Sunday, 26 August 2012

A verdict & a billion dollar fine: A Consumer's perspective.

You all know what is meant by the title. If not, lets get into little history.. The US Federal court has passed a verdict this Friday, on the ongoing legal war between Samsung & Apple wherein Samsung was asked to pay Apple a sum of approx 1 billion US$ as damage, for 'willfully' copying the design (trade dress) of the Apple iphone in Samsung's selected 'Galaxy' series phones. This is the hot talk in the tech world over the past hours. Keeping the victory/lose stories aside, here androidappjournal is trying to look at this verdict from the eyes of the consumer.

This is not the end of the war. Friday's verdict will help Apple to pursue other Androind OEMs in the future  waving their patent lawsuits. Though the verdict is not speaking of any product ban in US, the situation is not different in any other countries. Samsung and Apple have waged wars against each other in atleast 10 different countries in the same or similar patents. Hence through this verdict, Apple has got a huge advantage in the game which might scare Samsung or other Android OEMs, who are still struggling to survive in the fierce competition that exists in the smartphone industry. The other OEMs may not be rich enough like Samsung, to cough up 1billion USD which may force them to enter into an agreement with Apple to use their patents, which in any case will increase the phone price. This is because the OEMs cannot withstand the royalty amount themselves and thus will be passed to the end customer.

Immediate effect:
The Android OEMs will be starting to re-evaluate the disputed patents in war time basis, which will most likely end up in removing some/few software features from Android (Remember the global search dilemma, happened with the few Samsung phones). 

Medium term effect:
The price inflation of the phones. This is the case of passing the royalty charges of patent licensing to the end user. Even though this is not a likely situation, Apple's victory here may lure other giants in the field (read Microsoft) to consider getting some money with their huge portfolio of patents. Since the 'rounded rectangle' now officially belongs to Apple, the Android OEMs (others too..) may become more careful in their design, which will lead to make more original phones.

Long Term effect:
The verdict in long term may prove to be good for Android.This is because, on the software front Google will be more careful in dodging those patented code pieces. (If somebody can do it, it is Google.) Also the hardware manufactures will try to make their phone designs and custom skins more original. Sony makes some really gorgeous phones. The custom UIs could be updated over an update. 

Though the verdict may look like a huge blow to Android, it is very likely that the Android OEM giants will learn a good lesson from this verdict and act promptly, which will prove good to the Android, the Android eco-system and after all the customers.

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