August 27, 2012

"So why did Apple sue Samsung, the Galaxy hardware manufacturer, and not Google, maker of the phone's Android software?"

"Apple sees Google as its chief competitor—this is no secret."
Steve Jobs so hated Google's Android that, even as he struggled with cancer, he told biographer Walter Isaacson: "Google . . . ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. . . . I'm willing to go thermonuclear on this."

61 comments:

LordSomber said...

"...Thus, I give up the spear!"

Shanna said...

Is this a good thread to mention I just bought an iphone?

I feel like I joined a cult but I do really like the thing.

Paddy O said...

"So why did Apple sue Samsung, the Galaxy hardware manufacturer, and not Google, maker of the phone's Android software?"

Racism.

What, you thought Apple products being all white was a matter of aesthetics?

Robert Cook said...

Well, he's right...Android is a rip-off of the iPhone OS. What particularly aggrieved Jobs, I'm sure, is that Eric Schmidt, the the former CEO of Google, was on the Board of Directors at Apple when the iPhone was in development and he was privy to information about the iPhone before it came to market. Jobs had very good reason to consider that their product had been ripped off.

Shanna said...

Maybe, but they also tried to go after the tablet because of the 'rectangle' shape, which is pretty absurd and I think got thrown out.

Robert Cook said...

As to why they sued Samsung and not Google? It may be because Samsung promoted their Android phones with ads that accentuated the similarities in appearance of their phones to the iPhone. Apple's claim is that Samsung profited by attempting to confuse people that their Android phones were the same product as the iPhone. This was back when the iPhone was a new product and many consumers not so involved in tech news may very well have been unaware of the difference.

mark said...

@Cook "Android is a rip-off of the iPhone OS"

Bull. I've used handheld computers, smart phones, and tablets for years before iOS products existed. Apple took well known ideas, features, and working products in the industry and patented the basic concepts.

Software, look/feel, and concept patents need to be wiped entirely from the law.

creeley23 said...

Apple sued Samsung because it was the low-hanging fruit. It's not that hard to get away with copying if you don't do it too slavishly. Samsung didn't bother.

I bought a Samsung Gaxay Tab last year and cursed the crummy design of its cable with slick shiny slippery plastic housing the connectors and lacking the tactile cues that distinguish the top side from the bottom, so it's always a fiddly hassle to plug the cable in to the computer or to the tablet.

When I got an iPod Touch this year, I discovered the same stupid cable design. Samsung had copied it from Apple.

Paddy O said...

Anyhow, Apple didn't make the iphone.

Probably why he didn't sue Google. They're both based in California.

They shared the roads they moved your goods to market on; they both hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; they were safe in their factories because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.

They didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at their factories, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Meanwhile, in Korea, Samsung stole from all the work we Californians put into developing the Iphone.

rhhardin said...

Thanks to weird juries and patent law, we have all the incentives directed towards suing competition out of existence and no incentive directed towards making products more useful.

As Boldrin explained.

A nation of rent-seeking special interests.

Kirk Parker said...

"Software, look/feel, and concept patents need to be wiped entirely from the law."

Don't forget "business process", too.

BarryD said...

So wait... Steve Jobs expected Apple, with it's entirely closed system and draconian censorship, to have the only "smart phone" on the market, forever?

Like everyone was supposed to say, "Oh, that's pretty neat. No way we're going to try making something in the same product class. Let Apple have a monopoly."

While the Macintosh exists today ONLY because it "ripped off" UNIX?

The aspect ratio of the iPad is the same as the NTSC TV (a mistake IMO). Is that a "ripoff"?

Apple makes some GREAT products these days. It came back from the dead, by winning over consumers to overpriced, closed systems, because those systems are just SO DAMNED GOOD. They really are.

But if Apple doesn't want to repeat its own near-death experience, it can't rest on its laurels again, and try to use lawsuits to protect itself from inevitable competition.

If Apple doesn't have any new and good ideas, that people want, it will die, just like former major players like Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation, Silicon Graphics, etc. Apple helped kill all of them -- and arguably killed SGI directly and deliberately. Why should Apple be immune?

Also, Android sucked to high heaven in its early revisions. Clearly, the Android people have done a lot of work. Had they actually just copied the iPhone, the early revs wouldn't have been such crap.

Robert Cook said...

Mark,

Apple made a product using pre-existing technology and concepts and put their own polish on it. They took products that had failed consistently in the market place, (tablet computers) or which were largely niche products, (Blackberry smartphones and their like), and made a product that appealed to the mass audience.

Google's Android is a copy of what Apple made of disparate other products.

Fernandinande said...

Apple = rent seekers.

mark said...

@Kirk: "Don't forget 'business process', too"

Yep. Those as well.

BarryD said...

Addendum: this lawsuit makes Apple look pretty bad, to me.

It makes it look like Apple is out of ideas. 5 years ago, Apple wasn't spending its resources on patent trolling. It saw more profit in products.

Could this mean that, for the first time in a number of years, Apple has nothing new to offer in the near future?

Fernandinande said...

Apple = rent seekers.

Robert Cook said...

BarryD,

I don't think even a megalomaniac like Jobs expected they would not have competition. Again, he was aggrieved at what he viewed as Google's direct copy of the iPhone GUI.

Look at the new Windows smartphones. They don't look anything like the iPhone, which shows you can make the same kind of products many different ways.

(I'm an iPhone user and fan, but if I ever were inclined to switch, I'd go with the Windows phone, precisely because it provides a truly alternative alternative. Why use a copy of the iPhone when the iPhone is available?)

Robert Cook said...

"Could this mean that, for the first time in a number of years, Apple has nothing new to offer in the near future?"

With Jobs' demise, this may prove to be the case. It's too soon to tell, and I, personally, hope not.
However, this suit was driven by Jobs himself, for purely personal reasons.

creeley23 said...

Why use a copy of the iPhone when the iPhone is available?

How about the premium price of Apple products and the insanely closed ecosystem of the iPhone/iPad/iPod?

BarryD said...

"When I got an iPod Touch this year, I discovered the same stupid cable design. Samsung had copied it from Apple."

The thing is, without cable standards, the world of electronics would suck.

Before we had some real or de facto standards, it did suck, with all sorts of expensive proprietary crap required to do common things.

Balfegor said...

"So why did Apple sue Samsung, the Galaxy hardware manufacturer, and not Google, maker of the phone's Android software?"

This is why:

2011 Q2 smartphone market share:
Samsung: 17%
Apple: 18.8%

2012 Q2 smartphone market share:
Samsung: 32.6%
Apple: 16.9%

Apple will get a big boost the next time it releases a new product, but it's clear that at this point, Samsung is beating them with consumers.

BarryD said...

"Again, he was aggrieved at what he viewed as Google's direct copy of the iPhone GUI."

I deal with both daily, and this is simply not the case.

And how much do you deal with the underlying OS and software?

It's not the same, for better or for worse.

Jay said...


Shanna said...
Is this a good thread to mention I just bought an iphone?


Why now? The newest one comes out next month!

Shanna said...

Jay, I am not an early adopter. I am a 'wait till they get cheap enough to justify' consumer of electronics.

The iphone was on sale for 129. The new one will probably be twice that.

BarryD said...

"I, personally, hope not."

Me, too. Apple has driven the market forward by leaps and bounds lately, with huge benefits to consumers and other businesses, even with Apple's unabashed pricing.

But the fact is, companies who are confident that they can beat their competitors in the marketplace, with newer and better ideas, don't spend their money on frivolous lawsuits.

The last time Apple did this, they handed Microsoft an instruction sheet for just what parts of the GUI were really Apple's copyrightable ideas. Microsoft was ecstatic, because the list was a lot shorter than what it had expected. Thus, Windows 95 was born, and killed Apple off. Apple was saved by a cash infusion FROM MICROSOFT that was done for reasons other than direct monetary benefit. Microsoft wanted to save itself from laws limiting monopoly, so it needed a competitor, if a pathetic one at the time.

Were it not for this, Apple would no longer exist.

One would think that Apple would learn from its own enormous mistake, less than 20 years ago.

creeley23 said...

The thing is, without cable standards, the world of electronics would suck.

BarryD: Reread my comment. I'm not talking about cable standards but the user aesthetics packaging the standards.

Widmerpool said...

I must confess Robert Cook, I do not understand the solicitousness for Apple. I'm a consumer and I want what's best for consumers - more choice, lower price, etc. Apple and it's rent-seeking stand in the way.

creeley23 said...

Android is not a rip-off of Apple's iOS and thank God for that. If you're a software developer, you're quite aware of the differences. The Android OS and its tools are hands-down superior. Furthermore iOS apps crash significantly more often than Android, also unsurprising to developers on both platforms.

Tibore said...

" "Google . . . ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong."

Were Jobs still alive, he should thank God that Xerox didn't feel the same way about his Lisa and first gen Mac.

Jay said...

Shanna,

that makes sense. The iPhone 5 will be very pricey.

BarryD said...

"BarryD: Reread my comment. I'm not talking about cable standards but the user aesthetics packaging the standards."

Ah. I did misread that. :)

Apple has always valued aesthetics over function. I take this for granted.

Sometimes, this really works well. Sometimes, it sucks.

Jay said...

Is anyone else noting the irony of Robert Cook, who comes here to bash capitalism daily, owning an iPhone?

BarryD said...

"The Android OS and its tools are hands-down superior."

And ironically, built on the same evergreen OS foundation that turned the Macintosh from a pathetic, unreliable, dog-slow, overpriced POS into a value-priced SGI killer...

Bruce Hayden said...

Apple sued Samsung because it was the low-hanging fruit. It's not that hard to get away with copying if you don't do it too slavishly. Samsung didn't bother.

I think that that is right. Samsung doesn't appear to have made any effort to do anything on its own here, or to try to see what was unique to Apple and what was old and not novel. Apparently, the Samsung execs were pretty evasive in their testimony, and there is a lot of evidence of actual copying, as opposed to independent creation.

Which gets us to another point, and that was that the jury apparently determined that the infringement was intentional, which opens Samsung up to treble damages. Plus, of course, injunctive relief, which has become somewhat hard to get prior to trial. On the flip side, there are still post-judgment motions and appeal, but my understanding is that the jury instructions were, to say the least, quite extensive, and the jury found infringement on a decent number of design and utility patents, so while they may get some relief around the margins, I think it unlikely that they will get all that much of it.

Bruce Hayden said...

We are still a bit amazed at how technically competent the jury turned out to apparently be. There are a couple of jurors whom I think that I would have used peremptory challenges to remove, if I had been the Samsung attorneys.

Balfegor said...

Re: barryD:

If Apple doesn't have any new and good ideas, that people want, it will die, just like former major players like Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation, Silicon Graphics, etc. Apple helped kill all of them

Well, not Compaq. Compaq failed because they made the worst, most un-reliable computers I have ever used (excepting mid-to-late 90's Apple Macintoshes, which were the worst, bar none).

Re: Bruce Hayden:

We are still a bit amazed at how technically competent the jury turned out to apparently be. There are a couple of jurors whom I think that I would have used peremptory challenges to remove, if I had been the Samsung attorneys.

Maybe. I haven't followed the case closely enough to tell, but from the news reports it sounds like the case was a comedy of errors from beginning to end on the part of Samsung's lawyers. A huge chunk of their supporting evidence seems to have been excluded from the trial simply because they failed to disclose the exhibits timely.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Jobs died before he could be reminded, "You didn't build that."

creeley23 said...

And ironically, built on the same evergreen OS foundation that turned the Macintosh from a pathetic, unreliable, dog-slow, overpriced POS into a value-priced SGI killer...

BarryD: SGI was killed by off-the-shelf PCs running Linux and BSD, not by the Mac. By the time Apple put BSD under the Mac's hood, SGI was already a zombie company.

The Mac has always had a premium price, but it was neither pathetic nor dog-slow. The original 68K Mac was a joy and ran like a top. The Mac became slower and less reliable as Apple lost the plot, while competing with Windows, and scrambled fitfully to update its underlying OS and CPU.

You may be thinking of that terrible interim period when the Mac was flailing. After Jobs returned and the Mac settled its OS on BSD and NextStep, and its CPU on x86, the situation stabilized, but in my experience the Mac is now less reliable than Windows.

(Reliability varies greatly because Windows supports a vast range of hardware configurations, while the Mac far fewer.)

Bob Ellison said...

"Stole" and "ripped off" are fighting words, but not legal ones unless they involve actual property: in this case, intellectual property.

I haven't read up on this case, but Apple's own history of stealing UI and IP and notions, and its history of marketing its products as inventions when they weren't, suggests to me that this case will be hurtful to small companies, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

However, Apple makes exceptionally outstanding products. Why can't they rest on that laurel? Must they kill every competitor? That, they cannot do.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bob Ellison:

However, Apple makes exceptionally outstanding products. Why can't they rest on that laurel?

Because Samsung's products are good enough that consumers will pick Samsung instead of Apple.

Must they kill every competitor?

No, just the ones that pose a real threat. Other than Samsung and Apple, the other big players in the smartphone market have all been losing market share.

Revenant said...

Well, he's right...Android is a rip-off of the iPhone OS.

Eh. The iPhone's a ripoff of early Microsoft products.

None of these companies should have been allowed patents. There isn't a single original piece of technology in the iPhone.

BarryD said...

"The Mac has always had a premium price, but it was neither pathetic nor dog-slow."

From the introduction of System 7 to the switch to UNIX-based OS X, it sure as hell was.

WRT SGI, you're forgetting the timeline. :)

"For eight consecutive years (1995–2002), all films nominated for an Academy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Visual Effects were created on Silicon Graphics computer systems."

2002 marked the year that OS X was pre-loaded on all Macs. The Mac made inroads in professional film production rather quickly, and the Apple machines were indeed a good deal cheaper than SGIs while providing a factory-supported, off-the-shelf system.

Linux, etc. certainly had an impact, as it continues to have. However, it was still more a tinkerers' OS in 2002. RHE changed that, a short time later, but the Macintosh became and remains a powerful force in the market SGI once ruled.

sonicfrog said...

What do I think about all this???

Breaking News! Apple Patents Breathing – Lawsuit Against Biosphere Iminent!

:-)

cacchip said...

http://www.groklaw.net/ has some great writing on these types of cases. From their point of view the case was flawed from the start and the jury really blew it. Not to mention that the judge was biased in Apple's favor. I will be amazed if the ruling survives an appeal.

Robert Cook said...

"Is anyone else noting the irony of Robert Cook, who comes here to bash capitalism daily, owning an iPhone?"

You either misread me or you're misrepresenting me. I don't bash capitalism qua capitalism, although there are probably good reasons to do so. I bash unregulated capitalism, which becomes, as we have seen, predatory capitalism.

mark said...

Robert,

"Google's Android is a copy of what Apple made of disparate other products."

Like I said before, no they didn't. I've been hands on with both from early on. As far as UI goes (because Android and iOS are only software), both developed into what they are today slowly and naturally. By creating new ideas and copying ideas from each other, Palm, WebOS, Symbian, and others. The latest iOS borrowed a lot from Android and WebOS for notifications. And it is still much much worse then either on that.

At the developer level Android is worlds above iOS. Easier to develop for, cheaper to develop for, and the programmer is given for more rights to create something new and innovative (multi-tasking, better notifications, use your own language interpreter, Linux kernel over BSD, etc).

As far as hardware ... there are only so many ways you can make a flat rectangle with a screen. At least my $100 Android 4.0 tablet has HDMI out, USB client/host, micro SDHC, and I don't need to even sync (or talk to) Google servers. On that alone it is superior to the iPad.

Balfegor said...

re: mark:

At least my $100 Android 4.0 tablet has HDMI out, USB client/host, micro SDHC.

What tablet are you using? I thought the cheapest full-featured tablet on the market right now was the new Google Nexus 7" tablet, but that's $200 and it doesn't have micro-SD support.

Methadras said...

Samsung is a rung on the ladder. Win against them, then go after google next with judgment in hand.

mark said...

Balfegor,

I have the Arnova 7 G3 (generation 3). You can get it for $99 from jr.com with free shipping. Archos is a French company who also created a path for some of cheap Chinese Android tablets to make it to the international market. Those are the Arnova line ( http://arnovatech.com ). The tablets are just Archos approved rebrands of OEM tablet. You do see lots of weird names for the different versions: 7 G3, 7b G3, 7c G3, 7d G3, and 7f G3 for the 7 inch 3rd generation series. I like the 7 G3 best.

Each of these are non-Google certified. So, you don't get Google Play Store out of the box. And you don't need to join Google's cloud out of the box either. It is easy to get Google's apps and store installed through the ArcTools app. But, they are not needed if you don't want them.

You can find lots of $100-ish Android 4.0 tablets on the market due to the hardware manufacturers making them faster, better, and cheaper every couple of months. It is the only way to survive in a world of hundreds of similar competitors. Which is what you get by them using the same free OS (Android 4) based on the Linux kernel. Fast software development for low cost due to shared software efforts.

If you are interested in innovation, check out the official Archos 10th generation line. Or the Hackberry A10 from MiniAnd.

Bruce Hayden said...

I will be amazed if the ruling survives an appeal.

Is this an informed decision, or is it an emotional one? Do you have specific knowledge of which patents you think were either not infringed or were invalid as lacking novelty, being obvious, etc?

The problem for Samsung is that they need plain error, and not harmless error, to put aside a jury decision. And, that most likely requires that there be significant problems with the jury instructions. And, keep in mind that there were a number of Apple patents asserted, and any single one would likely be worth, say, a 1% reasonable royalty.

Having glanced over the jury instructions, I am less sure of this than you are.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bruce Hayden:

Is this an informed decision, or is it an emotional one? Do you have specific knowledge of which patents you think were either not infringed or were invalid as lacking novelty, being obvious, etc?

The problem for Samsung is that they need plain error, and not harmless error, to put aside a jury decision. And, that most likely requires that there be significant problems with the jury instructions
.

I have no opinion as to whether Samsung/Quinn Emanuel would prevail on appeal, but aren't they likely to appeal on grounds that exclusion of their evidence or exclusion of some of their arguments re: validity constituted reversible error warranting retrial, rather than on the basis of the jury instructions as such? Samsung's counsel made a big fuss early on in the trial when half their evidence was excluded on the grounds that they, uh, hadn't disclosed it timely to the other side (ambush strategy?), so one would think that would be first on their list of arguments.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do agree - I was talking about your average patent case, but you are right that exclusion of evidence can swing an appeal. I would think though that the burden would be fairly significant on Samsung to show that they should have been able to introduce the evidence, despite what the judge likely thought to be intentional dilatory actions during discovery.

BTW - here is the actual jury verdict (pdf).

Balfegor said...

Here's an interesting roundup of commentary on the verdict, highlighting sloppiness by the jury, and suggesting that they didn't bother to read the instructions very carefully.

Beldar said...

Before seeing Prof. Althouse's link and quote in this post, I posted my own take on Rich Karlgaard's WSJ op-ed: Is either Apple or Samsung to be, or not to be? Sample lines:

"Mr. Karlgaard is absolutely right to note that there's a Shakespearian quality to this long-running and ongoing drama. But they're not re-running the same play every night, or even relying upon a static cast of players...."

cacchip said...

Re: Bruce Hayden: read groklaw. they cover it in far more depth than I can do in a single comment. Yes it is a very informed decision. Here is one interesting note - On appeal, Samsung would likely argue that Judge Koh's ruling to keep evidence of "prior art"—evidence that designs similar to Apple's iPhone and iPad existed before Apple got certain patents on those products—out of the hands of the jury was wrong and that the case should be retried.

Early on in the trial, Samsung strenuously objected to Judge Koh's decision to exclude evidence it argued proved Apple copied elements of the iPhone from Sony Corp., which could have been used to undercut the validity of patents on Apple designs.

cacchip said...

Also Bruce according to the foreman the jury didn't read the instructions. From the Verge's live blog:

The foreman told a court representative that the jurors had reached a decision without needing the instructions.

Beldar said...

Judges read the entire jury charge, including all the instructions and definitions and jury questions, to the entire jury in open court as part of the record before the jury begins its deliberations.

In this case, I've read that that took hours.

It's also quite common for judges to give jurors their own sets of written instructions to read and follow along as the judge is reading them aloud, but I don't know if that was done in this case or not.

Whether, and how frequently, the jurors then decide to refer back to their written instructions is entirely up to them.

A short deliberation simply means the jurors had all, or nearly all, reached agreement, or near-agreement, independently before they began deliberating. It does NOT imply carelessness or breach of duty on the jurors' part.

A few years ago, I tried a two-week medical malpractice case in which the entirety of jury deliberations was eight minutes. They obviously spent no time re-reading and arguing over the court's charge, nor did they need to. They spent more time picking a forum than they did discussing the case, but all twelve of them were already in agreement about the case when the deliberations started. They'd paid close attention, and the fact that they all reached the same conclusions simply meant that the outcome of the case was, to them, obvious.

Beldar said...

Sorry, meant "picking a foreman." If I'd said "presiding juror," which is the modern nomenclature, I suppose I wouldn't have made that particular mistake.

john smith said...

I don't really understand why anyone would think Android is a rip-off, the cellphone industry is suppose to find new technology to add to their phones and other devices. Apple didn't invent the touch screen and models like SIRI have been made before (just maybe not as accurate, SIRI itself is inaccurate.)
The only reason I can think of is that Apple simply is just wanting to destroy all other competing companies by saying they copied their phone because it' slim/flat, has a touch screen and it comes in black and white " just like the iphone ".

people are bound to think/invent similar things.

On another note, 'I' feel like Apple hasn't done so great with handling the company.

Joshua john said...

I believe that the reason for Apple going after Samsung, is because apple feels that they can no longer maintain a competitive edge in the handheld market. With Android being more user friendly, and the handheld devices being somewhat cheaper, more people are moving to Android. I have friends that have made the switch from the iphone to Samsung/Google/Android devices, and they have said that they regret that they took so long to make the move, and that the ease of use is by far better than the iPhone.