Apple is at war and engaged in many battles on numerous fronts. Macs compete against Windows PCs. iPhones and iPads compete against Android-based products from Samsung, Google, and others. Who is winning?
Just as a war is not often lost with a single battle, Apple has been scoring some impressive wins recently, legally and in the marketplace.
In recent years Apple has gone head to head, toe to toe with Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and others in the technology industry over patents and designs.
Samsung lost an earlier legal battle with Apple to the tune of a $1-billion award. Samsung sued Apple over FRAND patents in Europe. How is Apple doing in these battles?
Under the threat of an $18.3-billion fine from the European Commission, Samsung has backed out of FRAND patent disputes, including Apple.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has ruled against Samsung and Google’s interests by reconfirming the so-called ‘Steve Jobs’ patent which covers much of the graphical touch interface on iPhone and iPad.
What It All Means
What does that mean? In the former, Samsung continues to lose high profile patent cases which come with monetary penalties. In the latter, Samsung, Google, and other Android-based device manufacturers may have to pay Apple a royalty on each device sold, and, more importantly, may be forced to avoid copying and cloning specific Apple designs and technology.
In the past few years Apple’s actions– both in court and in the marketplace– have put an enormous squeeze on all competitors. A few of Apple’s challengers have deep pockets that are quickly being drained to mount a defense against Apple’s incessant squeeze. Google has yet to turn a profit on the Android investment which many estimate exceeds $25-billion.
Other than Samsung, all other Android device makers struggle to break even, let alone gain marketshare. Microsoft, Amazon, HTC, Motorola, BlackBerry, Nokia and others all have lost tens of billions of dollars in recent years attempting to maintain relevance in the smartphone and tablet industry.
The damage inflicted upon the competition is severe, ongoing, and doesn’t appear to have any end in sight. At every turn, Apple soaks up most of the industry’s profits, and does so with less marketshare than leader Samsung.
The question technology pundits have been asking is, ‘How long before Apple crumbles?‘ There’s no math that supports such conjecture. Instead, the question that should be asked is, ‘How long before Apple’s remaining competitors exit the field?‘