Samsung vs Apple : Why Apple had to sue Samsung Now?
Recently, Apple sued Samsung for violation of intellectual property rights. Since Samsung was commonly known as the representative of manufacturers copying Apple, this action roused big issues in and out of Korea. Then, let’s talk about this issue from my point of view.
The parts for which Apple sued are the violation of the property right in the exterior, location of buttons, and UI/UX design. There will be many arguments, but I think that Samsung had copied Apple. However, I have a different view on calling it a simple ‘violation.’ The infringement of patent itself would be a fact, but since iPhone created the original form of smartphone, they need some consideration for the newcomers. Currently, all manufacturers of smartphone are using the same smartphone structure, not just Samsung.
And it is difficult to see that it is the product of only one side’s unilateral copying. Between Samsung F700 and iPhone that are known to have similar design in UI structure and the design of full-touch phone, Samsung was few months faster for introducing the product.
Also, one interesting point is that although Apple could have sued all smartphone manufacturers, it sued only two companies, HTC and Motorola. Why not sue all but just two companies? Therefore, the point of attention is not that Samsung was ‘sued’ by Apple, but ‘why’ Apple had to sue Samsung?
Galaxy S was truly the smartphone best seller. It was a big hit that it sold three million in Korea and 14 million around the world. Its sales record was # 1 in Samsung, being the moneymaker product. As a result, in Android OS smartphone category, Samsung’s status increased pretty a lot. Even in early last year, it got pushed by its competitors and became the second to Motorola or HTC. But this year, it grew to be the front-runner of the Android OS smartphone market. Therefore, I cannot say for sure that Apple is thinking of Samsung as it competitor, but it is clear that Apple has begun to notice Samsung.
Of course, Samsung has much of Apple‘s basic structure of smartphone and the original technology of UI/UX. But when we get in further, things change a bit. There are quite many numbers of patents that Samsung possess in the category of communication technology, processor, and storage device. There has been a prediction that it won’t be a hard fight even if Samsung counter-sued Apple regarding the wireless technology patent, and sure enough, Samsung counter-sued Apple for that just recently. Its main content is that Apple infringed 10 patents, including the patents on divided transmission of data, efficiency of transmission, and wireless data communication. For example, Samsung has HSPA telecommunications technology for transmission optimization and the reduction of power usage during data transmission,WCDMA telecommunications technology for reducing date transmission errors, and technology for tethering a mobile phone to a PC to enable the PC to utilize the phone’s wireless data connection.
Moreover, the relationship between Samsung and Apple is a bit strange. This is because, unlike HTC and all, Samsung is not just a smartphone manufacturer, but it is a company that manufactures important components of smartphone such as SSD and CCD. Actually, in 2010, Apple purchased 57 billion dollars of components, becoming the second largest customer of Samsung after Sony. As for Sony, most of the sales had been from purchasing TV LCD modules through the S-LCD collaboration company, which is not much, and then Apple is the real big customer and buyer of Samsung. One manufacturer suing its biggest component supplier for infringement of patents—isn’t that interesting? This is the main key of looking into this case.
Personally, I think that Apple is currently in a stalemate because the perfection of its launched products are too high. As to speak for Apple’s situation, there were many news that the introduction of iPhone 5 would be delayed until September. This might speak for Apple’s technological crisis. Also, Apple must sustain the rational price, as well as the surprising design and innovative technology because that is the reason that the customers seek Apple. However, as I’ve told you above, Apple heavily leans on Samsung for supplying the components. They can do nothing but always sit at a difficult negotiation table with Samsung. Recently, there has been news that the unit price of Apple would increase according to the increase of semiconductor price. In order to demonstrate its lead in such negotiation table, Apple needed the suit— it is a quite convincing story.
Just looking at the surface of this case, it might stop at that Samsung is having a hard time regarding the patent infringement. However, the reality is slightly different. That is why it’s interesting. With this event, Apple might get a better hand in the negotiation with Samsung, and Samsung would gain the image that it is Apple’s competitor. Maybe this will turn out to be a win-win game for two companies.
Not long ago, Samsung‘s Galaxy S2 was launched, and the reviews from in and out of Korea eulogize it. Especially, Engadget selected Galaxy S2 as the best smartphone ( Edgadget Link : Samsung Galaxy S II review ). And Apple is planning to introduce iPhone 5, following after. What ending would these two competing companies create? I shall watch them with interest.