On Friday, the tech world was buzzing over the news that Apple won (to the tune of $1billion) its lawsuit against Samsung for patent infringement. The jury found that Samsung did, in fact, infringe upon and violate many of Apple’s patents. It is well known that patent-happy Apple has patented everything from the “pinch and zoom” motion consumers use to navigate mobile devices to the ‘bounce-back” action that the scrollbars make on the iPhone and other Apple devices. Apple winning the suit is one thing. But what does it mean for the mobile market in general? Samsung’s devices are arguably some of the most popular in the world running Android. What does this mean for the war between Apple and Google’s operating system?
Turns out, alot. Steve Job’s well known hatred of Android (and Google) is well documented. He famously called it “a stolen product” and vowed to fight it vigorously. And with recent numbers citing that Android was running on 68% of the word’s smartphones, Apple’s victory could mean a turn in the tide. By winning this round, other lawsuits against other manufacturers could follow. HTC, LG and a host of other manufacturers all run on the Android operating system. Apple, already a billion dollar company according to recent valuations, could make even billions more in licensing should the company decide to license to other manufacturers. Samsung included.
The second phase of the trial will determine whether or not Samsung must pull devices with the patent infringements from the shelves of mobile phone stores all over the US. This could be huge and the world is watching. With the iPhone 5 set to be released in September and the holiday season just around the corner, could Apple be ready to take a bite out of Android’s huge market share?
What does this mean for innovation on the mobile field? Will manufacturers be forced to create new multi-touch gestures for us to learn when interacting with mobile devices? Will we be forced to use one set of gestures for Apple devices and another for Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony? The beauty of multi-touch devices is how intuitive the gestures have become. Pinch and zoom makes sense to our brains. To patent that gesture and prevent others from using is may seem rediculous. To Apple, however, it makes money and it definitely makes sense.