Apple vs. Samsung: There Will Be More Blood
Aug 29, 2012 5:00 AM PT
Apple admirers cheered when a jury in San Jose, Calif., last week found Samsung guilty of infringing on many of Cupertino's design and utility patents, a transgression for which the Galaxy smartphone maker will have to pay over $1 billion in damages.
Apple's stock was given a big boost on the news. However, the battle between the two is just beginning, and the start of the week brought more legal wrangling between the two industry leaders.
Emboldened by the jury's findings, Apple moved to ban some of Samsung's devices from U.S. shelves. Samsung almost immediately vowed to fight that injunction. Instead of the mountains of legal fees and possibly years of courtroom battles, many companies might opt for some sort of settlement or agreement of licensing fees at this point, said Jeff Kagan, a tech analyst and consultant. However, this battle is no ordinary drama.
"Apple could either force Samsung to pay a fee for each phone that uses their technology, or they could demand Samsung pull their devices from the market," he told MacNewsWorld. "Traditionally, over the last couple decades, in similar cases, the winner charges a fee and the devices stay in the market. But there is nothing traditional about this case. I think Apple has its eyes on Samsung's jugular vein."
NFC on iPhone?
While unconfirmed by Apple, the next iPhone is highly expected to arrive in September, and as the month nears, more hints about the upcoming smartphone's design and capabilities are beginning to leak.
Besides a thorough preview of iOS 6, the operating system on which the iPhone will run, Apple has not confirmed any changes to the device. Some of the latest rumors from assembly line photos in China, though, show that the new smartphone will include an chip that will enable Near Field Communication (NFC) technology on the device, according to information from Chinese site Apple.pro.
In addition to the photos, Apple just won a patent that, when in use, would confirm to a user that a mobile transaction was successfully completed.
NFC chips are often used to support technologies that allow users to make payments at retail stores or exchange information simply by tapping a mobile device to a payment machine.The technology is widely used in Asia but hasn't largely caught on with mainstream U.S. consumers, despite the attempts of some of Apple's competitors to popularize it. Google recently launched its Google Wallet system, its own cloud-based mobile payment app that stores customers' credit information and allows them to pay with the tap of a smartphone.
Google Wallet only works with a few select phones, however, preventing its use for most Android mobile users. The technology has also struggled to gain interest because so few retailers have the separate payment machines in place to support the system.
Apple Could Be Key for Catching On
But Apple, which both manufactures one of the world's top-selling smartphones and designs its operating system, is in a unique position to introduce the technology to a consumer base that's millions strong. Unlike Google Wallet, which only works on select Sprint and Virgin Mobile phones, Apple could launch an NFC application on what many analysts believe will be the hottest selling iPhone yet.
Once a popular handset manufacturer is on board with the system, widespread NFC use might reach critical mass, said David Chamberlain, principal analyst at Alloy Research. That's especially likely if a company like Apple can give it more consumer value by integrating more of its ecosystem into the technology.
"Consumers need something more than just a wallet in their phone, and there needs to be more in the NFC infrastructure," he told MacNewsWorld. "A model that is going to catch on is one that gives consumers added benefit other than payment, such as ways to play games, sign on to WiFi or connect to other forms of communication."