Apple vs. Samsung patent trial - Even the winner will have lost
Apple and Samsung have been at each other's throats for years. Although Apple won the first patent trial, it has yet to collect a single dollar from its winnings and none of Samsung's products have been banned. While both Samsung and Apple have wasted precious time in courts, arguing over who stole what, competitors have begun to eat away at the two companies' market shares worldwide.
Both companies' attorneys presented their closing arguments on Tuesday April 29 at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. Apple hopes to win $2.2 billion from Samsung to pay for infringing five software patents. In turn, Samsung aims to win a meager amount of $7 million from Apple for infringing on two of its patents.
Ironically enough, both attorneys stated that they'd much rather not have had to hold this trial in the first place and blamed the other company for not reaching a pre-trial agreement.
"Bringing this lawsuit was Apple's last choice," said Apple's lawyer Harold McElhinny. He was quick to add that Apple generously gave Samsung a chance to stop infringing its patents with a warning back in 2010, but Samsung wouldn't listen.
"Apple simply cannot walk away from its inventions," McElhinny said.
Meanwhile, Samsung's lawyers blamed Apple for taking the issue to court and said that Apple should pay more attention to making great products, instead of attacking Samsung.
"What Apple needs to understand is that the answer to the innovator's dilemma is not here in the courtroom suing people," said Samsung's lawyer John Quinn.
It seems that everyone - Apple and Samsung fans included - thinks that this patent trial is a monumental waste of time for both companies. Indeed, both Apple and Samsung have posted losses for the first time in a very long time, due to declining growth in the smartphone market and increased competition. The smartphone market is now so saturated that neither company stands to grow exponentially in that sector.
To make matters worse, while Apple and Samsung have been arguing over patents like two dogs over a meaty bone, their competitors have gotten smarter. Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus and several other new companies have risen in China to steal the glory and the profits right out from under the noses of Apple and Samsung. These fierce new competitors often offer better hardware, fresher designs and cheaper prices, making Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy lineup look old hat and stale.
According to Strategy Analytics, Apple and Samsung controlled the market two years ago, making up 55 percent of smartphone sales. Now, that number has dropped to 47 percent and will continue to do so as small-time rivals continue to grow. One analyst said it best:
"It's a waste of time," said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. "It's been proven over time that litigation doesn't get you anywhere with technology."