microsoft as Enterprise first, Consumer second while Apple was Consumer-only for a while. Right now I’d say Microsoft is (on the client) Consumer first with Enterprise a shade behind in priority. Apple is overwhelmingly Consumer, but is increasingly paying attention to Enterprise where it doesn’t detract from their Consumer focus.

    • WaltFrench says:

      I think you’re right, and I further agree that the very notion of an Apple/Oracle deal is ridiculous.
      But this isn’t going to do Microsoft as much good as you might think. PC sales are down worldwide, while personal purchases of tablets, smartphones and hybrids of ’em are skyrocketing. Soon, half the planet will own a smartphone, and without some as-yet-unimagined, monstrous turnaround they’re not going to be running a Microsoft OS.
      Yes, many people will buy, and enjoy using, a Windows 8 tablet, and Microsoft will continue to own the desktop market in the Enterprise. But those will be low-margin Dell, Asus and HP boxes, uninspiring to users even as they are much more capable than the smartphones they bought and want to use to see corporate email while they’re traveling. The third-party application marketplace for Windows has gone heavily to expensive, customized Enterprise apps, maybe in part because companies won’t let you run Facebook, twitter, ebay or whatever from your cubicle.
      Personal software will increasingly be on Post-PC devices, because so much of the “PC” marketplace won’t even let it run. Games have already shifted to phones. Complete sea change.
      I predict that total non-Enterprise application revenues from Windows 8 will be a small fraction of iPhone/iPad app revenues. That horse has left the barn.

  10. D Holbon says:

    I agree with Bassam. The current crop of phones are all heading in the wrong direction… marketing led, locked down and a pig to develop on.

    This is the same situation prevailing at the dawn of the PC era with the added complexity of sellers and service providers sticking their oar into the mix.

    The current crop of phone’s are corporate based, not user… in reality an iPhone is nothing more than HP iPAQ 214 with a mobile phone chip and loads of eye-candy, but it was brilliantly marketed.

    Microsoft’s Windows Mobile six should have been developed further, instead they went down the Apple route, a backward move in my view.

    In the end it will be users who decide, no killer applications… no sales once the novelty has worn off.

    • halberenson says:

      And yet buyers were running away from WM 6 as fast as they could. And now they are running from Blackberry.

      Yes it will be users who decide. The tech-saavy have already spoken, the bulk of the uncommitted customer base want ease of use and just a few critical applications. 600K apps? Most will load perhaps 6 on their phone and use perhaps 2.\

    • WaltFrench says:

      “ The current crop of phones are all heading in the wrong direction… marketing led, locked down and a pig to develop on.”

      Many years ago, I built a car from a three wrecks, 600 hours of labor and some new pistons & tires. Today, I don’t change my own oil. Couldn’t even find the Electronic Fuel Injection computer on my little zoomster, let alone re-program it for even more acceleration (at the expense of even MORE hideous mileage).
      Stereos (built a bunch of them, designed two) have gone the same way. Thank God I no longer have to figure out which capacitor crapped out. And so have cameras, phones, washing machines, you name it.
      Hobbyists’ and handymen’s loss, but consumers’ gain. Maybe you’ll enjoy having a room of some of the innovative ones, like some people collect old Leicas.
      Better get used to it; it’s been all around you for ten years now and exactly NOBODY is going to take us back.

  11. Sham Boer says:

    I disagree with this article. Google has publicly stated that most of the patent infringements has nothing to do with the core OS. I.E not android related. Let me know if u want some links to proof.

    This article is misleading.

    • halberenson says:

      A) Most All. And of course Google will put the best possible spin on this
      B) Apple has many more patents to assert and will now do so. Probably some apply to Android and some to Samsung. They will continue to cause Android OEMs pain, lots of pain.
      C) Apple is pursuing this strategy against all major Android OEMs. Vistory against Samsung is “sweet” because they are the most important OEM. Keeping HTC and Motorola under pressure as well means carriers can’t simply switch suppliers and feel safe from supply disruptions. And the last thing a carrier wants is to be taking highly promoted devices off the shelf in the prime of their sales life.
      D) For most consumers Android = Touchwiz (or HTC’s Sense), so the verdict against Samsung (assuming it stands) will significantly alter their user experience. In in the long term getting rid of these skins is healthy for Android, but in the short run it is part of the speed bump

      So I can’t figure out what you find misleading.

      • WaltFrench says:

        “) Apple is pursuing this strategy against all major Android OEMs. Vistory against Samsung is “sweet” because they are the most important OEM. Keeping HTC and Motorola under pressure as well means carriers can’t simply switch suppliers and feel safe from supply disruptions.”

        Interesting point, but with Apple’s insistence that NO other phones copy its UI methods, the carriers have no Android choice at all, until Google removes Apple’s patented techniques. I just don’t see WP8 taking off that dramatically, so a T-Mobile could be really devastated, and the carriers might twist Apple’s arm to reach some accommodation.

        • halberenson says:

          Well, the “accomodation” is easy…the carriers could pay the royalties to Apple if the OEMs won’t! Otherwise what leverage do the carriers have against Apple? T-Mobile has none. Verizon and AT&T would just be cutting off their nose to spite their face if they tried to apply pressure. Sprint put a noose around their neck and gave Apple the trap-door lever. I’m sure the situation is similar in other countries.

          Samsung aside, Google is likely to remove the patented techniques before the other OEMs are impacted as severely as Samsung might imminently be.

    • WaltFrench says:

      Most of the dollars were against design patents and Google is therefore completely correct.
      Apple landed three “utility” patent blows on Samsung. One was for rubber-banding, which is gone from Android as of Jelly Bean.

      There remain two more patents that relate directly to Android. A minority. However, Google’s own lawyers recently told a court where they were suing Microsoft, “it only takes one bullet to kill.” Charming, but true: if Samsung has to stop selling phones that infringe the patents, they will have to write in workarounds to the two patents.

      I don’t program at the system level so have no idea how hard it’ll be to remove those two techniques. But I would guess that unless a work-around really hacks Android up, Google would try to remove it from everybody’s version, not just Samsung’s, so as to protect its other OHA partners.

      And of course, many people have noted that Apple has a large library of other patents that it is willing to assert, whereas they need very few patents that the holders are not obligated to license to Apple because the patent-holders have promised to license under “FRAND” terms.

      Google is correct, but there is a clear implication that Android is at risk of being chopped up until Google can create a compelling User Interface of its own, rather than copies of Apple methods.

      • WaltFrench says:

        Update: Apple has now sued Samsung over an additional 8 patents covering various iOS features. No new design infringments, as far as I can tell.

        Samsung, and other Android OEMs who implement versions of Apple’s patented techniques, will continue to be under pressure to work around Apple’s nice features such as rubber-banding. We should note that “unified search” was also removed from Jelly Bean as a probable infringement of Apple’s Siri method (of doling out requests to multiple knowledge-domain systems).

  12. pejman says:

    “ The current crop of phones are all heading in the wrong direction… marketing led, locked down and a pig to develop on.”

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