Apple vs. Samsung is about ecosystems, not tablets or patents


Apple has made its concerns official. The iPhone maker fears Samsung tablet will lure consumers away from the powerful iTunes ecosystem. Apple’s been successfully leveraging iTunes to tie people to the platform through app and entertainment content sales.

The heated Apple vs. Samsung legal battle over who’s copying who is really about the ecosystem rather than the hardware or the patents. That’s the gist of today’s hearing before the Federal Court in Sydney related to an Apple-requested ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia. According to Smh.com.au, lawyers for Apple argued that the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 could take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that buyers may be “seduced” from the iOS platform.

It’s all about the apps and the broader ecosystem, Apple’s legal team told Justice Annabelle Bennett, arguing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 “is vastly the one that is going to be targeting the iPad 2″. IDC numbers released today suggest that that tablet shipments to Australia and New Zealand doubled sequentially in the June quarter, which the research firm attributed to an influx of Android tablets recently released into those markets.

Apple’s lawyers then resorted to the “fire hose” metaphor to make their case:

This is going to be launched on the market with the velocity of a fire hose and it is going to just come in and take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that by the time we get to final hearing the full impact of the patent infringement will be to the detriment of Apple and to the benefit of Samsung.

And this bit about the battle of ecosystems:

They’ll then be Android people and the investment in the apps that they make to purchase on their Galaxy Tab will be something they can’t use on an Apple product.

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Just like Verizon, T-Mobile sides with Samsung in Apple litigation

Just like Verizon, T-Mobile has chosen to side with Samsung in its fight against Apple reports Foss Patents. T-Mobile’s reason, in response to a preliminary injunction proposed by Apple, is that they don’t want key 4G devices to be banned for the holiday season. And since it doesn’t look like T-Mobile is getting the iPhone anytime soon, Samsung’s 4G phones could be a big part of their sales. Check out T-Mobile’s response below:

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Verizon sides with Samsung in Apple litigation. Why?

Here’s the story (via Daring Fireball). The short of it is that Verizon asks the court not to issue Apple’s requested injunction against Samsung products because an injunction “is not in the public interest… It significantly limits consumer options and crippling the free flow of goods to Verizon and its customers”.

The obvious response is what injunction wouldn’t?

The question is: why would Verizon throw its weight behind Samsung in this battle now that it has the iPhone?

Perhaps Verizon isn’t as happy with the iPhone and as they were in early 2011.

Notice the love start to peel away in the video below. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam was expecting to have an iPhone 5 this summer and counts that as a reason for missing targets in the third quarter. Revenues overall are flat and Verizon isn’t seeing the LTE money they were hoping for. Samsung obviously sells a bunch of LTE phones and Tablets that Verizon wants to capitalize on (and has a lot invested in) including the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Droid Charge, and the Droid Nexus Prime due out later this year…

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Oh Samsung, you are making this too easy

Having a look at the otherwise impressive Galaxy S II phones from Samsung, I noticed that the USB AC power adapter had a ‘familiar’ feel to it. Turns out, it is almost an exact replica, within a millimeter in every direction.  Compare to their previous USB power adapter.

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Ahead of the launch, Samsung wants iPhone 5 banished from Korea


An artist’s rendition of iPhone 5.

The Korea Times reports that Samsung “is seeking a complete ban” on the iPhone 5 sales in Korea – even before the handset is even released, let alone officially announced. Local carriers KT and SK Telecom have so far sold about 3.1 million iPhones in the country. The paper quotes an unnamed Samsung senior executive:

Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.

Another Samsung executive is “quite confident” about “a big breakthrough” provided Samsung wins in Germany, adding that “so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5″. The report goes on to mention that iPhone sports an LG Display-made screen, LG Innotek’s eight-megapixel camera, Samsung-made NAND flash and A5 chip and an NFC chip for wireless payment.

The twist in this case, of course, is the fact that Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, buying displays, NAND flash memory and custom-built A4 and A5 chips for its products. It has been reported that Samsung may soon lose its iOS device processor contract as Apple turns to rival TSMC.

The manufacturing relationship means Samsung gets information about the innards of Apple’s non-released devices months before the actual manufacturing ramp up. This early access to Apple’s designs could have led Samsung to move with the iPhone 5 ban in Korea ahead of Apple’s official launch. On the other hand, Apple did not accuse Samsung yet of abusing its manufacturing contract to rip off Apple’s upcoming devices with its own products.

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Digitimes: TSMC confirmed as Apple’s new processor fab

The rumors have been going on for months, but Digitimes is today saying Apple’s new processor foundry is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The move by Apple is believed to be precipitated by Apple’s ongoing legal battles with Samsung, who has provided Apple with processors since the original iPhone was released in 2007 through Apple’s release of “its own” A4 processor and A5 iPad processor earlier this year.

Apple has recently signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), industry sources have claimed. Under the terms of the agreement, TSMC will apply its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs, according to the sources.

The contract appears to be long and lucrative for TSMC..

TSMC is believed to have quietly secured Apple’s contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6′s successor, the sources said.

In addition, the agreed contract quotes are favorable to bring little impact on TSMC’s profitability, the sources revealed. TSMC managed to negotiate a good price, allowing gross margins yielded by Apple’s orders to be similar to its overall gross margin performance at present, the sources indicated. TSMC’s gross margin for the second quarter of 2011 arrived at 46%.

The details weren’t released publicly and as can be expected, neither company is commenting on the move.

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Windows 8 tablet gets previewed

Joanna Stern at the Verge does an overview of the Windows 8 Samsung tablet that Microsoft is displaying at BUILD today.

One caveat noticed by DF:

However, fan noise is very noticeable, as is the heat coming out of the top vent, and a fast boot doesn’t excuse the slow wake-up times compared to ARM-based cellphones and tablets.

Tablet devices running Windows 8 should be showing up next year and look to take on Apple’s dominance in tablets with its iPad (which should be on version 3 by then).

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Samsung targets iOS devices in France as Apple puts brakes on Motorola until Google merger is completed


This is a Samsung-branded Windows 8 tablet Microsoft is giving away to BUILD attendees today. 

The latest in the ongoing patent saga involving Apple, Google, Motorola and Samsung includes an unexpected twist as Samsung goes after iPhone and iPad with a complaint filed before a Paris district court in July. The filing alleges infringement of Samsung’s three technology patents, reports AFP. The first hearing is expected in December of this year.

Meanwhile, patent expert Florian Müller notes on his blog FOSSPatents that Apple has filed motions to temporarily halt two Motorola lawsuits until Google completes its $12.5 billion acquisition, which shook the technology world last month. Put simply, Apple argues Motorola waived its rights to sue when it transferred patents to Google. Apple wrote:

To further its pending acquisition by Google, Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action. According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit

As you know, Google has transferred some of the Motorola patents to HTC, in addition to the ones acquired from Palm and Openwave Systems. HTC then used those patents to counter-sue Apple. Back to Apple vs. Samsung…

Financial Times today opined that Samsung needs to hit the reset button, predicting a licensing agreement of sorts provided Apple succeeds in blocking Galaxy products in the U.S. next month. Contrary to the reports, the publication thinks “Apple is restricted from taking its chip business to Samsung’s rivals in Taiwan because Samsung offers a complete package of components that other firms cannot match”. However, there are indications that Apple’s been lowering Samsung orders for some time and it’s widely believed the company is eager to take its silicon business to TSMC beginning next year.

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iPad 2 estimates jump from 14 million to 20 million for Q3

A new report from Taiwan Economic News claims Apple’s main supplier Foxconn has significantly upped its iPad 2 shipment estimates from 14 million to  20 million units for Q3. The report notes this marks a significant “42.8% increase from its original projection” made in July. This confirms previous reports for third quarter estimates we told you about last week.
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Wow, Apple actually got Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned in Germany

The verdict is in.  German consumers won’t soon be able to pick up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

A Dusseldorf court today upheld the temporary sales ban it issued Aug. 9, rejecting Samsung’s bid to overturn it for the most part. The judges won’t ban sales in other European Union countries as Apple had sought, Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said when delivering the verdict.

The judge stopped at German borders instead of issuing a full EU wide ban but further rulings could see the ban spread.

“The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” Brueckner-Hofmann said. “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks” like the design Apple has protected in Europe.

The ruling is a big victory for Apple and as the Verge puts it, “the decision could foreshadow the future of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 and, honestly, any number of rectangular-shaped tablets in Germany as well.”

FOSSPatents mentions some other “oddities” which could play a role in the widening scope of the case:

 The Community design that the Düsseldorf Regional Court deems valid and infringed was also presented by Apple in its Dutch proceeding, but a judge in The Hague threw it out.

If the face of the Galaxy Tab is what is at issue, it isn’t Samsung that is at fault, it is Android.  Cross-posted at 9to5Google.

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Apple moves to pull Samsung phones and tablets from Japan, seeks damages

Apple’s patent infringement claims against Samsung now include twelve courts in nine countries on four continents. Reuters reported this morning that Apple is now formally suing Samsung in Japan and seeking to block sales of Samsung phones and tablets in the country:

Apple has filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court seeking the suspension of sales of Galaxy S and its sequel S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7 in Japan, according to sources close to the matter. The first hearing was held on Wednesday, the source said.

The iPhone maker is seeking 100 million yen, or approximately $1.3 million, in damages. Apple previously had filed four complaints before the Tokyo District Court, according to patent expert Florian Müller. Coincidentally, Japan is also another high-revenue market for Apple. Other countries where Apple took Samsung to court include Germany, U.K., U.S., Australia and more.
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Apple to ship 86.4 million iPhones in 2011, blow past Nokia –report

We knew in July that Apple had passed the imploding Nokia for the global smartphone unit lead by manufacturer. However, today Digitimes forecasts that by year end Apple will have sold 86.4 million iPhones by year which will easily best Nokia’s once insurmountable lead (Nokia had over double Apple’s share just last year).

Apple’s smartphone shipments are projected to top 86.4 million units in 2011, up 82% from 47.5 million units in 2010. In contrast, Nokia’s smartphone shipments in 2011 will decline to 74.4 million units from over 100 million in 2010, said Luke Lin, analyst for Digitimes Research.

Just because it almost doubled its unit shipment, doesn’t mean it is game over for Apple, however. Android makers Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei and ZTE all showed better percentage gains though they shipped relatively few smartphones in 2010. Read more