By Scott Martin, USA Today
Apple’s swift victory in defense of its iPad and iPhone designs with a
jury verdict of patent infringement against Samsung is likely to have
wide-ranging effects on other device makers that run Google’s popular
Android operating system — and on their customers.
It could mean higher prices for the coolest features, different choices
in mobile devices, and devices that work in less familiar ways. It means
Apple’s rival smartphone and tablet makers, and Google, will have to
The next step for Samsung is to appeal to the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., which could take a year or more.
“The smart money is going to say this is the end of Act One,
we’ve teed it up for the federal circuit, and we’ll see what’s on for
Act Two,” says Robert Merges of Boalt Law School at the University of
“The bottom line is (that Apple has) shown the
world that they are going to use these patents, and you better keep a
wide berth, or get out of the mobile market,” says Merges.
of Android devices designing their next products likely are steering a
wide path around Apple’s litigation and will take the Samsung verdict
Apple’s goal is to keep iPhone and iPad as
distinctive as possible, says Merges. The more design elements that
others knock off, the more Apple’s coveted profit margins are
threatened. “If you want to charge twice as much as the other guy, your
phone has to be twice as cool and distinctive,” says Merges.
an open question as to whether Apple will take aim directly at Google
next. Competition between the two has grown fierce, ranging from
competing online mapping services and mobile ad platforms to media
stores and cloud storage. Google added another one in June, taking on a
new title: hardware maker. It launched its in-house designed Nexus 7
tablet, as well as the now temporarily discontinued Nexus Q music
Google’s Android operating system
holds 64.1% of the world’s mobile phone market, according to researcher
Gartner, and Apple’s iOS holds 18.8%.
Apple’s iPad is forecast to take 62.5% of the global market, vs. 36.2%
for Android-based tablets in 2012, says researcher IDC, which predicts
222 million tablets will ship by 2016.
says Merges, ultimately are the way for Apple to take advantage of
innovations to differentiate itself for as long as it can to keep a
“Hopefully, you can milk that for as long as possible, and the guys in the back rooms are coming up with the next big thing.”