Does Apple's victory over Samsung signal an early demise for Android?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | September 10, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Jason Perlow says Android is toast. James Kendrick thinks one jury's ruling won't make or break a thing.

Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow




James Kendrick

James Kendrick

Best Argument: Yes


Audience Favored: No (88%)

Closing Statements

Facing the hard realities

Jason Perlow

My opponent makes some good points for why Android as mobile OS has staying power. It's too big to go away completely, and the fact that it is an Open Source project means that the code could continue to thrive even under alternative or even community stewardship (think Amazon or even Apache) for a long time to come.

But we may need to face some hard realities here. It is very likely that Apple will ultimately prevail against Samsung, and as a result of the damages awarded to Cupertino (which could triple) the Korean giant might have to make some hard choices.

And if Samsung withdraws from the market or has to affect drastic changes to its products to avoid infringement, so will HTC and any number of other weaker OEMs. And drastic changes do not necessarily bode well for Android's ecosystem.

As my opponent has said in his own writing, people like the fundamental aesthetics and basic functionality aspects of Apple's products, and that may be the only formula that the buying public is willing to accept. Unfortunately for Samsung and Google, those aspects are patented. By Apple.

As if customer preference towards Apple's patented design and functionality isn't reason enough to worry about Android's longevity, it is becoming increasingly likely that the Android device ecosystem of the future will be monolithic instead of being a heterogeneous one.

This would be not unlike what exists today in in Apple's supply chain driven world (a la Foxconn and Samsung) where Google controls who manufactures and supplies components for their devices.

Google's walled garden will have fewer guard towers and nicer guards, but it will still be a walled garden.

And while Android may not "die" in that sort of a world, it won't prosper either. In a choice between walled gardens of Apple-controlled, Amazon-controlled, Microsoft-controlled and Google-controlled products, the more powerful ecosystems will prevail.

Guess who has the strongest.

Android will thrive just fine

James Kendrick

While my esteemed colleague Jason made a compelling case that the Samsung/Apple verdict would spell the end of Android, I'm afraid he's living in a dream world. The entire Android ecosystem, Google and its OEM partners, is the biggest the mobile space has ever seen.

While the clear case against Samsung is serious, Android is going to continue to thrive just fine. Google may have to adjust the features ruled to infringe on Apple's patents, but if so that's what it will do. There are billions and billions of dollars at stake for the entire system and they won't be thrown away by throwing in the towel.

The only event that would have a chance at shutting Android down is for Apple to successfully go against the core Android OS. Even that wouldn't necessarily spell total defeat for the platform. Google will adjust as companies must when faced with such adversity.

The better argument...

Lawrence Dignan

My verdict will get me pelted with eggs from the Android army, but I have to go with Perlow's argument. It was close and frankly I agree with Kendrick that Android will hum along. I totally agree with Kendrick's argument that Google needs to step up and settle the Apple patent stuff so we can end these OEM sideshows. Overall though, Perlow had a better argument.


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  • Obviously not

    Where else will the huge number of OEMs go?
    Windows phone 8? sure, it would benefit, but there is no way in hell that windows phone 8 can suddenly become the "go-to" phone OS

    Back to Symbian? hey, if Nokia was still pushing it, than it is a possibility, but now, symbian has NO potential, especially considering that Nokia did not release a single new Symbian at Nokia World.

    WebOS, well that doesn't seem likely, since WebOS still NEEDS a LOT of work. I find it ironic that "Web"OS has such poor HTML5 support.

    Meego? I seriously doubt it, since both major backers (nokia and intel) have backed away. The Jolla mobile guys might be onto something though, but I doubt that they can pull some mainstream success.

    So where does that leave us? right, android
    Reply 3 Votes I'm for No
    • Apple fan

      I've been an apple developer and fan since '86 but while I see android adjusting and perhaps being a bit more innovative I don't see it disapearing.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • Where else will the huge number of OEMs go? Simple. Microsoft.

      There is more money to be made selling Windows RT tablets and Windows Phone 8 than there is selling Android - and these OEMs become more or less un-sue-able. Of course, Windows RT and WP 8 are BIG unknowns but if I had to bet, I'd give Microsoft better odds than Android.
      M Wagner
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • I don't think so...

    There are still court battles going on in 6 or 7 dfferent countries between Apple and Samsung, according to reports I've read. This decision is said to have been made by a bias jury? Let's wait and see if Samsung wins anything more.
    Reply 2 Votes I'm for No
    • Most Excluding the USA

      Have ruled against Apple.
      Guess this means (IF upheld in the USA) that the rest of the world will get the good stuff.
      Reply 5 Votes I'm Undecided
      • More innovation?

        Rulings in Apple's favor just make it necessary to be more creative if you're not Apple. And vicie versie. I've had to look for the big button on the bottom front or big Apple on the back of smartphones for quick ID'ing for a while now. That Samsung's phones look a lot like Apple's isn't exactly a revelation.
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
        • You mean like...

          Full QWERTY, big SAMSUNG on the front, and 4 phisical keys on the bottom. Are not differential enough?

          Yes US jury did ruled that such phone violates Apple design patent...

          There is no space left.....
          Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
          • The USA is not the world!

            Most people who have owned both Samsung phones and apple phones are aware of the significant number of differences between the devices and could never mistake one for the other.

            I honestly feel that if anything significant happens from this case, then it may be a revision of patent laws in the US where ridiculously wide patents are granted and where the government and courts have a tendancy to, shall we say "respect" US owned companies.
            Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
          • The patent system needs fixing

            Unless the US patent system is fixed, and stops granting wide patents on obvious tech, then backing USA companies even when it is obvious it is anticompetitive, then the US will become a backwater country for tech.

            Have no doubt, the rest of the world likes competition and choice and is a far larger market than the USA.

            Apple's 'win' just makes a mockery of the US patent system and will hurt the US customer's choice in future. The rest of the world will move on.
            Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
          • They're not identical

            But when I see someone holding a phone and only see the front screen I sometimes have to look for secondary clues. Set the iPhone and some Samsung phones side by side and they're obviously different, but at quick glance some of them can be confused.

            I own a Galaxy S 4G and I support about 100 users with iPhones. I should be able to tell at a glance, but I can't always.
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided