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That’s with a ‘B’!
by Andy
August 27, 2012

One Billion Dollars!  Even Austin Powers would have a tough time spitting out the terms of that request.  Wow.  Plus, the fine could be tripled by Judge Lucy Koh as the jury found five counts of willful patent infringement (WSJ, 8/26/12).  Of course Samsung is appealing because it has to – not due of the size of the penalty, but the guilty verdict.

Remember, Samsung is the global leader in smartphone sales and invested heavily on its current designs.  Quickly redesigning their product lines to be in compliance will not only take time, but even more money in capital investment, vendor agreements, distribution commitments and more.

Additionally, the U.S. Courts hold significant global influence because our market is largest.  Those doing business here must abide by our rules.  Compounding matters, the U.S. does so much business with other established western economies that Samsung is facing serious hurdles as our global trading partners will be leery of carrying or supporting products with a questionable legal base.

So it’s not just the size of the penalty (Samsung has more than enough money in the coffers to pay the fine), but the future of its business.  That’s why Samsung could not settle prior to trial.  They had to win.  Now, they have to win the appeal.

Given this verdict, I wonder if Apple will go after other smartphone manufacturers on their shit list.  Probably not.  They have the big dog on the run and, more than likely, others will follow suit.  The Android operating system (and Google) could be an interesting target but mutual annihilation is never a good outcome.  Android and Apple operating systems need each other.  iPhones do not need Samsung.

This is the problem with being a category follower – even a massive one like Samsung.  Those that set the rules get to profit by them.  Those that follow can also reap rewards, but the category may have less interest in your success or failure as the influence you wield is more about cost efficiencies and price – two attributes that rarely win category popularity contests.

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