You serve me, and I’ll serve you.
Swing your partners, all get screwed
Bring your lawyer, and I’ll bring mine,
Get together, and we could have a bad time
George Harrison: Sue Me, Sue You, Blues
“A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool. A billion dollars.”
So said Shawn Fanning to an awed Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in the movie the Social Network.
But what’s cooler than a billion dollars? Now we know: $1.05 billion dollars.
Clearly the judge in the month-long Apple vs Samsung case was a fan of the film, after awarding the Californian firm the billion dollar busting total after a jury ruled that Samung had slavishly copied Apple in creating its Galaxy line of Android powered handsets.
Following the award Apple immediately tried to have eight Samsung Galaxy products banned from sale in the US and has now added newer devices such as the Galaxy SIII and the Galaxy Note to the list too. It’s potentially a massive blow for the firm, which has made a huge effort to overtake Apple to become the leading smartphone supplier in the world.
As you might expect Samsung has not reacted kindly to the news and has responded with the threat that if Apple continues down its path it will respond by counter-suing Apple if it releases an LTE enabled iPhone 5.
It turns out that Samsung has a good wodge of core LTE patents under its belt, holding 10 per cent of the total according to this research from this blog.Of course this is crucial as Apple’s iPhone 5, which is expected to be announced on September 12, is strongly rumoured to be LTE capable, (though at this point it is unknown what frequencies will be supported).
Of course Apple released an LTE capable iPad earlier this year, so there’s no doubt that this move is a knee-jerk reaction in many ways designed to protect itself from a result it clearly wasn’t expecting.
As has been suggested, Samsung may clearly be trying to deflect the damages by coming to an entente cordiale with its enemy so it can counter its design infringements with its engineering edge.
It’s not as if Samsung doesn’t have some solid background here. It’s been trying to make headway in the LTE telecoms equipment vendor space for a year or so and following an early with with Sprint, recently has had some big successes having recently announced deals with Three in the UK and Telstra in Australia.
There is certainly a precedent for cross licensing deals in the industry. Not many people know that Microsoft makes more money from Android phone sales that it does from the sales of Windows Phone, thanks to a licensing deals it has made for its patents that are using in the Google OS. Google played ball with Microsoft, but Samsung chose not to do so with Apple, despite Apple putting an offer on the table before the case went to trial.
The questions are how much Samsung’s patents are actually worth to Apple? If not that much, it might choose to continue to fight, which from a consumer choice perspective would not be ideal for the consumer.
The bad news from Samsung’s perspective is that it seems unlikely that anything will stop Apple from releasing an iPhone 5 with LTE.
A panel discussion on what the future holds for the LTE device market is taking place at the LTE Asia 2012 conference, taking place on the 18-19 September 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Click here to register your interest.