Apple v. Samsung: What Verdict Means for You and the Tech Industry
The Apple v. Samsung verdict could change the tech industry and effect gadgets.
Aug. 27, 2012 — -- The verdict in the landmark Apple v. Samsung case was a major win for Apple -- the jury finding that many of Samsung's phones and tablets copied Apple's iPhone and iPad, and recommending that Samsung pay Apple over $1 billion in damages.
But it's not just Samsung that is going to pay and it's certainly not just about money (although Samsung's stock price has dropped over the past few days). The impact could ripple out from the company to the rest of the mobile industry, and ultimately to the technology you buy or own.
Products Could Start to Look Different
There's one thing many industry analysts agree on in the wake of the verdict: there's going to have to be more innovation in mobile devices. Plain and simple: products will have to start to look different from the iPhone and iPad.
"The jury reaffirmed Apple's claim that design may be obvious when you see it but it takes of work, vision refinement to make it all come together as an experience. At the moment the only handset vendors that probably aren't concerned long term are Nokia and RIM," Michael Gartenberg, research director at the market research firm Gartner, told ABC News. "With Apple patents being upheld this will force the larger industry toward greater innovation and differentiation. If you're a CE [consumer electronics] vendor thinking of 'borrowing' any aspect of Apple design, you might want to think twice."
Nilay Patel, a former patent attorney and managing editor of The Verge, a technology publication, has said the same, and points out that Apple's competitors have already begun to change their new products to protect themselves.
"I think Apple's proven that its case about copying is very strong; we are already seeing software features change," Patel told ABC News. "I am sure we are going to see other software changes. I also believe we are going to see a highly differentiated hardware design."
During the trial, Apple's lawyers pointed to phones made by Nokia -- the Lumia 900 in particular -- to illustrate its point that not all phones had to be made to look like the iPhone.
Microsoft's Windows Phone Could Surge
Google's Android operating system was a center point in this trial. It is used in more mobile devices than any other, including all the Samsung products in dispute in this case. A number of Android features, including the way users have to move their fingers to zoom in or out on their screens, were found to infringe on Apple's patents.
"I think Apple's ultimate target is not just Samsung but the Android ecosystem. They view Google as their ultimate competitor, this is a setback for all of Android," Mark Lemley, a law professor at Stanford University, told ABC News.
With that in mind, some analysts believe that could be a major boon for Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system.
"The Samsung-Apple verdict was a good for Microsoft's Windows Phone," said Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights, in an interview with ABC News. "Not only is Microsoft free and clear of legal encumbrances, the once 'free' Android is looking more expensive every day when you add the Microsoft license fee plus a potential Apple license fee."
Microsoft employees even tweeted that reaction after the verdict was announced. "Windows Phone is looking gooooood right now," "Bill Cox, , Sr. Director of Marketing Communications for the Windows Phone, tweeted after the verdict. Microsoft's next version of Windows Phone -- Windows Phone 8 -- is expected to hit in the next couple of weeks. Popular Android handset makers, including Samsung and HTC, already sell Windows Phone devices.