The Smart Phone Wars Rage On…

Since 2011, Apple has been entrenched in numerous ongoing lawsuits with Samsung, citing intellectual property, patent and trademark infringement. Although Apple won its suit in the United States to the tune of one billion dollars, Samsung prevailed in Japan and South Korea. On August 31, 2012, Apple filed a new lawsuit, claiming that seventeen other Samsung products, including the Galaxy S III, Verizon Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 10.1 devices infringe upon Apple’s trademarks and patents.

The impact of the running feud between Apple and Samsung has been immediate. According to Nilay Patel, a former patent attorney and managing editor of The Verge, many of Apple’s competitors have been altering the design of their products to avoid even accidentally plagiarizing Apple’s ideas. Some devices, such as the Galaxy S2 phone, have been pulled from the shelves of many cell phone company stores. In addition, many, such as Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights, believe that sales might surge for Microsoft’s Windows Phone. This could provide a financial buffer for Samsung, as it already sells devices designed for the Windows Phone.

There has been considerable strife between Apple and Google/Motorola dating back to when Google unveiled its Android system, which late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs referred to as “grand theft.” Indeed, I-OS and Android are generally both different versions of a Linux-derived platform. However, it should be noted that Jobs borrowed ideas for the Macintosh from a Xerox-Parc graphical user interface.

In middle August 2012, tensions came to a head when the latter issued a patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple intending to block Apple from importing the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and “various Apple computers.” Apple responded by pulling two Google-owned applications, YouTube and Maps from the latest incarnation of its I-OS, although both had previously been mainstays on said device for years. The ramification of the removal of Maps from the I-OS can pose a problem for the mobile device industry, as location-based services and advertisements has become a lucrative market. Companies like Amazon, Nokia, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft all have stake in this market, and thus are competing as well.

However, the consequences for Google are particularly challenging, as its Maps application draws more than half its traffic from mobile devices, and almost half of that mobile traffic has come from iPhone users. Additionally, 40% of mobile searches are for local places and things. Worst of all, Google is at risk for losing the allegiance of developers who write programs that tie into maps.

As for Apple’s customers, they may not be pleased when they are presented with such inconveniences as having to download the YouTube App from the app store or navigating Apple’s badly-flawed map program. However, Google has been encouraging people to use Maps via Safari, the browser native to I-OS, and from there, downloading it to the I-Phone.

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