Samsung Galaxy Tab Ban the Latest Stumble on a Road to Success

The Galaxy Tab was banned from the United States, customers are still awaiting their Galaxy S III smartphones and low-end smartphones face new competition. Does it matter?

Samsung is finding the climb to the top of the mobile industry to be a slippery one.

In Samsung€™s ongoing patent disputes with Apple, a U.S. District judge in California, Lucy Koh, sided with Apple June 26, ruling that Samsung€™s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet should not be available for sale in the United States. Following rulings in Germany and Australia, hers was the third court to decide this.

€œAlthough Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,€ Koh wrote, according to a report from Reuters. The order will become effective once Apple posts a $2.6 million bond, meant to protect Samsung from any damages suffered, should the injunction later be found to be incorrect.

Even with this safety net in place, Samsung€™s legal team didn€™t rest for a moment. The lawyers filed an appeal approximately five hours later€”€œrecord time,€ wrote consultant and patent expert Florian Mueller on his Foss Patents blog. Mueller added that the ruling gives strength to Apple€™s €œcopycat€ allegations, which say the iPad and Galaxy Pad 10.1 are €œsubstantially similar.€ In court, according to Mueller, Koh held up both devices at a distance, and Samsung€™s legal counsel was unable to tell them apart. Not great for Samsung€™s argument.

In competing against the Apple iPhone, Samsung would appear to be having better luck. Sales of its Galaxy S III smartphone are expected to exceed 10 million units by July, JK Shin, head of Samsung€™s mobile division, told reporters earlier this week, adding that second-quarter revenue is expected to exceed that of its first.

During the first quarter of 2012, Apple€™s smartphone sales increased 88.7 percent year-over-year. Samsung€™s smartphone shipments grew 267 percent during that time, according to IDC.

Meeting such demand, however, is proving trickier than Samsung expected, and now it isn€™t expected to deliver the devices before the close of its second-quarter, June 30, shifting its revenue to the second half of the year.

Investment firm Barclays cut its second-quarter Samsung Galaxy S III sales forecast but raised its forecast for the third-quarter.

After debuting in 28 countries May 29, the Galaxy S III was to launch in the United States on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks June 21, before continuing on to Verizon Wireless, AT&T and U.S. Cellular. When the date arrived, however, T-Mobile had only 16GB models in stock. Sprint was made to issue a statement saying that due to worldwide €œoverwhelming demand,€ it had zilch to offer.

On June 28 Sprint finally shared that 16GB and 32GB models, in both blue and white, will be available July 1.

AT&T has been coy about the phone€™s sales date all along, saying it will ship in July, but now it, too, is citing €œsupply constraints,€ and with July nearing, it still has no firm date for shipping even preordered devices.

The Verizon Wireless site maintains that its Galaxy S III devices will ship by July 11.

Samsung is said to also be dealing with the matter of competitors swarming it in the low-end smartphone market, forcing the company to consider price dips on already inexpensive phones designed for markets such as China. However, analysts told The Wall Street Journal, according to a June 28 report, that as long as sales of high-end smartphones remain strong, no one is too concerned.

€œWe are convinced that the company€™s earnings cycle is still far from the peak,€ brokerage firm Barclays reported, according to The Journal.

While Samsung may occasionally lose its footing, unlike too many of its competitors, it is at least on the right road and headed in the right direction.

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