We couldn’t call ourselves a technology blog if we didn’t comment on one of the biggest tech stories of the year – the fact that Apple beat Samsung in a multibillion dollar copyright infringement settlement in South Korea this past week.
The South Korean jury ruled in favor of Apple in overwhelming fashion, awarding the creator of the iPhone and iPad a whopping $1.05 billion in damages. Samsung was convicted of using Apple’s intellectual property – specifically, the unique design of the iPhone and the iPad – to create a wide range of products under the Samsung label, which is illegal under intellectual property law.
To give you an idea of what the jury saw, here is a breakdown of Samsung and Apple products over the years. You can decide for yourself whether or not Samsung infringed on Apple’s copyright:
But will this verdict affect consumers in any way? It most certainly will, and it probably won’t benefit them in any shape or form. Here are a few changes you can expect thanks to this verdict:
Fewer options for consumers
Apple’s products and Samsung’s products look a lot alike from the outside. Samsung smartphones, like the iPhone, are dominated by a single screen and a single button, and Samsung tablets are remarkably similar to the iPad. But when you start using either device, the experience is significantly different.
Samsung smartphones and tablets provided an alternative to the iPad and iPhone. Users might have wanted a device that looked similar to the iPad or iPhone without paying the exorbitant Apple prices or using the so-so iOS interface. After this landmark verdict, consumers will no longer have that option with future devices.
Apple is the most valuable company in the world for a reason. It has huge profit margins on all of its merchandise, and it emphasizes sleek design over performance, which means that it can cut costs on its hardware while charging users higher prices.
While Apple’s products are expensive, Android smartphones and tablets are significantly more affordable. Since Android is a free operating system, hardware manufacturers like Samsung can save money by including it on all their devices. However, Samsung will have to pay this $1.05 billion settlement in some way or another, and the company has suggested that it will do so in the form of higher prices on all Android devices. Other Android manufacturers might follow suit in order to safeguard themselves against future copyright infringement charges.
According to reports, Apple wants to file an injunction against Samsung that would prevent it from selling products on the smartphone and tablet markets for months – and possibly even years. This would tighten Apple’s hold on the market even further, making it difficult for other devices to grab a foothold. Samsung claims the outcome of this trial will result in less innovation in the tech industry, as companies will avoid entering the market with risky new designs and will instead piggy back off the work of others.
Apple products are notoriously unreliable after two to three years of use. It’s virtually impossible to find a MacBook Air owner who has used their device without problems for over two years, and Apple repairs are so expensive that most users simply upgrade to an entirely new device – which is exactly what Apple wants you to do.
With less competition comes fewer options for consumers. Instead of being able to choose smartphones and tablets from reliable companies, consumers will have to choose between the iPhone’s design – and its expensive costs of maintenance – or alternative designs from other companies.
Samsung expressed their views clearly after the verdict was read in the South Korean courtroom: “Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer….it will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices.”
What do you think of this verdict? Is it a win for Apple and a loss for consumers? Or is Samsung being melodramatic? Let us know in the comments!