Unless you’ve had an extraordinarily excellent August vacation, you’re probably aware that Apple won some big computer lawsuit against some other company for a buncha money a coupla weeks ago.
That would be Apple’s victory in a patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The jury slapped Samsung for being iPhone copycats and awarded Apple $1.05 billion. That’s real money, even by Apple standards.
Apple promptly demanded a ban on the sale of eight of the 28 offending Samsung smartphones, aka the eight smartphones which account for most of Samsung’s US business.
It’s worth noting that Samsung’s newest and best-selling smartphone – the Galaxy S III – was not included in the lawsuit, but not to worry. This past Friday, Apple added the S III hottie to a previous, separate infringement lawsuit against Samsung, and threw in Samsung’s new Galaxy Note tablet for good measure.
So what does all this mean?
It means the world has changed. Apple’s iPhone is now forbidden fruit, and most of the non-iPhone smartphone world is now engulfed in FUD. FUD, you say? Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, IBM’s modus operandi back in the day. If IBM didn’t patent FUD, they surely should have.
So now, anybody making an iPhone-ish smartphone risks getting the Samsung treatment, and has some re-engineering to do. This is true for both the smartphone’s hardware and its Android software.
As it happens, the Android software is developed and provided by Google, with whom Apple is having a fierce and savage battle on a number of marketplace fronts. So was this lawsuit really about nailing Google without coming out and saying so? Could be. Who would be surprised? Not this reporter.
And another thing: One possible beneficiary of all this might actually be Microsoft. Yes, that Microsoft. The ‘Softies have smartphone software of their own: Windows Phone. Windows Phone devices haven’t sold well, but are high quality and – importantly now – bear no resemblance whatsoever to the iPhone. FUD-free, in other words.
For Microsoft, the timing couldn’t be better. Next month they’re coming out with what’s surely to be a game-changing new version of Windows, for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The very first Windows Phone 8 smartphone was unveiled last month. The manufacturer? You guessed it: Samsung.