Apple vs. Samsung: Does The Case Benefit The Consumer? The Jury Is Still Out

In the recent Apple vs. Samsung case the U.S. court passed down a judgment which favored Apple. The case is based on Apple’s assertion that Samsung copied portions of the Apple iPhone and iPad operating system/product design features and then incorporated them into similar Samsung phone and tablet products. Apple further asserted that the copying of their products amounts to theft since Apple had no licensing in place with Samsung nor any other usage agreement. The $1.05 billion judgment against Samsung is significant, but that amount represents only 1.5 percent of the company’s total annual revenue. So the Seoul, Korea based electronics giant should survive intact. Interestingly, Google who created the Android operating system used on Samsung phones was not named as a defendant in this legal battle.

How is this ruling likely to affect consumers?
I believe that sales of Samsung and other non-Apple phones will take a short term hit. Apple has also filed to have the Court ban the sale of 8 current models of Android phones In the U.S. This includes the Droid and the hugely popular Galaxy S and Galaxy S II models. The new Galaxy S III model will not be impacted. Some consumers may see this as sufficient reason to purchase an iPhone or iPad instead of an Android based Samsung product. Why? Because they don’t want a product that is perceived as a poor copy of an original. They seek authenticity.

This no doubt will result in a windfall of sorts for Apple, but it will likely be short lived. Samsung is a very competitive company. They are sure to quickly bounce back with attractive new models with great features and competitive prices on all their devices. The Android market is huge and in some cases it’s quickly overtaking Apple’s iPhone in popularity. For example, in Japan the Android phone device is now the dominant leader.

If you’re interested in recent news on the international legal battle between Apple and Samsung here is an article on the subject and another on the Korean court’s decision.

But Samsung has a way to go to reach the “coolness” and customer loyalty that the Apple iPhone and iPad products enjoy. What the company has going for it is a wide range electronic products that are well built and have the features that consumers like at a price that is comparable (if not cheaper) than Apple’s. However, few people wait in long lines at retail stores to be the first to purchase Samsung products as do Apple customers. This does not seem to concern Samsung since they just introduced a new camera with amazing specs that’s been attracting quite a lot attention in the media.

So for consumers this really boils down to a battle of brands and very competitive product marketing. Apple knows how to design and build products the consumer wants. They continue to pioneer new technology and create products that are irresistible. Apple also is a company that seeks to dominate each market it enters. So does Samsung. The iPhone/iPad consumer gets Apple quality, Apple innovation and Apple “cool”. The Samsung Android consumer gets advanced technology products on a widely developed and supported operating system platform.

More competition = better products.
When competition reaches this level the possibilities are limitless. Apple and Samsung will continue to raise the bar on new phone technology. The consumer will see powerful new products that will allow us to interact with almost any device, media type or data service. But as the Apple v. Samsung case has proved, it’s likely to be a very bumpy ride for everyone.

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