Will Nokia and Microsoft be the winners after Apple - Samsung verdict?

Will Nokia and Microsoft be the winners after Apple - Samsung verdict?

Summary: Apple won big over Samsung in the latest patent infringement case and if devices are pulled from shelves then Microsoft may be the big winner with Windows Phone 8 coming soon.


You have all heard the news that Apple won the patent infringement case over Samsung and the mobile world is likely going to change. The current jury award of more than $1 billion isn't going to kill Samsung, but the forthcoming possible injunctions against selling current devices is going to hurt. Microsoft's Windows Phone looks nothing at all like iOS and this might finally be the way Microsoft gains some awareness for their mobile platform. Timing is actually great for Microsoft too with Windows Phone 8 announcements coming in just a week and a half in New York.

I am a long time fan of Windows Phone and think it is an OS that people just need to try to enjoy. Everyone in my immediate family, five phones total, now uses Windows Phone and it wasn't because I forced them too. Microsoft has gained market share in the mobile space since they released Windows Phone, but it has been very slow going. Windows Phone 8 is coming soon, device manufacturers are making announcements the first week of September, and there is a LOT of excitement for this updated platform.

Nokia has gone all in with Windows Phone and is relying on the success of Microsoft's mobile platform for their own success. Microsoft and Apple have licensing agreements for certain patents and they appear to be safe from the wrath of Apple at this time. HTC has lost to Apple recently, injunction against devices like the HTC EVO 4G LTE and One X, that required software updates and being that they are rather a small player there is the danger Apple could go after them when they are done with Samsung.

I also am left wondering if Samsung, already a Windows Phone partner, will focus more on Windows Phone going forward. They make some solid Windows Phone devices and with Windows Phone 8 coming out it is an attractive option.

I completely understand that companies want to protect their intellectual property and designs, but our patent system is broken, IMHO. This case is significant and I think it will likely change the smartphone landscape, do you?

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung

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  • Whose job

    Companies do not generally permit their engineers and marketing people to don the hats of amateur lawyers and revise product plans based on what they think happened in a court case. They will have their lawyers review the verdict and decide whether there is anything to worry about. Google will be doing the same thing, and will be informing Android OEMs of what changes they plan to make to dodge the traffic cones.

    That's not to say Microsoft won't send in its salesmen to whisper "Booga Booga" in everybody's ear... that's their job. If by sowing FUD they can get a design win, bless their hearts. It's just that FUD tends to work best on small companies that don't have their own armies of lawyers. Nobody cares about them as handset providers.
    Robert Hahn
    • It's bad for MSFT, PR-wise.

      Technically, I'm pretty sure WP8 will kick butt just by its own. Now they will say it's b/c of Apple knocking Android out that WP8 succeeds, and MSFT won't get the credits so it's bad.
      • LBeige .. does it really matter how?

        I mean, if the phone manufacturing OEM's drop Android completely, it logically leaves (really) only MS's WP8 and RIM's planned rollout of BB10-centric devices.

        The fact is, the industry momentum just got shaken like an explosion from Krakatoa. Change in the mobile space will happen. The where's & why fors wont matter when MS & RIM begin to reap the benefits of increased market share and obviously turnover.
        • Peep

          Really? Krakatoa? Why? None of Samsung's current hot products were named in the suit, so customers walking into the phone stores won't see any difference. By the time Apple could gin up a suit involving the Galaxy S3, Samsung will be selling the S4, which we can be sure will have a totally new, All Samsung look.

          Other than reams of electrons from pundits, I don't expect to see much change.
          Robert Hahn
          • @ Robert Hahn

            If we check around the complete non-OEM (Apple, Rim) and OEM ecosystems (WinPh, Android) for the smartphone market, you will notice that only two vendors really and completely benefit from the smartphone market expansion. And these are Apple, the market changer (as in phones with WinMo getting cannibalized by iPhones in 2007) and Samsung, the market follower. So it was a duopoly up until this point by two players who split the revenue in some 70:30 ratio or so (do not quote me on that) and split the profits in some 90:10 ratio (do not quote me on this one either).

            Assuming that Samsung's profit margins go on a decelarating trend due to carrier backlash (the ripple effects of Samsung being labeled as a copycat manufacturer are yet to be seen and understood), then the largest margin Android phone maker has to shift gears to really create phones that have a Samsung creative feature on top and pump them into carrier channels before carriers start to lose interest in Samsung phones due to its troubles with Apple. And this has never been achieved by anyone in any product history before. Samsung grew on the back of making Apple iPhone lookalikes and now that it cannot make such phones, what design philosophy will it introduce at this moment in 2012 (5 years after iPhone) to sell its new wares?

            The company has ruined its reputation, channel image, profit margins and revenue growth in the smartphone market by making Apple iPhone lookalikes. They f**ed it up badly and the better thing to do for them is to admit defeat and try the alternate designs right away. But it appears their management is still short-sighted.

            And all this leaves the 2nd place duopoly position up in the air. Sure. Apple will now improve its American marketshare even more given less competitive phone positions but more importantly, the 3rd or 4th position phone maker has a golden chance laid at their door to move up the carrier good books to improve marketshare with their alternate phone designs. And I see only RIM and MSFT/NOKIA having that chance.

            With this verdict, it should be clear that Samsung should have acquired RIM in 2011 itself. And that Microsoft should really acquire NOKIA and dump Samsung and HTC as phone partners. This in fact should be the reason that Microsoft should make their own phone either by acquiring NOKIA or by doing it on their own.

            I think Microsoft will do its own phone either way by end of 2012 which would be another surprise from Microsoft other than Surface this year. And that implies improved smartphone marketshare since they will really dish out Galaxy like or iPhone quality like top-brand Lumia phones as Nokia has shown they can do.
          • @ Robert Hahn

            By the way, please check this article by Kent German which gives the infringing device list from Samsung. Samsung GS3 is not included since it was not present at the time of filing. The ruling surely opens up future litigation from Apple against Samung's SGS3 for whatever patents that it may have infringed even though its outward look may have been changed. Essentially Samsung will be in trouble even for devices released from 2011 through 2012 eventually.

            Apple v. Samsung: The infringing device scorecard:

            Further HTC and Motorola do not make much revenue (and profit) from the Android ecosystem sales unlike Samsung which really was a giant like Apple is.
          • Apple lookalikes?

            Have you ever seen a Samsung smartphone in your life?
  • I guess that

    I guess that Google, Samsung, and the noid group of phones better get busy and come up with their own designs and technology. I personal like what Microsoft is doing maybe for the first time in their corporate history they are coming up with their own stuff instead of copying someone else's hard work.
    • Exactly!

      Proof that you don't have to copy Apple to make a smartphone UI/
    • Decision

      The decision is not about UI elements, so Google is not affected. The decision is all about utility and design patents and trade dress; in other words, how it looks. So ALL smart phones with touch screens will need to redesign since they vaguely look like the iPhone. Since the iPhone has no hard keyboard, the phones with hard keyboards are probably OK. Plus, they'll have to change the packaging.

      Geez - what a joke.
      • Will Nokia and Microsoft be the winners after Apple - Samsung verdict?

        touch screen is not apple's design, neither is windows nor the form factor that they are litigating. they are all derivatives of earlier works of the frontiersmen of computing. they are the real geniuses that gave us what we enjoy now... sadly they are not given credit, and the justice system seems to have no idea about them either.
      • Wow, you really don't understand the lawsuit, do you?

        It wasn't about touch screen, it was about the fact that a lot of Samsung's phones looked like iPhones. And yes, it had to do with icons (and the UI). It's like you weren't even paying attention during any of this.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • Coming up with their own stuff

      Like the task bar, start menu, explorer, aero design, MS Office, the Ribbon... you mean things like that?
  • go to a cellphone store

    iphone - it's fine.
    lumia winmo7 - not bad at all.
    Samsung galaxy S3 - not found to infringe in the court case - easily the best phone in the store.

    I'd given up on android, then I saw ICS on the S3, and with newer more powerful hardware, it totally rocks.

    I think ICS on the Samsung galaxy tab tablet - also not found to infringe - will make it a very very popular device!
    • while i agree

      that Samsung aren't stopped from producing and selling most of their top line, mobile devices. I really do think the OEM's with stakes in the Mobile space will be hedging their bets and likely to put a dollar each way - making Samsung, Android phones *and* look to "quietly" start design & dev' on WP8-centric phones & tablets.

      As for RIM? Well, i expect this is some of the best external help they've received in the last 4 or so years. RIM are back in the game; with BB10 based devices, i really hope they thrive in an industry they've been instrumental in pioneering.

      So, all 'n all, that essentially means the door has been opened for MS and RIM, i don't think they need to be asked twice if they want to (..will) take advantage of a bad situation for one of their major, industry rivals (in Samsung).
      • Any proof of that?

        "I really do think the OEM's with stakes in the Mobile space will be hedging their bets and likely to put a dollar each way - making Samsung, Android phones *and* look to "quietly" start design & dev' on WP8-centric phones & tablets."

        Or is this just mere speculation?

        Please qualify this wishful thinking statement.
        Cylon Centurion
        • Proof?

          Are you kidding me? I'm an Android fan myself. I own an HTC Evo 4G, an HTC Flyer tablet an am writing this post on an ASUS Transformer TF300. But Samsung just got fined ONE BILLION DOLLARS for infringing on iOS related patents. Any OEM who's not at least looking into Windows Phone 8 as a failsafe alternative is guilty of corporate incompetence.

          Remember, Apple will NEVER license their OS or allow any other hardware manufacturer to build their own iOS device (well, at least not until Apple so-dominates the smartphone market that the anti-trust divisions of the Justice department get involved).
        • Far more factual speculation then most

          He is making sense. This entire site is based on speculation, and if you are open to the fact that they won't be looking at WP8 a little more closely, then you have to be open to the fact that they will.

          It sounds like some people continue to believe that just because they personaly don't want phone makers to look at WP8, that phone makers should do the same. They will look at what will let them sell phones without being drawn into any legal battles, and take it.

          You have to laugh at the notion that a company would risk losing over a billion dollars based on a game of chance that they won't get sued on infringment, when an alternative is avaliable.
          NoMore MicrosoftEver
          • I salute you sirs

            and have upvoted you both
            Cylo‭n Centurion
  • Mr. Miller, are you sure your not retarded or amateur?

    Nothing can stop Samsung, even if they block some phones in US (while they can not do it in the rest of the world) it means nothing because USA is small percentage of Samsung sales, further more Apple can not ban Galaxy S III while no one cares if it bans Galaxy S or some 4 years old phone, so please don't misinform readers ...