Steve Jobs' worst nightmare, but Apple Inc and Samsung are 'frenemies' for life

Apple

It was the late Steve Jobs' worst nightmare. A powerful Asian manufacturer, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, uses Google Inc's Android software to create smartphones and tablets that closely resemble the iPhone and the iPad. Samsung starts gaining market share, hurting Apple Inc's margins and stock price and threatening its reign as the king of cool in consumer electronics.

Jobs, of course, had an answer to all this: a "thermo-nuclear" legal war that would keep clones off the market. Yet nearly two years after Apple first filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung, and six months after it won a huge legal victory over its South Korean rival, Apple's chances of blocking the sale of Samsung products are growing dimmer by the day.

Indeed, a series of recent court rulings suggests that the smartphone patent wars are now grinding toward a stalemate, with Apple unable to show that its sales have been seriously damaged when rivals, notably Samsung, imitated its products.

That, in turn, may usher in a new phase in the complex relationship between the two dominant companies in the growing mobile computing business.

Tim Cook, Jobs' successor as Apple chief executive, was opposed to suing Samsung in the first place, according to people with knowledge of the matter, largely because of that company's critical role as a supplier of components for the iPhone and the iPad. Apple bought some $8 billion worth of parts from Samsung last year, analysts estimate.

Samsung, meanwhile, has benefited immensely from the market insight it gained from the Apple relationship, and from producing smartphones and tablets that closely resemble Apple's.

While the two companies compete fiercely in the high-end smartphone business - where together they control half the sales and virtually all of the profits - their strengths and weaknesses are in many ways complementary. Apple's operations chief, Jeff Williams, told Reuters last month that Samsung was an important partner and they had a strong relationship on the supply side, but declined to elaborate.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views, opinions and comments posted are your, and are not endorsed by this website. You shall be solely responsible for the comment posted here. The website reserves the right to delete, reject, or otherwise remove any views, opinions and comments posted or part thereof. You shall ensure that the comment is not inflammatory, abusive, derogatory, defamatory &/or obscene, or contain pornographic matter and/or does not constitute hate mail, or violate privacy of any person (s) or breach confidentiality or otherwise is illegal, immoral or contrary to public policy. Nor should it contain anything infringing copyright &/or intellectual property rights of any person(s).
comments powered by Disqus