When giants fight, it is the grass which suffers.
As the never ending patent wars between the the titans of the mobile industry rumble on, one thing is becoming clear. The technology world is stepping into an abyss from which even the mightiest empires shied away from.
It is said that the only thing which kept the planet safe from all out nuclear war was the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Why launch your nukes at the enemy when they would retaliate with equal force? In the unlikely event that you were still alive at the end of the conflict, you would be left ruling over a desolate wasteland. The very definition of a pyrrhic victory.
That’s the way it had been in the mobile industry for several years. Each of the major players pre-emptively gathered a devastating arsenal of patents in an attempt to shore up their defences.
The message was clear, “sue us, and we’ll sue you.”
There were some skirmishes – piddling little border wars. For example, Microsoft, too afraid to attack Google, waged a proxy war via some of the smaller players in the Android ecosystem.
This has now been blown up into an all-out Nuclear War between Samsung and Apple. Each accuses the other of a litany of patent infringements and other industrial misdeeds.
The two have been locked in largely inconclusive trials around the world – until now.
A recent verdict in a Korean trial has lead to the total ban on the sale of the Apple iPhone and iPad.
A victory for Samsung? Hardly. The verdict also banned Samsung from selling their Galaxy range of phones and tablets!
Mutually Assured Destruction.
The billion dollar verdict in Samsung & Apple’s American courtroom drama exposes the craziness behind our interconnected industry. The main manufacturer of the components in Apple’s desirable gadgets is… Samsung! These damages amount to Apple reclaiming a few tenths of a percent from its annual spend with Samsung. Subject to the usual endless appeals and counter suits.
These bans, and fines, and negative press don’t just hurt the companies involved. Our entire industry looks corrupt, litigious, unoriginal, and highly unstable.
Worse than that, our customers bear the brunt of the impact. They lose out on buying the gadgets they want. Their phones receive software upgrades which are designed to cripple existing functionality deemed to be patent infringing. Finally, the massive cost of patent licensing and litigation will dramatically increase the price of new devices.
The only ones walking away happy are the lawyers.
I’ve always heard that the only species to survive a nuclear holocaust would be cockroaches…