In what has to be one of the most over reported and boring technology stories of the last eighteen months, it is clear that it has turned into a public relations quagmire for Apple Corp. Apple launched the first missile in the battle, and must now regret going “thermo-nuclear” on Samsung.
Since the start of this war, lawsuits and counter lawsuits across 13 countries have been launched, with little headway in terms of a massive win for either side. However, whilst this legal dogfight has been playing out, Samsung has attracted immense global press coverage for its brand and devices.
Why is this important you might ask? Quite simply it has generated massive public awareness of Samsung products amongst consumers. Since the launch of legal action by Apple, Samsung has become the single largest manufacturer of mobile smart-phones in the world.
Whilst on the flip side, Apple has witnessed declining market share with Android overtaking iOS to become the largest mobile smart-phone OS on a global basis. The more lawsuits launched the more press Samsung gets. The fact Apple has accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying its own products has meant consumers everywhere are even more curious to see what the fuss is all about.
So in slandering Samsung, Apple’s lawsuits have created an ever-growing audience ready to lap up Samsung products. TMV spoke to a number of marketing agency sources who stated that Apple Corp’s campaign of claiming Samsung has been ripping off the look and feel of their products, has generated Samsung over $350 million of free publicity in advertising terms on a global basis.
Furthermore, due to this consumers have wised up and realise that Samsung offers similar or in some instances, superior products which are cheaper than Apple’s equivalent product. Rubbing salt in the wound must be the fact Samsung makes a reported $5.7 Billion per year from selling both screens and processors for the products Apple say Samsung is breaching patents on.
Instead of driving customers away from competing Samsung products, all Apple have done is instead; increased the number of Samsung customers. TMV cannot think of any other corporate misjudgement so large and, we predict it will go down in history as the worst decision ever made by Apple.
Reinforcing this is the fact that UK judge Birss has just ruled against Apple stating that the Samsung products Apple states are infringing its own are “uncool”. Interestingly, the judge has gone further and ruled that Apple has to clearly state on its UK website store that Samsung is not copying its products.
In a further embarrassment for Apple, judge Birss also ordered the technology bemoth to run ads displaying the notice in newspapers and magazines including the Daily Mail, Financial Times, Guardian Mobile magazine and T3 magazine. Obviously, Apple has appealed. However, in TMV’s view if a rival product manufacturer slanders your products and it is proven in court, then the slander should have to advertise stating you did not copy their product.
Coupled with the recent iPad 4G debacle it would seem Apple’s judgement since Steve Job’s passing has been seriously bad. Albeit, it was Jobs who launched the ‘Thermo Nuclear’ option before he passed away and so perhaps Apple is just carrying on his will. Even so, the stupidity of starting war must surely be beginning to hurt the once renowned brand.
All in all, it could be reasonably stated that as far as missteps go this is a pretty dire one for Apple, its brand and quest for mobile OS world dominance. The net effect is that people are now educated enough to realise that they do not need to be locked into the Apple “uncool” fanboi ecosystem and there are viable and in many cases much better alternative solutions in the market.
On a final note, TMV believe this dogfight points to serious problems in the American patent system. The fact Apple could patent a “generic” rectangle shape and state another company is stealing its IP, is quite frankly a joke. Not to mention the threat it poses to consumer choice.
Please tell me what other shape a tablet could be? All TV’s are rectangular in shape, as are all laptop and desktop computer screens, and we do not see such stupid legal fights. Why have apple not launched lawsuits against the likes of Acer, asus, HP and numerous others for the same reason? In all honesty TMV expected more from a supposedly innovative company as Apple.