Copying, Innovation & The Consumer

by Da'Von B.

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock over the last few days, weeks, months and years you’ve likely heard about the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit regarding Samsung willfully copying Apple’s devices, and Apple essentially winning the case. Here’s the thing, as much as people may want to whine and complain, Samsung has a history of copying other companies try clicking here to see for yourself.

Anyone remember the Samsung Blackjack? the Blackberry look-a-like device that pissed off RIM causing them to sue Cingular (the carrier with the device) because it was simply too similar to the Blackberry? No? Of course people either purposely forget this fact or never knew in the first place. All this lawsuit does is make Samsung actually innovate or come up with something original for what may seem like the first time in the company’s history or maybe that’s being hyperbolic but for the first time in a very long time.

Several outlets and random individuals have mocked the trial which is understandable, it’s easy to mock something you have very little to no knowledge about. But the overall negative consensus is that this hurts consumers with very little explanation as to how. The thing is Android looked very different pre-iPhone, and we all know how things have turned out after the iPhone was announced and released. On the flip side of things Microsoft & Nokia not only have a very different looking phone but the UI is fantastic as well. This is innovation, offering a competing service and device with similar and varying functions, not all phones have to have the look and feel of an iPhone to be successful. Now the success for the WP7 and Lumia devices may take some time possibly taking off once WP8 devices are officially released, but it goes without saying that in terms of differentiation Nokia offers it not many other OEM’s do.

The consumer isn’t hurt in this legal battle between Samsung and Apple, and there’s no proof to suggest that they would be. Samsung is forced to actually be different which could actually lead to some innovation in their products or not. With all of this being said the differentiation in WP8, Nokia has a chance to bounce back with Microsoft gaining consumer share along with and it’s surprising to say this but RIM as well with their upcoming BB10 leading to more choice and differentiation of products for consumers. Tech sites who have a certain bias should kill the noise of “death to innovation” this is essentially far from it, remember when the iPhone made it’s debut there was a substantial amount of criticism, this tweet sums up a great deal of the contradiction we see today;

When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone’s design is “obvious.”

Dan Franks

Go figure.