Google feels the Heat of Samsung Apple War


:::::Samsung Electronics isn't the only one
stinging from such an overwhelming
defeat at the hands of Apple; this is a
massive blow to Google and Android too.
A San Jose district court jury today
awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages
after it found Samsung had willfully copied
the various design cues of the iPhone and
iPad. In doing so, it just laid a smack down
on the entire Android community.
While the monetary damages are
significant, they pale in comparison to the
precedent set by this jury that Apple's
design patents are valid and worth
protection, giving it license to go after any
company with a similar looking product.
That's bad news for any company building
an Android smartphone or tablet.
"This is a big loss for Google," said Roger
Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.
"There were actually two parties being
sued by Apple. Google just wasn't named."
That Samsung will appeal the case is a
virtual certainty, but that's beside the
point. The decision will reverberate around
the world, likely affecting the myriad of
other cases being heard in multiple courts
in different countries. Apple has another
face-off against Samsung in an appeals
case that more directly ties into Google
and a patent over universal search, and
Apple will be the one with momentum on
its side.
So yes, the battle may range on for
another few years. But thanks to this
decision, public perception will be on
Apple's side. The decision was so lopsided
that it has to make all of the other Android
partners a bit nervous. While an appeal is
an option, it doesn't look good.
Samsung decried the ruling, warning it
would hurt consumers.
"Today's verdict should not be viewed as a
win for Apple, but as a loss for the
American consumer," Samsung said in a
statement. "It will lead to fewer choices,
less innovation, and potentially higher
It also vowed to keep fighting.
CNET also contacted Google for comment,
and we'll update the story when the
company responds.
Even as the legal machinations roll on,
Android players may indeed start lining up
to strike licensing deals with Apple.
Do any of them want to subject
themselves the kind of circus that
Samsung has had to deal with? Samsung
spent the last few weeks revealing all
kinds of juicy details and pouring
resources into a legal strategy that
ultimately was fruitless.
Samsung is by far the strongest Android
player, and had the resources to mount the
best possible legal campaign. In addition,
Google had been quietly providing its own
But if all of that wasn't enough, what
chances does HTC or LG have if Apple
were to begin looking elsewhere? HTC is
already smarting from a loss with the ITC,
and isn't relishing another legal clash
against Apple.
While this fight has been about design
cues and cosmetic features within Android,
Apple could demand licensing fees for
other aspects of the operating system
thanks to leverage it has won.
With many Android users already paying a
license fee to Microsoft, and now needing
to pay an additional fee to Apple, Google's
free operating system isn't as free as it
used to be.
"Google distributes Android for free, but
the IP licensing costs - from Apple lawsuits
and Microsoft's successful IP licensing
business - are getting quite expensive,"
said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current
Well, there's always Microsoft and
Windows Phone.

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