• Apple vs Samsung: I Don't See How Consumers Will Lose

    If you haven't heard by now, Apple won a decisive victory against Samsung in a San Jose California court last Friday and the jury awarded $1.049 billion in damages to Apple for Samsungís design and software patent infringements as well as trade dress.

    Even though the trial is over (Samsung is sure to appeal of course), it seems like there are a myriad of tech writers lamenting the fact that Apple's win over Samsung is going to be catastrophic for consumers because it's apparently going to stifle innovation and jack up the prices of Samsung devices if they were to license any of Apple's patents.

    I'm no genius but graciously disagree with what these tech writers are implying.

    I'm a huge fan of the video podcast MacBreak Weekly hosted by Leo Laporte. It regularly stars Chicago Sun Times' Andy Ihnatko and Pixel Corps' Alex Lindsay as guests on the show. What I have found in recent episodes of the show was that Leo and Andy have been lauding how awesome the Samsung Galaxy S3 is and Leo loves it so much that it has become his primary day to day go to device.

    On the other hand, Andy's main gripe with the iPhone is the device's "small" 3.5 inch screen. He loves the huge screen on this Galaxy S3 and on every episode of MacBreak Weekly, constantly reminds viewers that whenever he stares at his iPhone, he wishes that it had the screen estate of the Galaxy S3.

    What I don't understand is if Andy loves his Galaxy S3's so much, why does he wish that the iPhone have the same screen estate as the S3? Did he love everything about the iPhone but wished it had a bigger screen? Did he hate everything about his S3 as an Android device and just loved the big screen on it?

    So many questions, so little answers.

    I personally love the 3.5 inch screen on the iPhone and wants it to stay that way. Isn't that the whole point of having choices? Why must the iPhone "copy" the S3 into having a huge screen?

    If I wanted to listen or watch a podcast about Android devices, I wouldn't be watching MacBreak Weekly to hear a couple of old men telling me how awesome their S3s are.

    Did Andy ever wonder that there was a reason why Apple kept the iPhone's screen at 3.5 inches? Designer Dustin Curtis shed some light on this and I have to agree when I tried using the Galaxy Nexus, it was pretty cumbersome to use with one hand (and I have HUGE hands).

    I am the first to admit that I'm a huge Apple fanboy BUT on top of that, I'm also a fanboy of good products. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 and I'm sure the Galaxy S3 as well, are extremely well built high quality Android devices. I would know because I've used the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 and yes, they were not to my liking but that didn't make them bad products in my eyes.

    So it's fair to say that Andy Ihnatko have been on my nerves for the last couple of weeks but some of the comments in his recent article that he wrote after the Apple vs Samsung trial surely takes the cake for me.

    Samsung will be fine. The biggest losers here are consumers. If the verdict stands, then the costs of the judgment will be reflected in the cost of mobile devices. Furthermore, other manufacturers will feel the need to buy Appleís official permission to build useful phones, passing down the possible $20-per-handset fee.
    Why the hell is he fear mongering by implying that Apple winning the trial is going to result in price increases for mobile devices? Is he implying Samsung, or any other manufacturer is going to make consumers pay more because they are too lazy to innovate, to do things differently and have to license Apple's patents? How is that Apple's fault?

    Samsung has proved with the Galaxy S3 that they CAN produce something different from Apple's iPhone and probably should have done so in the first place. The fact was that Samsung copied, sold tons of phones, Apple wasn't happy about it, sued Samsung and won. How is that a loss for consumers? The only losers here should be Samsung's credibility. Isn't this going to push Samsung to innovate and probably create different and maybe better products for consumers that doesn't confuse them with an iPhone?

    So isn't Apple winning a win for consumers?

    He goes on to say the following further along in his article:

    And itís possible that the next great phone, the one that shames the iPhone the same way that the iPhone buried the Blackberry, will never make it to market. Designing and selling an advanced smartphone just became a dangerous business.
    Not one person that I know of that saw the iPhone in 2007 thought that they look like a Blackberry or operates like one. Apple came into a stagnant mobile device market in 2007 and blew everyone else out of the water by making a device that was fun yet easy to use.

    Blackberry's selling point at that time was their security and their Blackberry Messenger service (which has always boggled my mind how BBM can be touted as a feature when it's platform dependent compared to other IM services like MSN and Gtalk. I will probably rant about Blackberries another time.). Apple's first generation iPhone had none of those two features but still sold a ton of iPhones.

    And how did Apple do that? It was pretty simple really. Everything that RIM didn't do well with the Blackberry, Apple made sure they did with the iPhone, and made sure they made it the best. In my opinion, it was Apple's attention to details and finding new ways (that has never been used by masses before) to solve old problems that attributed to the iPhone's success.

    So again I'm pondering how these tech writers for established publishers come to a conclusion that Apple winning its trial against Samsung is going to stop the next great smart phone from emerging and in Andy Ihnatko's words, putting the iPhone to shame? Stopping manufacturers from copying Apple is only going to make them push their boundaries, get out of their comfort zone of mimicking whatever comes out of Cupertino and find better and more interesting new ways to beat Apple's iPhone.

    Isn't this going to promote competition and increase choices for consumers? Don't like Apple's draconian ecosystem for their iOS devices? Get an Android or Windows device then. Apple isn't forcing anyone to use an iOS device.

    I leave you with a final quote from Macro Arment, creator of Instapaper, who read the same article and said:

    Unoriginal manufacturers will need to pay for their unoriginality. The most reasonable course of action, therefore, is to truly innovate and design products that arenít such close copies.
    I'm so upset I think I might go lie down for a bit.

    About the author
    Alvin is an ovo-lacto vegetarian, Apple fanboy, social media whore, programming aficionado, photography zealot and Manchester United fan.

    You can voice your discontent about him at his twitter account, @alvinng or read his musings about football(soccer), technology and women at alvinng.com

    All opinions voiced by Alvin are his and his only and does not reflect the views of his loving parents or employer, Monash University. He is not a web or Twitter troll.

    Image Credits
    Top image sourced from Innovation Point of View
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