The war started in 2011. That year saw many tech giants in the courts; tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Motorola. These ugly courtroom battles are usually a one off deal we see on the headlines. The ugliest war of all that still lasted until this day though was the Patent War involving Apple and Samsung.
The Apple iPhone, Android and Samsung – The Humble Beginnings
Apple’s introduction of the Apple iPhone back in 2007 was a contrast of humble – it was grand. It took Apple years to develop and another year to market it before its launch. At the time where smartphones were hard to understand and complicated to use it became the first ever smartphone to sell in great numbers. Back when PDAs and flagships were incompetent it was truly a jewel and easily the most advanced ever phone available in the market.
Android existed long before Samsung entered the smartphone game properly. Debuted in 2008 Android was a year later than and was a lot less known by the Cupertino based corporation. It was only meant to be a pet project in Google, who knew it would be the largest mobile Operating System in the world today – thanks to Samsung partly.
The smartphone that made Samsung to become a major player in the Android and the smartphone world was the Samsung Galaxy S i9000 in 2010. It was the first Android by Samsung that sold in great numbers. From there Samsung made the Galaxy brand the front of the giant Korean manufacturer. In fact the following model of the Galaxy S the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 made headlines all over the world as the best selling Android to date. That event catapulted Samsung and Android to the top of the smartphone game and changed the course of Android altogether.
The (Patent) War of Two Titans – Apple vs Android
It was no secret that Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple Inc. hated Android and everything to do with the Operating System. Steve Jobs even claimed that we was “willing to go on a thermonuclear war” with Android with the claim that “Android is a stolen product”. It seems at the time when Jobs was alive as well he was ready to go on an all out war to destroy Android once and for all. His motive was so strong that even after the passing of the great man the company he found was still hell bent to destroy the competitor in the means of lawsuits with the likes of HTC and Samsung.
Apple and Samsung – The Love Hate Relationship Destined for Doom.
The whole issue started in 2010 where Apple and Samsung tried to come to an agreement to avoid a whole fiasco of a court. Samsung was and still is a major player in the technology industry. Naturally Samsung was one of Apple’s main suppliers. Considering this factor Apple warned Samsung that Samsung could be infringing some of Apple’s patents. A few negotiations with the Korean tech giant failed.
In 2011 Apple started a court case involving the Samsung Galaxy S II and its new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1; Cupertino claimed that the design language of the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 infringed Apple’s design patent for the Apple iPhone while the Galaxy Tab 10.1 copied the design for Apple’s very own iPad. Other than design patents Apple claims too that Samsung copied the user multi touch function and the packaging design of the iPhone. For the suits Apple requested that the court actually ban the sales of the Galaxy branded smartphones. After a few months long however the judge, in December 2011 deemed that the case was not strong enough for the court to ban the sales of the Galaxy devices. This did not bode well with Apple.
Samsung did not stay quiet after the first suit though. In response to the suit submitted by Apple, that same year Samsung countersues Apple for a certain 3G patent. This resulted in a ban of the sales of the iPhone and the iPad in Germany albeit only for a few hours before the ban was lifted. Samsung’s lawsuit produced some result in July, 2012 though as the jury had made Apple push out a statement saying that Samsung hasn’t copied their products after all.
The Apple Victory – Year 2012
However in the mid of 2012, Apple’s patent submission for its multi touch user interface was approved which resulted in an award of about $1 billion (RM3.3 billion) in damages to Apple which came in two months later. Not satisfied, Apple went in for another lawsuit a few days after the $1 billion award, this time claiming that Samsung’s new products, the Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note infringed over 17 patents belonging to Apple.
The lawsuit gave a damaging blow as it resulted in the banning of Samsung manufactured Galaxy Nexus. As the Nexus name brand was tied directly to Google’s Android they too took a big blow as Google’s own flagship device lost its sales rights until the ban was lifted in around November of 2012. The following month saw Apple attempting to permanently wipe out Samsung and Android by requesting a permanent injunction against Samsung. Fortunately for Samsung that was denied.
Apple’s Victory Short-lived, Damages Recalculated – Year 2013
Judge Koh, at the end of the first quarter of 2013 ruled that the earlier damages calculation of $1 billion was incorrect and that the amount has to be recalculated. The recalculation saw the damages awarded to Apple halved. Small win for Samsung.
In the middle of the year though International Trade Commission interfered and decided that the older iPhones and iPads would be barred in the U.S. due to the infringement of standards-essential patents owned by Samsung. A short while after that Samsung’s older Galaxy phones was found to infringe two of Apple’s patent and was also barred by ITC.
In November, 2013 the retrial for the recalculation of the damages awarded to Apple goes underway. Apple claims that Samsung should be paying them a damage of $380 million(RM1.25 million) while Samsung claims that they only should be paying $52 million (RM171.6 million). The judge later decided to award $290 million(RM957 million) of damages to Apple bringing the total damages payable to $929 million(RM3.066 billion).
Apple Has Not Let Up The Fight With Samsung – Year 2014
In March of 2014, the $929 million in damages was approved and finalised. Immediately after the approval Samsung appeals. A month after this confirmation in the awarded damages, Apple files for a second lawsuit to claim over $2 billion in damages while Samsung countersues Apple claiming over $6 billion in damages for infringing two patents. And just a few days ago the verdict to that case was that Samsung owes Apple another $120 million(RM396 million) while Apple owes Samsung about $160,000(RM528 million). Though final the judge may decide to change the results in the future.
Throughout the course of this war, Apple seems to be leading in figures while Samsung looks like they are getting their ass handed to them. And despite the final verdict being delivered ago you can be sure that this war hasn’t ended. When will it end? According to the late Steve Jobs he would spend every penny Apple has to destroy Android. This spirit seems to continue with the current CEO Tim Cook. So maybe when one company has bled all their finances out the war would end. We won’t know for sure but we’re guessing it won’t end pretty.
*Amount in RM are based on the assumption that the exchange rate is at 1 USD=RM3.3