So the dust is beginning to settle after the so-called tech court case of the decade. Apple has come out the victor and Samsung supposedly have been crushed – or at least their lawyers have. So what’s next?
For Apple it will be business as usual, there will no doubt be an appeal, there is talk of the Supreme Court becoming involved however for now Apple have successfully defended the validity of their patents as well as their trade dress and their case has been upheld in the eyes of the law. Apple’s lawyers will undoubtedly have a list of companies that are next on the list but this may well wait until after any possible appeal.
So what about Samsung and Android. Twitter seems full of people proclaiming the rapid demise of Google’s OS, apparently Windows Phone is about to rise, the CEO’s are on the phone to Microsoft as we speak and development for Android will cease.
Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei, and not to mention the now Google owned Motorola have poured millions between them in research and development for the Android platform. Most have their own take on the OS and have adapted it to suit them, are they really going to abandon all that work, effort and money on the back of one court case that may yet be overturned?
The real point here is that the mobile industry has never stood still, handsets today are unrecognisable from their ancestors of only 10 years ago, the operating systems that were dominant only 6 years ago have all but disappeared to be replaced by other, better ones, and in fact many of the handsets that appeared in the case are now yesterdays news.
This change is inexorable and will not stop.
Lessons do need to be learned, it is obvious to anyone with eyes that certain (if not all) design cues for the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy SII appear to have been taken from the iPhone, a document detailing what they did really wasn’t needed. A complete redesign was undertaken for the SIII and the sales figures and hype surrounding it show what (in some peoples eyes) good design can achieve without copying others and if patents really stifle innovation then why was the Galaxy SIII a complete change in design?
In another sense nothing will change, the manufacturers will go on churning out handsets with their various adaptations of Android – complete with license agreements or workarounds, there will still be the Android v Apple argument over which is better and mobiles will still sell in their millions every year.
In 5 years time the court case will just be another page on a history book, Android will probably still be the OS with the biggest market share while Apple will still have people queuing outside their stores for days waiting for the latest iPhone and this is simply because most people not involved in some way with technology don’t care about patents being copied, who designed what or where their mobile device came from, they just want a phone that works.