Apple v Samsung: The Pace of Innovation Outstrips the Impact of Law
After allowing most of the dust to settle from the massive coverage of Apple’s court victory over Samsung – in which Apple was awarded more than $1B in damages and Samsung was told to stop sales of several telephone and tablet models – what we find is an unchanged market filled with customers who are unaffected.
By the time even the first appeals make their way through the various steps and levels of court, Samsung’s current in-market designs – i.e., the ones that angered Apple and led to the court decision - will be more than two years old. Given the constant pace and state of design and feature/function innovation in mobile device development and manufacturing, they will be quaint relics, like the RIM Blackberry Curves and original Moto Droids still in use. The cash award, if it is ever distributed, will amount to a relatively uncomfortable dinner check for Samsung.
What the court decision really means is that device look-and-feel, along with some basic user interaction styles, have to continue to be innovated and innovative. “New every two” used to be a plan for upgrading an aging device every two years; now its de facto meaning is a new feature, interface, color, button placement, or OS version every two months or models, whichever comes first. Users increasingly have and use multiple devices in different ways depending on location, application, network, and mood. For users, getting a new mobile device is no longer as much of a “thought+plan+action” process that involves figuring out relevant apps, OSes, coverage, networks, security, and so on. It’s much more just an “action” process: See the device, spend the cash, get the device.
In short, the court action and decision may drive some changes in how Samsung and other device designers/makers conceive, envision, and build their offerings. It may help to further accelerate development and innovation in many ways, meaning that enterprise IT and telecom executives/managers are facing even more challenges – therefore, job security? - for the next several years. The net effect on current business? Practically nothing. The next devices are already in the pipeline.