The verdict is in and Samsung’s got a lot of work to do. They need to do some hardware and software work as well as write a big check. Here’s my take on the trial results…
I really expected the trial deliberations to go a lot longer than they did. The fact that the verdict came back so quickly speaks volumes about design, perception, and what the public believes when it comes to computing and the patent system. I’ve got a quick summary of the results and a couple of opinions on where the trial went south for Samsung.
The trial, in my humble opinion, was over once the following graphic was shown.
I’ve owned a number of Samsung smartphones – the Blackjack, the Blackjack 2, the i700 and the Vibrant (a Galaxy S phone). Prior to 2007 and the introduction of the iPhone, all Samsung phones had a distinctive look. They were sharp edged, angular, and ran a version of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. The Blackjack devices were “smartphones,” or the version of Windows Mobile that didn’t have a touch screen and they had 320×240 (landscape) resolution screens. These devices were Blackberry modeled devices and were rather successful, though they were different enough to not be considered infringing on RIM’s designs and patents. The i700 was Samsung’s very first PDA phone. It ran PocketPC 2002 and eventually got an upgrade to WM2003, but it was well into 2004 before that hit. The other two devices in the infographic below, were modeled after it. THAT design, was wholly original and all Samsung. The i700 was a little bit before its time. It was a decent device, but really would have been much better without the stub antenna and definitely WITH UMTS/HSPA+.
Post iPhone, Samsung made two big changes – First: out with Windows Mobile and in with Android. Windows Mobile had unfortunately reached a point of non-growth and innovation and Microsoft never really stood behind it anyway. Ballmer doesn’t understand mobility and the mobile operating system’s history clearly shows that. Google’s Android is very Windows Mobile-like and went places that Microsoft clearly couldn’t go with their mobile OS. It was a much better choice for them.
Second: their phone designs took a drastic and radical shift. Despite Samsung’s claims that Apple doesn’t own a patent on a rectangle with rounded corners (and Samsung is right…they DON’T), its clear that AFTER the iPhone hit and was successful, Samsung’s phone designs changed. Those designs also look a great deal like the design of the iPhone. Their UI, while built on top of Android, a drastically different looking and functioning OS, looks as much like the iOS home screens as they can.
Come back next time and I’ll give you the specifics on the damages as well as what I’d like to see Samsung do, post-verdict.