Apple patent lawsuit victory over Samsung will no doubt cause many to rethink their alliance with Android. We are likely to see a ban on many more mobile devces from Samsung and many other manufacturers as Apple, an emboldened Apple, forges onward attempting to create an unprecedented monopoly.
With Android facing the threat of Apple’s lawyers it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that hardware manufacturers are going to start looking for alternatives– just in case. I mean not everyone has Stephen Elop’s mindset of putting all of his eggs into one basket. Ironically, Nokia and their software partner Microsoft are set to benefit from the verdict. The duo have sufficiently differentiated smartphone software that they may escape the hammer that Apple wields over Android.
The other player that may be able to change their fate if they are sufficiently differentiated is Research in Motion, if they’re not, then their case is even more hopeless. However, if its software is different, then its operating system might become a hot demand item. Since it has recently announced plans to license use of several of its technologies, the Apple victory could take interest in its smartphone software out of the cold and make it a hot item. It would probably need improvement, but if the core is non-infringing, that would be quite attractive to some who want to be outside of range of Apple’s wrath.
Microsoft could also take Windows Phone to the next level and take advantage of the situation by licensing the OS to software manufacturers, if it is non-infringing. This would be very helpful to wider adoption of Windows Phone and with the big Windows 8 push coming this fall, it couldn’t be better timed.
The implied market dominance and future market share increases associated with the patent victory in the US is huge. The day after the gavel came down Samsung’s stock dropped 7.5% or 12 billion dollars!
But what we have to keep in mind is that this is only in the US. Yes, the US is one of the largest global markets, but Europe remains open to Samsung, Google and Android. The European competition laws and commission is more aggressive than the anti-trust laws and enforcement in the United States. It’s hard to see them being too pleased with Apple owning the smartphone market. The EU may force Apple to license its technology to others, or possibly interpret patents less in favor of Apple.
Let’s look at the other dominate global market, China. It would be putting it mildly to say that China’s intellectual property rights enforcement isn’t their strong suit, couple that with their desire to promote local businesses, likely they won’t end up at the same ruling as 9 jurors from California did. With Communism still in fashion in China, I can’t see them letting their country become overly reliant on a smartphone operating system out of the United States. Weibo and Baidu have already been working on forked versions of Android for years, which has actually received large funding from the Chinese government.
Even though the decision is a major blow to Android, the world is a big place and even though it may feel like the US is the center of the tech universe, it couldn’t be further from the truth.