Apple Tries Patent Fight to Cool Off Samsung's Hot New Phone
Tech industry watches shouldn't be too surprised to hear that Apple is trying to add Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone to its list of products that have allegedly infringed its patents. However, its unlikely that Apple will get any help from the courts in slowing down what could be a very hot-selling product for Samsung. The pace of patent lawsuits is too slow, and the smartphone market is growing too fast.
05/15/13 5:00 AM PT
Apple is attempting to add Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone to its list of infringing products in its ongoing California patent lawsuit. The hope is to strike down its rival's latest smartphone before it can penetrate the market.
Apple's claims against Samsung are nothing new. However, since the patent process can be slow -- especially compared to an industry that is advancing so fast -- many infringement claims are on outdated devices with few sales.
This time around, though, Apple is hoping that it can convince a judge that Samsung's recently launched and critically well-received smartphone shouldn't be on shelves.
Apple isn't usually a company that likes to admit to its weaknesses, said Roman Tsibulevskiy, patent attorney at Goldstein Patent Law, but this instance makes it clear that it isn't deaf to the buzz that Samsung's latest model has been receiving.
"Apple put S4 on the infringing list due to how much effort and marketing Samsung is putting into S4," he told MacNewsWorld. "They want to rebut Samsung's anti-iPhone marketing campaign as well as claim damages from S4 sales, which are coming along well."
The move is likely to put pressure on Samsung to defend their model or make some counterclaims, but Apple's ultimate goal of getting the popular phone out of the hands of consumers isn't going to happen from inside a courtroom, said Tsibulevskiy.
"Apple wants to show a direct nexus between features covered by Apple patents and commercial success of infringing product given the damages trial that is coming up," he said. "Inclusion of S4 on the infringing list will not put any dent in S4 sales any time soon, because courts take too long and consumers don't pay attention to this list, as most consumers just want a good and affordable smartphone."
Reeling In On-the-Go Enterprise Users
Apple is reportedly bolstering its iWork team in an effort to expand its offerings for iPad users who want enterprise software capabilities on their tablets.
The company's current business offerings include Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which enables word processing as well as spreadsheet and presentation creation on iPads.
Since their 2009 launch, the apps have been well-received -- the word processor Pages has been Apple's most successful paid app -- but aside from minor tweaks, they haven't been revamped since their release.
Since February, Apple has slowly been listing job postings that make it seem as if a redesign is coming. The company is currently hiring for several positions on the iWork team, including quality assurance software engineers, which indicate the team might be close to a finished product.
Another posting is seeking an "HiDP Image Specialist," a job that would help the visual design team with the graphic transition to the Retina display.
In a marketplace where consumers are demanding more productivity out of tablets, any company that can provide that enterprise capability is poised for huge gains in the crowded consumer device space, said Sara Radicati, president and CEO of the Radicati Group.
"Apple is presenting a real challenge to Microsoft and all traditional PC vendors with its tablet products," she told MacNewsWorld. "Apple tablets provide a very streamlined, well-integrated environment that users are comfortable with for personal and business use, so it makes a lot of sense for Apple to up the ante with its own enterprise software."
Saying Goodbye to Microsoft
The dominant company in the enterprise space has traditionally been Microsoft. However, if Apple is truly upping its ante, it could emerge as an even larger threat to the Office empire, said Radicati.
One of Microsoft's main goals with its recently launched Windows 8 operating system, as well as the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, was to release a platform that was better optimized to run on mobile devices. It made some strides in that respect, she said, but the programs still fall short in some areas.
That's where Apple can sneak in with an advantage. Unlike Microsoft, it can design programs focused on a single device -- the iPad -- giving it a chance the chance to gain an upper hand in the market.
"Microsoft has invested a great deal in its Microsoft Office 365 suite for use on PCs, tablets and phones," she noted. "However, some of it is still very buggy and does not deliver the seamless experience users expect across all devices, so it does leave a great deal of room for Apple to come into the same market with a better, more integrated offering."
Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.