Rating: WP7 ecosystem could get an unexpected boost
Last week [25th August 2012] Samsung was ordered to pay Apple over $1 billion in damages for infringing patents and copying the iPhone’s design. The Californian jury dismissed Samsung’s counter claim that Apple had infringed its own patents. The nine-person jury found that Samsung’s phones infringed patents covering a number of Apple technologies such as double tapping on the screen to zoom in. The result came just hours after a judge banned the sale of both Apple and Samsung products in South Korea. The Seoul court enforced a sales ban on Apple’s iPhone 3GS; iPhone 4; iPad 1; and iPad 2. Plus there was a ban on Samsung’s Galaxy S II phone. Ironically one of the biggest winners here could be Nokia with its Windows Phone 7 (W7 Mango) based Lumia range.It is pretty clear that Apple’s intention is to attack Google’s Android mobile OS for copying the iPhone look and feel.
The company’s approach is to utilise its catalogue of patents and given that Samsung is now the dominant supplier of Android handsets, it has started with the Korean giant.
You can bet that HTC and LG will be next. What would be extremely interesting is if Apple turns its attention next to Motorola. Especially as Motorola is now owned by Google.
As Samsung said in a statement after the verdict, “It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company over rectangles with rounded corners.”
Motorola, of course, tried to protect its position as the inventor of the ‘flip’ phone or ‘folding design’ as Nokia eventually described it, but failed dismally. Funnily enough against Samsung, too.
Those suppliers who depend on Android for the flagship smartphones must be feeling rather nervous. But Nokia isn’t.
It’s no co-incidence that in its quest to differentiate its mobile OS from its rivals, in WP7, Microsoft has come up with a touch-based UI which doesn’t bear any close comparison with iOS or Android.
If the leading suppliers of Android handsets start to concentrate on Windows Phone instead, then Nokia will have a serious first mover advantage (although HTC has excellent WP7 credentials, too.)
If WP7 enjoys a renaissance, and the whole Microsoft mobile OS ecosystem gets a boost, then Nokia will definitely grab a large share of the pie.
It’s also hard to see how Apple could even remotely claim that the Lumia looks like an iPhone.
Nokia has built ‘candy bar’ shaped handsets for years and if you put a big screen on a candy bar it would simply look like the Lumia.
GoMobile News believes the outcome of the US court battle simply highlights the difference in patent laws between the USA and the UK.
In the UK you get a patent if you can prove you’ve done something which no-one else has done before.
In the USA you can patent an idea. If somebody has forgotten to patent the wheel, you could patent it.
We can’t see Apple enjoying such spectacular results in trying to get Samsung handsets barred from the shelves in the EU, but the US decision will have profound effects.