Sue, Grabbit, and Run.

I have not written on the blog for quite a while, my health has not been good and I was not sure whether I would mention it on this site or not. In May 2012 I found out I had managed to pick up a wee dose of cancer and July / August I was busy getting zapped with 65 millisieverts of Gamma radiation. I did not start with great health and I think that is why it is taking me a long time to recover. I might have something to say about the joys of receiving radiotherapy treatment at a later date, or maybe it is something better unsaid.

I decided to write again now because Apple have won their lawsuit against Samsung in the US. I have never owned an Apple product, not because I was anti-Apple, far from it I think they have been terrifically good at creating good technology and well designed products, perhaps even deserving of the title innovative. I have not bought Apple simply because there was always a product that worked fine for me but generally at 50 to 70% of the price of the equivalent Apple item. I was however strongly tempted by the iPad until I found out just how much you were tied into Apple for software and the fact that you never actually ‘fully’ owned the iPad as when you wanted to replace the battery you had to send it to Apple and you did not get your ‘own’ machine back.

Apple have never been shy at copying features found in other companies products. The Mac owed not a little to technology pioneered by Xerox and Sun, and their OS is very similar to Unix. Now Apple are using their financial clout to try to hamstring other manufacturers from making good smartphones and have lawsuits throughout the world. Earlier this year I decided it was time for me to go down the smart phone route as I had recently started biking again and wanted a device powerful enough for me to leave my laptop at home. After several days of reading reviews I went for the Samsung Galaxy S2 which narrowly beat the current iPhone on the geekier web sites. I have been very happy with the Galaxy and am particularly pleased with my choice as nearly all the apps I use are free.

But now, in the US at least, people have to be careful about using rectangles with rounded corners for fear of infringing Apple iPhone’s look and feel. According to one US judge a person could buy a Samsung smart phone thinking it was an iPhone. The jury took only 3 days to come to their verdict, took no instruction from the judge and included $219,694 of damages against a Samsung phone for an infringement it did not have.

There are so many inconsistencies in this case that I do not believe it will be upheld on appeal, certainly not in its current form. Apple seem to have had it all their own way in the US case but are not having anywhere near the same success in lawsuits in other countries. A South Korean court said that both companies infringed each other’s patents, Apple infringed on two of Samsung’s patents, while Samsung infringed on one of Apple’s. In Holland the court rejected Apples claim of infringement of design rights while a UK court rejected Apples claim that the Samsung Galaxy tablet was too similar to the iPad. All, of course, subject to appeal. These are just a fraction of the lawsuits being held around the world. This is all about Apple and Microsoft’s war to try to destroy rival smart phone operating system, Android.

The stock markets saw Samsung’s share price lose 7% on the first day of trading after the court’s decision which seems a bit of an overreaction as the US is only responsible for 4% of Samsung’s mobile phone market. In contrast South Koreans are very fond of Apple’s iPads and iPhones and Apple are running the risk of a patriotic backlash if their tactics or US courts are perceived as behaving with impropriety by the South Koreans.

I guess I never will buy an Apple product now

You can read more about Apple and Samsung http://www.muktware.com/news