As one of the world’s leading technology companies, Samsung Electronics Co. is finally suing the company it has enjoyed a great relationship with – Apple.
According to the Guardian, “Samsung formally submitted complaints to courts in Seoul, Tokyo and Mannheim, Germany, alleging Apple infringed patents related to mobile-communications technologies, Suwon-based Samsung said in an e-mailed statement today. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment and referred back to the company’s complaint filed last week.”
The litigation is likely to have a profound impact on the relationship between Apple and Samsung. Amid burgeoning demand for smartphones, tablets, and myriad other mobile devices, Apple’s Chief, Steve Jobs has dubbed 2011 the “Year of Copycats”.
According Chang Sea Jin, business professor at National University of Singapore, “Apple is trying to annoy Samsung – they’re throwing a ball at Samsung to keep them in check - this is strictly business. The typical way to deal with cases like this is to counter sue. It’s not between the management of Samsung and Apple, their lawyers will work it out.”
Samsung is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, and counts Apple as its second-largest customer. Maybe not the wisest move on Apple’s part, but clearly they are on the offensive, as they face pressure on multiple fronts. Still, they’ve got the high end margin game well established for the iPhone, and will retain leadership of the tablet space until 2015.
As for the changing relationship between Apple and Samsung, Chang had this to say: “Apple may try to diversify their suppliers and reduce their reliance on Samsung,” ”but no other company has as low costs as Samsung, so Apple won’t likely drop Samsung altogether.”
According to court documents originally pulled by the Guardian, “Samsung is infringing seven patents related to the way the Galaxy devices understand user gestures, including selecting, scrolling, pinching and zooming, Apple said in its April 15 complaint. Samsung is also infringing three patents on the design, including the flat black face of the iPhone and iPad, according to Apple’s complaint. The Galaxy phones and tablet, which use Android software, were specifically designed to copy Apple products, Apple said.”
Apple is seeking a court order to block further use of its patents and trademarks, along with cash compensation and “reasonable funds for future corrective advertising.”
Samsung’s mobile-phone business “crossed the line,” Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, said this week after the company reported profit that almost doubled from a year ago.
Apple and Google are competing for supremacy in the growing market for smartphones and tablets. Google’s Android software — used by Samsung, HTC, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and other companies — will account for 39.5 percent of global smartphone shipments this year, compared with 15.7 percent for Apple, according to market research firm IDC.
The iPad will continue to dominate the tablet market until at least 2014, and potentially 2015 according to Gartner Inc.
Thoughts? Do you think Apple is in the right suing Samsung?
Image Credit Church of Apple