Samsung is having a rough go at it right now. On Aug. 24, a jury in San Jose, Calif. ruled that the company had violated several Apple patents. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages. Apple’s lawyers are asking the trial judge to triple the damages on the grounds that the jury found that Samsung willfully violated the patents.
Now, the stage is set not only for Apple to have a nice payday, but to also set in motion plans to have several Samsung devices banned from sale because of their alleged infringement. Samsung is now scrambling to determine its next move.
For the market as a whole, the impact that might be felt by the ruling could be great. Apple has yet again found a way to sustain its competitive advantages. Samsung, its chief competitor, has been knocked back on its feet and is in damage-control mode.
If similar court rulings crop up around the world, it might not be long before the late Steve Jobs’ determination to wage “thermonuclear war” against Android actually succeeds in limiting or even shrinking the upstart mobile operating system’s market share. It’s an interesting move-and one that is being studied awfully carefully by the company’s competitors.
But how else might the decision impact the marketplace and just how might we all be affected? Read on to find out more.
1. Samsung products are banned
Apple’s lawyers are currently working their way through the ruling to determine which Samsung products are violating its patents. Once they figure that out, the company will ask the trial judge impose an injunction that will ban from the U.S. market many of Samsung’s currently shipping mobile products, both tablets and smartphones. Look for Samsung to fight tooth and nail to prevent or at least delay these product bans.
2. Apple goes hunting
Now that Apple has won this landmark lawsuit, it won’t be long before the company follows up with lawsuits to take down others. Apple has a precedent. And in the world of litigation, a precedent is everything. Apple will continue it’s hunting for other competitors violating its patents.
3. Google is in the crosshairs
Although the lawsuit victory for Apple is considered an indictment of Samsung, it’s also a problem for Google. The company’s Android platform is included in the lawsuit and it’s becoming an increasingly major problem in all of the litigation surrounding the mobile market. Google could very well find itself in Apple’s crosshairs in the coming months.
4. Watch out, Android vendors
Android vendors now need to watch out. Not only will they possibly fall victim to Apple’s lawyers, as noted above, but they also have to be more thoughtful in their product designs. Apple hasn’t necessarily stymied innovation with this victory, but it has likely put a damper on many vendor plans at the moment. Now more than ever, design matters.
Windows Phone Stands to Gain
5. Consumers lose
Today’s consumers lose now that the lawsuit is over and Apple has won. But don’t think that it’s all Apple’s fault. If Samsung won, the same would be true. Consumers can’t possibly win in a market where two of the biggest companies in the mobile market are waging a patent litigation wary to reduce competition. It’s that simple.
6. Appeals all over the place
Although Samsung is down, it’s not necessarily out. The company will likely try to appeal the ruling-just as it has in other countries-and continue the legal process. It’s unfortunate, but the chances of the Apple-Samsung legal battle ending now are awfully slim.
7. Windows Phone becomes more popular
Windows Phone and Microsoft might actually benefit from the latest ruling. Android is under attack. Smartphone makers that support Android are all feeling the pressure. The last thing Microsoft wants to do is not take advantage of that. Look for Microsoft’s Windows Phone to become more popular in the coming years as Apple continues to take the fight to Android.
8. Consumers start to care
Right now, it’s probably hard to find a single person that actually understands and truly cares what’s going on between Apple and Samsung. But now that a significant ruling has come down, there’s a good chance that’s going to change. Consumers are going to care more and more about this problem if it affects the number and the quality of the mobile devices they have to chose from. And as they do, sales will be affected in meaningful ways./p>
9. Android itself is hurt
Android development is now in a strange position. When Google designs the next version of its operating system and vendors put their own tweaks into action, they’ll need to worry quite a bit about Apple’s patents. Of course, they cared before. But now that Apple has won a case and is taking the lead in litigation, it’ll be hard for the companies to do all they want without at least thinking twice.
10. Apple plays the bully
Although Apple is celebrating today, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s coming out of this case smelling like roses. The company is at risk of looking like a bully that wants to win the mobile space through litigation. For now, that might not be a problem. But in the coming months, as things change and consumers take more notice, it could cause real issues.