You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that Samsung made their products to look like Apple products. They changed their icon styles and other UI elements away from Android standards to match the Apple style.
Some of the things Apple invented and patented on like pinch to zoom and so on Samsung used or copied via Android and or their own UI skin on top of Android.
You just have to look at Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8 or Web OS or Blackberry to realize that you don't have to copy Apple to make a good or great smartphone. Samsung is much closer with the Galaxy S3, too bad they are still cranking out iPad clones with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the like.
But did Apple really invent pinch to zoom? Jeff Han demonstrated pinch to zoom gestures at TED in 2006, Microsoft Surface in 2007 before the iPhone was released, and I've seen various forms of "pinch to zoom" on different tablets and smart board applications.
I think that Apple did a good job developing some multi-touch input standards, like pinch to zoom as an OS standard rather than just a feature specific to an application. I don't think you should be able to patent a standard and it is counter-intuitive to developing a standard to begin with. If we had patents on desktop GUI user input standards like right click, ctrl key modifiers like ctrl-scroll to zoom, etc. then using computers would be a much bigger PITA.
EDIT: Many have rightly pointed out that Apple was first to file and that Jeff Han's work was too close to the filing date to qualify as prior art - However, I was simply asking whether he truly believed Apple "invented" pinch to zoom. Legally you can argue that Apple holds a valid patent as demonstrated by them winning this case - but I think it is invalid to say they "invented" anything as intuitive as pinch to zoom which has been demonstrated in a variety of prototypes, tablets, and applications over 2 decades.
> If we had patents on desktop GUI user input standards like right click, ctrl key modifiers like ctrl-scroll to zoom, etc. then using computers would be a much bigger PITA.
This is the key right here. I don't think everyone fully understands what is happening around these UI patents in the rush to defend someone's "inventions" in the face of would-be-counterfeiters.
One of the most important aspects of patents is that they do not account for independent invention. Leave Apple out of your mind for a minute. Imagine your startup is developing a web or mobile app, and you come up with a nice way of presenting some kind of responsive UI that's well tailored to the data your app displays. It follows naturally from your data model, you end up with some really nice UX, and you get some internet buzz because it's a distinguishing feature of your app (see: pull to refresh, et al).
You will be liable if some company filed a patent for that idea 10 years ago, even if you've never heard of them or their product.
What's particularly insidious about these patents is that there's no real mechanism described here, like you'd have to provide for a mechanical device. Instead, you can get away with describing a "computing device" that "receives user input" and acts on it it in a fairly generic way, and suddenly you have a patent on not an invention, but a whole class of interaction or a generic human movement paired with a particular action on screen.
And you won't know you've infringed until you're sued!
Copyright and trademark have these well covered. They allow for independent invention and are much more specific to a particular expression of an idea. Regardless of copying and just deserts, regardless of the fact that this wasn't going to be settled in this case, no one here should be cheering the current standard for acceptable software patents.
A machine readable storage medium storing executable program instructions which when executed cause a data processing system to perform a method comprising:
- receiving a user input, the user input is one or more input points applied to a touch-sensitive display that is integrated with the data processing system;
- creating an event object in response to the user input;
determining whether the event object invokes a scroll or gesture operation by distinguishing between a single input point applied to the touch-sensitive display that is interpreted as the scroll operation and two or more input points applied to the touch-sensitive display that are interpreted as the gesture operation;
- issuing at least one scroll or gesture call based on invoking the scroll or gesture operation;
- responding to at least one scroll call, if issued, by scrolling a window having a view associated with the event object; and
- responding to at least one gesture call, if issued, by scaling the view associated with the event object based on receiving the two or more input points in the form of the user input.
The last part in particular appears to give Apple exclusive right to direct manipulation of an object on screen via multitouch, since you can't match pixels to touch points without scaling.
This is why patents were not meant for a class of ideas, only actual implementations of ideas. No one deserves a 20 year monopoly on all multitouch interactions involving scaling, and this sure as hell does not promote the progress of the science and arts. I'm eager to hear how the "it encourages innovation by forcing them to come up with new approaches!" crowd suggests designing around this.
If we're going to have to have software patents, we should at least have to do it right, providing extremely specific descriptions of object models and event systems, the same way you have to give diagrams and descriptions of how the new crankshaft you invented physically connects to the motor. That would simultaneously make them much less useful and make them actually analogous to patents of physical devices.
I have a Fingerworks touchpad and it is amazing. Apple is slowly rolling the gestures in their products. For instance with Lion the "click and drag" gesture went from a double-tap-and-hold (Apple standard for years) to a three-finger drag (what it is on my Fingerworks pad).
It's quite possible that both could legitimately patent their inventions.... just as the rotory and the piston engines can both be patented even though both are "internal combustion engines".
Patents don't cover ideas, they cover implementation. Literally if your way of implementing something is the non-obvious way to make something more efficient, you are granted the right to exclusive use of it.
Apple, by act of jury, now has a patent on the idea and not the implementation. The patent is on a capacitive touch screen, but is a jury going to uphold a patent if it is an optical touchscreen? What if I use pinch-zoom on my Kinect?
Please feel free to respond to my post and tell me exactly how I misinterpreted that claim.
Seriously, though, people on HN, etc, read claims far more broadly than a court would. They tend to see "rubber band effect" and think Apple patented all rubber band effects.
Claims start out broadly, and are narrowed by additional elements of the claim. "A rubber band effect THAT: a)... b)... c)..." You can't just ignore (a), (b), (c) because they narrow the boundaries of the claimed invention.
The lunacy here is that apple wasn't even granted the patent over a specific gesture. IE pinch=zoom in and spread=zoom out or vice versa. It's that the movement of pinching/spreading has been patented here in all and every application of the gesture as it would inherently be used for zoom function, despite it being demonstrated prior to that date.
This is like Microsofts multi-click patent, that patents all mouse clicks that can have different functionality. short/long/multiple clicks.
It's like granting Kleenex a patent over all facial tissues and the right to use a piece of tissue for your face. The only competitive idea being a facial cloth like a hankie.
This makes it quite possible that TED 2006 would be too late to be prior art.
In other words, patent #7,812,826 only applies when you pinch to zoom and then pinch to zoom again within a predefined amount of time.
It's like patenting the steering wheel.
Don't pretend it's innovative or took any time whatsoever to come up with.
It's blatantly obvious and should never have been granted.
[Jeff Han's company, and maker of multi-touch user interfaces].
Presumably these patents were still pending during alot of the timeline, as US 7,844,915 has only been out since Nov 2010. It Languished at the patent office for 3.5 yrs?
They've refused to compete with Android on price, features, and form factors and the market has punished them for it. Expect more attacks on Android seeking ridiculous damages for non-essential details of mobile UI design.
However, I strongly suspect Apple is going to regret these tactics in the long run. Once the tiger is out of the cage there's no telling who he will bite.
This isn't an admirable strategy. It's annoying. It's precisely the strategy that major movie studios use to give us one boring, risk-free "blockbuster" after another. The other day I read a history of the making of White Men Can't Jump:
The head of Fox at the time, Joe Roth, mentions, "That movie wouldn't get made today. Us moviemaking guys, the studios, have less courage to make a movie like that today with the kind of racial, sexual overtones." It's sad. I would appreciate a big budget movie studio that did not consistently churn out the safest derivative crap they can.
I do appreciate that there's one consumer electronics company that attempts and succeeds at novel, high risk products. Of course, there's a good chance that risk taking spark died recently, but I have appreciated its presence until now.
Maybe patents are bad, but I don't think is a case where that stance holds much emotional appeal other than to those who like to see Apple lose. Most people think Samsung clearly did something shady here and deserves to be punished.
If this continues we're going to spend the next decade tiptoeing around every trivial implementation detail of mobile UI instead of boldly exploring new ideas. Apple's successful use of the broken patent system sends exactly the wrong signal.
It's not competition when one company does ALL the innovation and other companies just copy them and try to win on price.
It would be competition if Google tried to out-do Apple, but they don't.
Samsung doesn't compete with Apple either. They are more similar to counterfeiters who sell black-market Oakley, Nike, and Prada stuff in alleyways.
Competition would be if Samsung improves on Apple's designs to create something superior.
My goodness. Samsung designs may imitate Apple's to some debatable extent, but they're not labeling their products with an Apple logo. The way I see it, TV makers imitate each others' designs and features all the time, and so do car makers and fridge makers.
> It's not competition when one company does ALL the innovation and other companies just copy them and try to win on price.
Your generalisation is extreme. Surely Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, etc. do innovate (with reference to their legacy in the wider field of electronics)?
And they are certainly competing. The very definition of competition is to sell a product that is a close substitute for another. Your assertion seems to make innovation the only thing that matters for competition, which it isn't.
Society would be better off generally if competition (of all forms) increased in more markets.
Zipcar. I just paid $137.39 for an Audi Q5. Audi can't do that. Price is usually the result of innovation, the tip of the iceberg. Otherwise we'd wouldn't be driving cars or, hopefully soon, flying into space. If anyone offers an iPhone 5 cheaper than Apple I'm sold! Better yet, make a phone better than the iPhone AND sell it cheaper!
Samsung is able to charge less money because they didn't have to pay for R&D, market testing, etc. They just copied a successful product.
When I bought my Samsung Galaxy SII, it was about the same price as an iPhone.
> It would be competition if Google tried to out-do Apple, but they don't.
That's your personal opinion. I personally prefer Android to iOS and so do many people.
Samsung COPIED Apple, so when you enjoy your Samsung phone, you are enjoying the fruits of Apple's research, development, design, market testing, etc.
The majority of the creative, intellectual substance that is contained in the Samsung phones originated in Cupertino. Point being that if we want companies to create new things rather than just copy old things, we need to give greater rewards to the actual creative people who take risks and come up with the new ideas. The people who jump on board and say "I can copy that!" really deserve no consideration at all.
But wouldn't this then spark greater innovation? Innovation doesn't come from slavishly imitating what came before. Revolutionary new designs and UI will come from those bold enough to seek vision that has no chance of infringing upon previous patents.
Also the idea of a patent for pinch-and-zoom makes about as much sense as a patent for 'a vehicle powered by steam'. Patents are about implementation, not ideas.
You're forgetting about the Newton.
But seriously, Palm had an SDK and a phone with a touch interface and downloadable apps a good three to four years before the iPhone was introduced. Any brick with a touch interface does not fall into that category I'm afraid.
Any brick with a touch interface does not fall into that category I'm afraid.
Absolutely. For example, Microsoft managed to develop a touch phone interface that owes very little to the iPhone. Hopefully Samsung can do the same.
If you want to argue about who had specific features first, Newton will usually win - PalmOS was stripped-down to be cheap and dependent on the PC it docked to whereas Newton was conceived as a standalone device so Newton could do things like print or send and receive a fax from day one - Palm got most of those features later if at all.
Yeah; I like Nintendo, too. Oh, wait: were you talking about another singular company?
It is Apple and their App store policy that will drive the manufacture of cookie cutter Apps on their homogenous environment.
You're serious? They take 73% of the profit in smartphone market, with Samsung at the second place (26%) and HTC, third (1%), their stock is booming, they have more money in the bank than all of their competitors combined (they can buy Samsung, HTC and Dell and shut them down and still have a few billion dollars left).
I'd call that reward, not punishment.
By buying products with large profit margins you're sending a message that you want the company to stay in business and grow and keep doing what it's doing.
> By buying products with huge profit margins you're spending money on features that you're not getting.
No, part of what makes Apple so valuable is that they resist adding more "features" than the bare minimum, in favor of trying to preserve their best feature: simplicity.
I don't mean to imply Apple products are overpriced in general. I mostly just prefer to discount/devalue marketing when making decisions on what to buy, and instead focus on the features that are important to me.
Obviously I'm not implying that you or others don't care about 'peace of mind' and are cheap bastards who never pay for anything :) - it just happens that you don't find a MacBook or iPad or iPhone as valuable for you and your lifestyle as I do, and purchase what suits you best.
That is one of the more ridiculous reasons for not buying Apple.
It's also been mentioned that you pay for the "peace of mind," but can anybody here actually quantify what that means on a mobile device? I also find this really ironic because this comes after antenna-gate which most people seem to have forgot. We're consistently told by the media and Apple's marketing that buying from them is a safe bet, has this ever actually meant anything?
BTW, I just wanted to say you have a GitHub link on your HN profile that leads to a 404. I thought maybe that was a mistake and you might want to fix it :)
Thanks for heads up on github. Fixed.
The fact is that they never took an early lead with the Mac . They did take an lead with iPod. See how that worked out quite well for them.
@eddieplan You might not be old enough to remember but the macintosh and earlier apple computers were the first commercially successful computers for the home market.
I chuckle every time I hear this. How much profit of the web server market does Microsoft take with IIS vs. the free alternatives like Apache and Nginx?
Who wins in the Server OS market of Windows Server vs. Linux/BSD? Who dominates the web dev tools market of Visual Studio vs. Eclipse/etc. ?
The same arguments you make can be made against the above too.
The idea of profit share as the metric was hyped up by the Apple fan blog network of Gruber-Siegler-Asymco etc. First, when Android had lower market share, they made numerous claims and 'analysis' that said Android could never overtake iPhone. When that did happen, for some time, they added the iPad to the mix by making it iOS vs. Android instead of just the mobile market and declared Apple the winner. And then later came up with the profitshare argument. Looks like the only metric that matters is what makes Apple the winner.
One example of a bizarre comparison(sneering and snarky as usual) http://daringfireball.net/linked/2012/07/27/amzn
Since when did profit become the one and true metric?
I realize that they're writing what their audience wants to read, my only peeve is how much airtime their posts and arguments are given on HN. Meanwhile Paul Thurrott's Winsupersite is hellbanned on HN just for being a Microsoft watcher site. Draw your own conclusions.
This is like wondering whether you'd be better off running a grocery store rather than a software business. Profit is the only metric. The idea that this notion started with Apple is strange.
But time and time again in the tech world we've seen that it's much easier to build something cheap and ubiquitous and eat your way up the value chain than it is to start at the top and try to tenaciously cling there. It didn't work for Apple last time and I think it's starting to slip for them again now.
Sun, against IBM and AT&T.
Red Hat, against Sun.
Salesforce against bespoke business solutions.
Google Apps against Microsoft Office.
Gmail against MS Exchange.
More generally, read/refer to Clayton Christensen's Innovator's Dilemma.
From my connections, I'm aware that much of the startup world is on some mix of Gmail for Domains, Google Apps, and/or Mac for desktops/laptops. Microsoft really doesn't play.
Granted, those are small accounts, but I've also seen some household name established businesses ditch Exchange for Gmail. And in a world for which changing enterprise platforms almost universally elicits dread, the announcements were met with cheers. Really loud cheers.
And to answer in part: again, read Christensen. It's not that the cheap competition generates more revenue (though in some cases it does). By that metric you're making the same strategic error as recoiledsnake. It's that by growing marketshare, disruptive innovations suck the revnue out of the market.
It's what Red Hat did to Sun. It's what Craigslist did to classified advertising.
It's what Gmail's doing to Exchange.
Profit is not the only metric. Market share is a valid metric to compare products (as long as you have a sustainable position).
If android was selling five times as many units as apple, but with only 15% the margin, then apple would still be the most profitable, but would be losing the mindshare war.
Eventually devs would be concentrating their efforts on android first, and perhaps only for android. In the long term, marketshare is the more important metric.
In the case of Apple vs Samsung, the smart phone market is at a different level of maturity that lack of market share is not going drive developers away from iOS, but if we were much earlier in the market then it would be a significant issue for them.
What's Samsung's story?
I don't know what sort of margins Samsung is making on their devices, but they don't have to make as much per device as Apple to still be a success.
Wasn't it just yesterday that Gruber was comparing revenues from a hardware business(iPhone) to Microsoft's primarily software business, instead of profits which would make more sense?
Like Gruber, don't like Gruber, I don't care. But let's not introduce the meme that "profit" is a meaningless metric. It is the only metric. Companies that are optimized for something other than profit today are doing so in the service of profit, and nothing other than profit, tomorrow.
"Revenue", less profits, is money that doesn't belong to you.
"Revenue", less profits, is money that doesn't belong to you. Keeping score with it is pretty silly. Want a lot of revenue? Start a grocery store, but sell everything at a 10% loss.
Your argument is invalid.
In the not-to distant past (early 2006), I worked on a system which hosted millions of domains on Linux and Apache hosts. Microsoft called our company and offered them mega-bucks to switch the system to Windows and IIS so that they could increase market share. You can confirm this with netcraft - http://news.netcraft.com/archives/category/web-server-survey... . And we weren't the only shop they called with similar deals.
In this case, the one with the profit bought themselves 15% marketshare. I had real fears around that time that web stacks were going to start looking an awful lot like the desktop ecosystem.
Don't discount the power money can have.
Company Y sells 150 phones and makes $10,000 profit.
In this case we are comparing apples with apples. So it is a valid metric of comparison. In the same reasoning, if company Z sells 200 phones and loses money then obviously that is bad and company Z could potentially go bankrupt.
Google and Apple may have, at a high level, opposing strategies, but Apple's approach is being adopted more and more (app stores, having more control on the experience, etc...) and companies wouldn't do that if it wasn't working. Hell Google's own products, the ones where they stamp "Google" on the back of the device, are very much in the line of Apple's usual MO. Sure Android will always have a few more "geeky" features (app side-loading) but the Nexus 7 is very Apple-like in it's execution (...and it's great!).
tl;dr - Their business models aren't as different as the old Windows vs Mac comparison.
When in the history of the world have we ever seen a single company and a single line of products dominate a mass-market consumer segment for more than a few years?
the historical norm is monopoly, not competition
If you've used a recent, high-end Android phone you know that the quality gap is mostly gone and that the apps that most people care about are now available on both platforms. Apple is not going to be able to sustain their astonishing profit margins without the help of the courts.
Not saying that Apple will succeed, but the future doesn't seem so clear to me.
What I'd like to see is a healthy market with two or three real competitors. It's much better for consumers and developers than another decade of monoculture protected by patent minefields.
As would I, although I would like that market to offer real choice, and not just one first-mover and 1-2 copycats. Microsoft, Palm and Nokia managed to figure out how to make a touchscreen phone that isn't a warmed-over iPhone, I hope this provides the push for Samsung to do the same.
In what way?
In what universe did the market punish them? Apple has shipped 250 million phones and made 150 billion dollars in revenue in the five years since the iPhone shipped. Each iPhone version has sold more than every other version combined.
They currently have near-monopoloy perceived first-mover prices and margins as 'the only credible device' (iPad) and 'the coolest device' (iPhone). They have the perception as being 'the only system with the good apps' (iPad) - noticeably they don't have that any more with the iPhone. Realistically, how long can they keep it with the iPad and, once lost, what means do they have of getting it back? And what's Apple's plan to maintain its current market advantages of consistency once the mobile market moves from high-end luxury to commodity that needs a tiered product range?
How many new Android devices come out per year, even just from the major top-tier devices? How many from Apple? To sustain the current position, Apple have to win and be lucky every time. Android can afford below a 10% hit rate and it'll still innovate faster and grow more strongly as a platform than iOS.
Apple now are in much the same position as they were the first time they lost Steve Jobs. Their five year outlook is, IMHO, grim - their profits come overwhelmingly from iOS but it's under heavy attack and has no obvious strategy to grow their base without cutting off what made them a success.
Apple are (medium-term) on the crest of a wave. Their long-term outlook is only down IMHO, and this time they can't bring Steve back.
Interesting hypothesis that they need to hit a homerun now with every gadget they make.
What is Google's goal with the Android? Ads? An extension to search?
Again, sorry if I've derailed the discussion. I'm just curious to see what HN thinks.
a lot of people like to talk about "android fragmentation". while the variety of devices out there can sometimes be annoying as a consumer and developer, i tend to think of it as "android diversity" instead.
to me, it's wonderful that your so-called "poor people", who may not even have a regular computer and for whom the "premium" experience that apple is not an option, still have an opportunity to participate in the "modern world". even if it's with a device that gearheads would turn their noses up at.
technology liberates, informs, and elevates people. the fact that the android ecosystem is flexible enough to accommodate a huge demographic is a strength, in my mind, and not a weakness.
Having said that, it would be even better if more companies were willing to take risks and innovate like Apple has. Instead, most corporations are pathetically conservative, unimaginative, and basically stupid.
> The only patent the jury found that Samsung didn't infringe relates to the design of a tablet as having a rectangular shape and rounded corners. Throughout the trial, Samsung's lawyers frequently remarked that Apple shouldn't be given a monopoly on a rectangle with rounded corners.
Do you have facts that support this or is this your opinion?
Apple and MS have so many core patents that cover Windows, OS X, Windows Mobile and iOS, not to mention media players, office software etc. that any lawsuit will most probably end up in huge legal fees followed by a cross licensing deal after all the counter claims are decided on.
It's not meaningless if it means a large cross section of the most popular Android phones are banned, even for a short time. Hopefully Samsung has already got software workarounds ready to deploy.
> Some of the things Apple invented and patented on like pinch to zoom
Please don't say rubbish like that. It is so clearly obvious that Apple didn't invent pinch to zoom, and even if they didn't, it's so dumb and obvious that it wouldn't be patentable anyway (hence why the various people who demonstrated it over the last 2 decades didn't bother). Apple patented some refinements to pinch-to-zoom and other gestures.
China has forced manufacturers to build factories in China in order to be able to sell products there, regardless of industry. Siemens managed to build one Maglev train in Shanghai - all the others are being build the Chinese themselves, now that they have the tech. Airbus? Same thing, China is jumpstarting their aircraft business.
Big picture is that this KILLS true Western style innovation as there is no reward for being first. If you're a founder you should be scared of the copy machines in East-Asia. For now they only focus on their own markets, but once big enough they will come after you.
Look at what 800App is doing with salesforce.com - they copy the shit out of it, pixel by pixel, essentially destroying the Chinese market for SFDC. SFDC chose an interesting tactic, they invested in 800App:
Google can't come after Baidu. Facebook couldn't do much against vKontakte, their Russian 1:1 clone (the chuzpe is breathtaking).
VW and BMW see the Chinese market as their number one. BRIC is where the future money is. (Third biggest market for SAP is Brazil already).
There is no growth left in the US/EU.
It is only a billion dollars which Samsung can definitely afford. It could be seen as a cost of business and particularly the cost of becoming the number 2 smartphone manufacturer in the world and the only one really able to put products at the same price as Apples and still sell large quantities.
Lest we forget that Microsoft was getting sued under the antitrust act just fifteen or so years ago. At that time, Apple was a joke and people who used MS software regularly began to resent them. How silly that seems now that they are relegated to owning only the shitty, bloatware enterprise productivity market.
There are a range of views around here about what should happen. The middle ground area is possibly that iPhone lookalikes are blocked (but fairly narrowly defined lookalikes) and possibly Android needs to work around a few minor unimportant patents. I don't think anyone (outside of Apple and I'm not even sure there) wants Android totally eliminated but the scroll bounce patent is for a nice but completely unnecessary effect.
MS are still highly profitable at the moment and the do own the shitty, bloatware enterprise productivity market. There are worse market positions.
I guess it depends on what you consider to be an iPhone "lookalike". I don't believe that much about the iPhone look and feel that people usually point to is actually patentable- trademarkable, maybe, but not patentable. The things that Apple is attacking Samsung and Android over are fairly specific functions. For the practical purposes of the mobile market, I truly don't think this outcome is going to effect Samsung (or any other manufacturer) a great deal.
As for MS, yes, they are highly profitable, but my point is that they used to be the feared leader that owned the software market and all distribution to it. Now they have very little respect in the consumer electronics market which is quickly moving up-market and disrupting the enterprise market. I think Microsoft continues to lose market share into the foreseeable future because 1) their leadership is pretty bad in the sense that they are all over the map in terms of product development and lead on very few products and 2) their software is shit and their strategy of getting people into their full stack of web hosting/development/browser framework will never get them any kind of dominance there.
I am a bit biased here because I absolutely hate Microsoft's implementation strategy. For example, at our office we use Microsoft Project Web Access which they only allow you to use in Internet Explorer, offering its users no choice of browser. In the long run that doesn't seem like a wise choice. They're building in an unnecessary limitation that any competitor can exploit. Do they really think I or anybody else won't use Chrome or FF or any other browser just because they make me run their shitty software in IE?
Ok sure, but why did you cite a bunch of bad smartphones to validate your point?
Have you ever used Windows Phone or WebOS? I assure you, they are not 'bad'.
Obviously, the point of contention here is with the design of the phones themselves, and how similar they look and feel to consumers. In that argument, the phones that have supported WebOS, Blackberry, and the WindowsOS have a lower quality overall, and I like WebOS. I'm talking about hardware, durability, and application ecosystem. This is my claim that smartphones of these types are 'bad'. The iPhone and Android would not be as popular if they were similar to the older Blackberry phones.
I think the competition has been good for all involved, but revisionism fails to tell the real story.
The hardware for Windows Phone and Web OS might have sucked, but the OS's are quite nice in my opinion. I would seriously consider either of those two over an iPhone if they (well WP at least) had better hardware.
Regarding the Blackberry, well, I don't have any defence for them.
Is suggestion that these are "bad smartphones" coming from their lack of sales? This is a false dichotomy. If not - please provide data that suggests otherwise (rather than your own heavily influenced personal opinion either).
It is not the phones or OS that makes IOS outsell the other companies mentioned - It is the apps and the marketing.
So nobody buys an iPhone because of how responsive iOS is or how well the iPhone is designed? Give me a break.
Also, it's "iOS". IOS is the Cisco router OS.
Windows must be superior in every way because it sells more, the other OSes are just bad?
How is that my metric? I said it's ludicrous to assume nobody buys an iPhone because of the design or the OS, it's always because of the apps.
I never said word one about number of units sold, I have no idea what you're talking about right now.
My argument is that these smartphones are 'bad' in the same way that IE is a 'bad' browser in the eyes of most users in comparison to Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. However, I can't just assume that IF IE had the apps and app developers as the Chrome and FF that everything would change. There's something to be said about context, reputation, and history.
However, I'll concede that calling thse smartphones 'bad' is ambiguous and seems to imply a false dichotomy. The point was that it is kind of ridiculous to point to products with a bad reputation for developers or users (regardless of the reality of their quality) as a shining example of how Samsung didn't have to copy Apple. I agree that they didn't, but those aren't good examples.
Here is the jury according to techcrunch
1. An electrical engineer
2. A homemaker
3. A construction worker
4. A young unemployed man who likes video games
5. An insurance agent
6. An ex-Navy avionics technician
7. A store operations manager for a cycling retailer
8. A project manager for wireless carrier AT&T
9. A benefits and payroll manager who works with startups
Only in America?? And how many of those people are biased because they just love Steve Jobs and Apple products. I know for sure, my mom loves her Mac and she wouldn't think twice who is right and who is wrong in this case.
That's rather cynical. This is precisely the kind of trial that doesn't require expert thinking because most of what is up for debate is whether Samsung willfully attempted to fool customers into thinking that their products were just like an iPhone by copying the trade dress. And determining such a thing is a matter of common sense.
This reminds me of an anecdote about Brahms's first symphony:
Brahms himself said, when comment was made on the similarity with Beethoven, "any ass can see that." 
So it is here. We needn't pretend any longer that Samsung's designs are mere coincidence. Whether it should be punishable is another question, but under the current law this, to me, is the right call.
This reeks heavily of people that had little idea about how the system actually works and gave verdicts that were more speculative rather than grounded and based on hard acts of actual infringement.
Even more honest answer: I'd probably let the Apple fanboys share the injustice to the world.
It is not "many of the claims" it is one claim for one phone out of what 15+ that were covered in the case. It is quite understandable that there would be at least one mistake out of the all patent/phone combinations.
"The judge is writing a note to the jury to point out exactly what the inconsistencies are, because they couldn’t seem to tell from going over the document themselves."
Poor judge who was reading it seems to be more switched on than people who were writing it. I'm sure court room felt like an elementary school at that point.
I actually have some experience with this. I recently “second chaired” a very complex civil trial involving significant accounting issues. The presentation of evidence alone took 5 weeks. The verdict form was almost as complex as the one described here. We all expected the verdict form to come back a self-contradictory mess, but in fact the jury had no problem sorting through it all. The verdicts were perfectly consistent and logical, as were the damage awards. And unlike the Apple/Samsung jury, our jury mostly consisted of homemakers and people from working class backgrounds, so we couldn’t expect them to have comfort with the subject matter. My take on this was that the jurors understood they were deciding a dispute worth tens of millions of dollars and really wanted to reach the right result. So we might see the same thing in this case. On the other hand, my trial involved “real people” with names and faces, not faceless corporations like Apple and Samsung. It is possible that the jurors had a higher level of engagement under the circumstances.
It is important to realize that a jury trial is a seminar for the jury. It is given by two opposing sides to a disinterested party tasked to make a decision. If either side fails to inform the jury of the enormity or ramifications of their decision, it is the fault of that side.
It's easy to complain about the verdict, but taking pot-shots at the jury is so cheap.
I thought the lawyers, judge and witnesses provide all the information they need to make the decision.
>> And how many of those people are biased because they just love Steve Jobs
I would think that Samsung's lawyers would have disqualified those types of people during the selection process.
Another potential juror, a UI designer on the Android team was rejected by Apple.
No tech-savvy geek is unbiased. We both know it. If I were sitting on that jury, I'd be one hell of a biased juror who'd shout myself hoarse trying to terrorize other jurors to agree with me. Believe me, you don't want me deciding your billion-dollar case.
If Samsung can't convince this lot - they couldn't it seems. So their only hope is the appeals court. But I got a feeling they'll drop that too.
Samsung's best approach is to pay. And move on.
It is also high on the conscious of American consumers that Apple is an innovative company that is readily ripped off by foreign companies.
FWIW I think the patent system is a lot more complicated than what a lot of geeks would understand as well. It really should be decided by a panel of judges and/or experts who can evaluate the case on merits and justify each decision.
In this particular case, I agree with other commenters here that the general public should be fit to judge. But I'd rather see technical cases like Oracle vs. Google decided by experts.
“Only in America”
Far from it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_system#The_jury_trial_in_v...
It's mainly a trade dress and UI look & feel issue. So the general public are absolutely the right people.
The Samsung counterclaims really centered around the patent exhaustion issue. If the jury found that it did not apply in this case Apple would clearly have infringed.
Juries around the world are compromised of ordinary people.
I agree that this particular type of case should not be decided by jury.
Samsung copies for a living like many companies. Much of the copying is legal. Sometimes they push it too far. One smoking gun in this case was the Google told Samsung to change their designs. They didn't. They reaped the benefits in terms of higher sales and now they can reap the bad side of that too.
On net it has still been profitable from Samsung. Samsung lost but it hasn't been shut down or anything. In fact Apple is paying Nokia much more then Samsung will end up paying Apple. People crying that the sky is falling have missed this reality.
No damages for the overbroad ipad design patent. This seems like a good result as much of the complaining seemed to be about the "rectangle patent" people thought Apple had. I think the EU Registered Design for the iPad is much more specific and more in line with what people think of as trade dress. Samsung didn't really make any money in the tablet arena anyway.
Do we stop watching a YT clip that we know is actual copyright infringement? I'll venture that most of us don't. I suppose most of us rationalize our behavior by saying the laws are excessive. I imagine the people who buy and sell pirate goods do something similar.
While copying electronics is more common in Asia it's not like Japan or China or Korea don't innovate or that the West isn't similarly full of copycats (look at the Samwer brothers or the generic products in your supermarket).
And that also misses the point that Samsung and other copyists do a lot of good for consumers by copying innovations, pushing prices down. In some industries the people that actually innovate do need some protections so that they can keep making those investments. Much like in actual piracy there's a risk reward element to copying as a business model and I'm sure that's all part of the calculus that Samsung does with their products. Like the factory that breaks environmental or labor laws -- they pay up sometimes but in the end they do it because they still come out ahead.
I might be downvoted for this, but well, there is a reason why all the Japanese cartoons/comics look similar to each other while western are much more diverse.
One of my friends that was in South Korea for some time really didn't like their lifestyle and told me, that this is probably how Romani people must feel in our country. There is something on it.
This is not a good result. It may not have been as bad as it could have been, but it's still nowhere near good.
We need Federal District Judges who are willing to work for the good of consumers, which involves protecting a market where competition can thrive.
Consumers benefit when there is more than one separate branch iterating outward and improving something very basic. A lightweight touchscreen rectangle is about as basic as it gets.
If Apple was a tire company, Lucy Koh just gave it the unearned "right" to patent every kind of tire tread imaginable.
[EDIT] -- Yes, I realize the decision was made by a jury. Firstly: The original case presented to her was a puff of smoke which should never have gone to trial in the first place. Secondly: Fast-tracking this case helped Apple (which had pre-prepared its mountain of baloney paperwork) and very much hurt Samsung (which understandably probably didn't have enough time to scramble and dispute every instance of baloney in the mountain of paperwork). Thirdly: Koh diallowed a key testimony: http://www.droiddog.com/android-blog/2012/08/judge-lucy-koh-... which would have helped the jury make a more informed decision.
They decide timing, what can be admitted, specific questions, and the questionnaire the jury filled out as part of their verdict.
The fact that it even reached the point of a jury trial (and a very quick trial, at that) was the decision of a judge
If I were part of the jury, I'd think I would come up with the same conclusion as well. What company goes out of its way to copy another company's look & feel?
The fact is that the Samsung lawyers failed to convince an independent jury of the general public. Koh had very little to do with it.
Apart from approving or rejecting every piece of evidence and testimony the jury would receive, which power could easily be used to create a reality distortion field around the jury... I'm not actually accusing Koh, just noting that juries are shown a very carefully constructed picture that is largely controlled by the judge, and may or may not resemble reality.
You do know that a jury made this decision, right ?
Secondly, the comment is taken of context because shawnee keeps editing and deleting comments.
Thirdly, what is worse than having inflammatory comments is one like these from people who aren't actually contributing to the discussion. Is there a need to be so condescending ?
You said "Looking forward to plenty of truly dumb, ignorant comments like this in the future," which implies that the author of the original comment will be making such comments. This is an attack on the character or intelligence of the author, and is thus an ad hominem.
This is remedied by quoting the part of the comment you want to highlight in your response. I use HN's asterisks-to-italics formatting for quotations; others use spaces to activate a <pre> block (be sure to insert manual line breaks if you use this method).
Sometimes voting and flagging aren't enough to signal that a discussion is getting out of hand, and a direct comment is required. You will find that I contributed on-topic responses elsewhere, including a response to another comment of yours.
I didn't read it as that. Generally on these sort of platform contention type topics you'll get a lot of common themes being repeated by both sides. I read it as inferring the 'Judge was biased' comment will become a meme.
1. You go with Android and have both Apple and Microsoft come after you.
2. You go with Windows Phone.
I suspect the Windows Phone team is breaking open some champagne now.
After this, I think many Android handset manufacturers might feel that the US market is too risky to enter. As it is, their mindset regarding a cellular phone is completely different as compared to others. They treat it as a service (which is why subsidized plans with criminal monthly rates exist) instead of decoupling the device from the subscription plans. Although in their defense it doesn't help that each of the carrier rolls with their own tech making cross-compatibility virtually impossible.
In other words, these lawsuits demonstrate international inconsistencies in patent laws, courts, and markets, and will only serve to fragment the international market and make developing a smartphone riskier and less predictable. Who loses? Consumers and smaller hardware and software companies.
Apple is going to regret this in the long run, I suspect. They should have spent their energy going after the Chinese iPhone cloners that put junk hardware in an actual iPhone case instead.
This lawsuit did not find that "Android" helplessly infringes Apple patents in all cases. Just that the combination of Android, Samsung's software modifications to Android, and Samsung hardware, together infringed several very specific Apple patents.
With Windows Phone, you're protected from this through MSFT's cross-licensing deal with Apple - Apple even pointed to the Nokia WP phones as an example of being able to do something different.
As magicalist points out elsewhere in the thread, it is utterly impossible for anyone to build anything resembling a modern smartphone without infringing claim 8 of Apple's '915 patent. You can build a phone or a tablet, but whatever you build will not be capable of competing with an iPhone or an iPad.
Regardless of what you think about Apple, the iPhone, or patents in general, it is not OK for a judge or jury to hand an entire market over to a single player for 20 years. Claim 8, by itself, is enough to do that. By granting it, the USPTO walled off all possible competitive approaches.
But it was clarified by Samsung attorney in the trial that you do not infringe Apple patents by having one finger scrolling and pinch to zoom. So it is possible to make a modern smartphone.
Those would be the same Samsung attorneys who just lost a $1 billion patent suit?
(Don't think a disclaimer is necessary in this case, but I used to work at Google. Not on Android.)
If the outcome of this is that Apple effectively gets $10/device for Android then Windows Phone at $15/device has something approaching price parity.
However if I was a phone vendor I would still prefer Android for various reasons including the optional nature of the license(s), the flexibility, superior third and first party apps, the fact that Nokia has better access to WP7, etc.
3. License RIM's OS, if it ever comes out
4. Boot to Gecko
This kind of stuff is incredibly easy to look up.