Apple, Samsung Patent Verdict: 10 Ways It Could Affect Google

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-08-28 Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple and Samsung's latest lawsuit judgment will affect Google, the maker of the Android operating system that runs on many of the mobile products at issue in the recent patent infringement trial.

Apple on Aug. 24 was awarded a $1.05 billion ruling by a jury in San Jose, Calif., that found that Samsung had violated several of the iPhone maker's patents. Now, Apple is trying to have a host of Samsung products banned from sale in the United States, and Samsung, desperate to not let that happen, has already indicated that it'll do everything in its legal power to have the ruling reversed.

As one might expect, much of the attention surrounding the trial has centered on Apple and Samsung. However, there are other companies that will be affected by it. Chief among them is Google.

Google is best known as a search company, but Android and Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility has made it a mobile market giant. Make no mistake about it, the Android operating system is as much a part of this legal mess as Samsung. Google will be impacted greatly by the ruling.

Wondering how Google might be affected? Here are the reasons why.

1. Google developed Android, didn't it?

As the ruling indicates, Android played a key role in Apple's battle with Samsung. Apple attorneys pointed to similarities in the software used in both companies' devices and claimed that Samsung had tried to mimic the iPhone experience–iOS and all–as closely as possible. Considering Google makes Android, it would make sense that it make get hit with some of the legal collateral damage.

2. It puts Android development into the crosshairs

Since Android is open source, Google hands it over to vendors that then modify it as they see fit. Now that Apple has won a key victory against an Android vendor, look for Google and its partners' development processes to be called into question. With Apple's win, anything–and any company– in the mobile market is fair game.

3. How will other vendors respond?

It's not clear how other vendors might respond to the ruling. Will it scare them away? Will they continue on the same path? Will they try to license patents from Apple? Google relies heavily upon vendor relationships to keep its mobile division going. If this ruling affects those relationships, it's bad news for the search giant.

4. It gives Apple ammunition to take on Google

So far, Apple has shied away from targeting Google directly. But with a victory now in its pocket, what's really stopping Apple from going after the search company? With the right legal strategy and this precedent to boot, it's possible that Apple will haul Google into court seeking another major legal victory.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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