Apple’s Lawsuit Victory Over Samsung: Will It Stifle Innovation?
By Mike Anderson
Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung has been big news. On August 24 the jury ruled that Samsung had violated some of Apple’s patents, and awarded Apple more than $1 billion. The legal wrangling is far from over, but the implications are far reaching.
Apple Samsung Verdict Implications
Views about the possible impact have varied widely, with both positive and negative impact on the mobile market. Much concern has been expressed about the restrictive implications of the verdict, and how it will stifle competition. Samsung itself has said that the verdict for Apple is a loss for the American consumer. I’m on the side arguing that we’ll see greater innovation and differentiation as a result.
Apple Verdict Faces Long Appeals Path
The final resolution could well be years away, if Samsung takes appeals through the path to the US Supreme Court as it has indicated. But the implications are here and now. Just copying a smartphone or tablet is not going to be enough – successful vendors will have to create something new and differentiable. While some argue that the result will be increased costs and reduced competition, what is likely to happen is greater innovation.
Innovating More Than Apple
Bringing a product to market is a major undertaking. The easiest path, and the one the finance team will most readily approve, goes after needs, characteristics and use cases that are already successful. It’s harder to get support for a totally new design or a new user interface that may chart a new course. But when the easy route gets cut off, the new and innovative ideas will rise to the top.
Apple Competition Will Advance User Experience
With this ruling, we’ll see less competition through products that work in just the same way as Apple’s. What we’ll also see is a lot of attention to bringing out new and different twists on the things that are now familiar in function and design. And we will see added attention to those projects that focus on new approaches and new user interaction models that can advance the overall user experience.
Apple did not invent all of the designs and functions for touch screens and gesture-based interactions that make their products successful. But they did package, market and develop a user experience that is compelling, and an ecosystem for them to create success.
To compete and take a chunk of the fast-growing mobile segment, vendors will now be motivated to bring out new and more innovative capabilities. Rather than a slowing in the competitive landscape, we expect greater competition in mobile ecosystems as the action continues to heat up, and our research will focus on the escalating Tablet Wars.
Check back at Aragon Research for more analysis of the Tablet Wars, as well as other actions among the mobile providers.