The right Apple rises
By Adarsh Matham
02nd September 2012 12:00 AM
Technology news usually tends to be as boring as reading a thousand-page discourse on the merits of bringing the Tasmanian tiger back to life. But for the past few weeks it got as exciting as a John Grisham legal thriller, literally.
If you still did not get it, I am referring to the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung that has gone on for a few weeks, and came back with a headline grabbing verdict asking Samsung to pay a billion dollars to Apple for ‘infringing its patents’ and copying its products. While Apple started litigating against Samsung in 2011, the seeds for this litigation go much back to 2007. That was the year that Apple has shaken up the phone business by launching it’s now iconic iPhone. At the time Google’s Eric Schmidt used to be on the board of Apple. When Google came up with it’s Android operating system a few months later, and it bore more than a resemblance to the iPhone, Steve Jobs became furious and Schmidt had to eventually leave Apple’s board. Before his death Steve Jobs would tell his biographer Walter Isaacson, “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear on this.” Keeping up with his word, Apple to this day is trying to stop Android’s march.
While it could go after any number of Android vendors like HTC and Motorola, it went behind Samsung presumably because of its market share and the profits it is racking in from the sale of Android phones. At last count, Apple and Samsung, once best friends ,are involved in 50 lawsuits around the world. But the latest one in California is the biggest of them all, and in it Apple has successfully shown that Samsung has copied its products and patents.
After the $1 billion verdict, Apple’s Tim Cook told his employees that this case was not about money or patents, but about values. He said the verdict has sent out “a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right”. Samsung, in its own statement said that the verdict “should not be seen as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the (American) consumer”. It goes onto argue that the verdict will lead to less innovation and potentially higher prices.
No one has benefitted more from Samsung’s cheap Android phones than Indians. As an Indian, does Samsung’s contention that this is stifling innovation sound right? Not really. Just because it would lead to fewer choices and higher prices, we can not condone stealing. And you are not pricing your phones cheap to do public service. You are just doing business. You can’t steal and say it is for the good of the society, unless you are Robinhood Pandey which you are not.
And then innovation. I personally feel this will lead to more innovation if anything. Samsung has already shown us what is can do when it wants to break free from Apple’s influence with it’s fantastic Galaxy S3. This verdict will stop OS developers, app developers and gadget designers from going near Apple’s innovations, which will force them to be more creative and more innovative if anything. Leaving aside the top Android phones, what we are getting in this country at the moment is cheap, watered down iPhone experience. Hopefully this verdict will change that and will lead to some cheap, proper innovation.
The writer is a tech geek. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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