Why is Apple scared to compete with Samsung?

Summary:When did Apple get so frightened of Android that it decided to try to sue the competition into the ground instead of competing with them in the marketplace?

samsung-galaxy-tab-10
Seriously, you really think the Samsung Tab 10.1 can be mistaken for an Apple iPad?

Most people like some products, but Apple fans love their products. And, who can blame them? I own an Apple TV, five Macs, an iPad, and two iPod Touches because they're darn good devices—and I'm a Linux fan. So why is Apple so frightened of Samsung and the other Android smartphone and tablet vendors that it's trying to sue them into the ground instead of competing with them?

Apple isn't just suing Samsung in the US . Apple has sued Samsung around the world. In Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom and more than two-dozen other countries, Apple has made the same lousy patent design claims: Samsung has stolen the look and feel of its iPhone and iPad.

These claims are bogus. There's nothing unique about Apple's iPad or iPhone designs. That's not just my opinion. A UK judge told Apple it must tell the world on both its UK . website and in British newspapers that  Samsung had not in fact infringed on the iPad's design . See for yourself just how unique Apple's tablet design is:

Apple's iPad Design Patent: Been There, Done That (Images)

You may have noticed that all smartphones and tablets tend to look like each other. There's a reason for that. They all do the same things, they're all meant to fit in a human hand, and the phones are meant to place the receiver at your ear and the transmitter at your mouth. None of Apple's design patents should have been granted in the first place.

They were through and Apple is determined to keep these lawsuits running to the bitter end. Back in 1994, Steve Jobs said, “Good artists copy great artists steal". He should know. Jobs took Xerox PARC's Windows, Icons, Menu and Pointer (WIMP) ideas and used them to create the Mac interface.

Near the end of his life though, Jobs changed his tune. "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong...I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this,” said Jobs.

This is crazy, but while it's not going to cost Apple $40-billion dollars to keep these lawsuits going, I do have to wonder why, now that Tim Cook has stepped into Jobs' shoes, Apple is continuing these lawsuits.

Apple's goal, as Pamela Jones of Groklaw, has looked at Apple's legal claims and she's found an explanation. Apple wants nothing less than “all of Samsung's profits from any product found to look too much like Apple's. 100%, without even subtracting for all the other features and technology that Samsung worked hard to invent, and paid R & D to think up, and put together. On top of that, Apple goes on to say, it wants damages for lost profits, in this case $500 million just for that, with interest and costs. And then it wants 'similar remedies'  for trade dress infringement and dilution as for patent infringement. Ka-ching.”

I doubt very much Apple will get that, but if that's the goal, I think what Apple really wants is to ban all sales of Samsung, and other Android smartphone and tablets from the market. In court after court, Apple demands that sales of the offending products be stopped.

Why? I think it's because Apple, without a well Jobs, has gotten frightened of competition. Apple can afford to make nice with Microsoft . The boys from Redmond with their smartphones and tablets have never been competitive in either market. Android is another matter.

Sure Apple still owns the tablet market , but Android tablets like Google's Nexus 7 and Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 are starting to give it real competition. In phones though, Android has 68% of the smartphone market . Apple? They're a distant second with a mere  16% of the market.

In short, what I think is behind Apple's lawsuit mania is that the company saw that it was in danger of losing its marketing mojo. Without Jobs, Apple knows it's coasting rather than moving forward. Of course, there's still lots of Apple product hype. Every day sees another iPhone 5 rumor .  But, how long can Apple  keep the excitment going without  without Jobs pulling rabbits out of the product hat? As ZDNet UK writer Ben Woods put it, “ Apple is in danger of becoming boring ."

So, if you want to keeep making more money than many countries, but you have reason to believe that you can't keep the product money magic going for much longer, what do you do? Why, you do what many a corporate bully has done before. You try to keep your rivals out of the market by hook, by crook, or by lawsuit. It's what frightened business bullies have always done and Apple is no different.

Related Stories:

Apple v. Samsung timeline: The guide to what's happening

Apple is in danger of being boring

Rotten Apple: Apple's lousy design patent lawsuits

Why Apple should abandon its 'thermonuclear' war against Android

Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

Topics: Samsung, Apple, Legal, Patents, Tablets, Tech Industry

About

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, aka sjvn, has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the cutting edge, PC operating system; 300bps was a fast Internet connection; WordStar was the state of the art word processor; and we liked it.His work has been published in everything from highly technical publications... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.