CXO

Apple whines, court caves, Samsung stops sales

Another senseless patent. This time Apple blocks the U.S. sales of Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet. Jack Wallen offers his take on this slippery slope that could tarnish the reputation of the Big A.

I don't get it. I really don't get it. Apple claims Samsung is infringing on an ornamental design patent and a US judge halts the U.S. sales of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.

Let me say it again — a patent over ornamental design. We're talking about a slim rectangle with a touch screen — something every company in the world is trying to produce — and Apple cries foul against one of the tablets that is probably its biggest rival...but only against the first release.

This is just sad.

IBM never came out and stomped its feet when other companies produced laptops. So how can a judge (on that level) cave to a bully of a company who wants to make sure their toys are the only ones on the playground?

Bad precedent. Bad judgement. Bad. Bad. Bad.

All of this because Apple doesn't want competition. Apple knows that Android is quickly becoming one of the most wide-spread platforms in the world and will do everything it can to stop it.

One. Tablet. At. A. Time.

One. Patent. At. A. Time.

There was a period when everyone joked that Microsoft was going to patent ones and zeroes. Thankfully, Microsoft pulled back on that behavior, because they knew that, although it might help them win in a court of law, it would certainly cause them to lose in the court of public opinion. And just which is more important to a company? From my perspective, it would be the court which would give the company the biggest boost in sales. Yes, it's good to have the law on your side to protect you, but when your reputation begins to flirt with disaster, your sales will be damaged. The consumer is a fickle beast, after all.

But even beyond the possible hurt this behavior can put on sales, this type of action simply makes Apple look afraid. Like the Microsoft of the 90s (and to some extent even now), Apple wants to be the only player on the field. Some call that a monopoly. Some say a monopoly is illegal. But of course we all know how those types of laws can be bent by the court of law to suit the big boys.

I get patents. I really do. I have a particular something I am hoping to patent and sell. But patent law is a very slippery slope. You claim you invented the rectangle and want everything of that shape to be banned for sale and your image might well be permanently tarnished.

Apple needs to wake up and understand that bullying didn't work well for Microsoft and it won't work well for them. And we all know how important reputation is to Apple. Besides, once all those hipsters stop being fanboys of the Big A, whatever will Apple do?

I would like to think that someone would step up for Samsung and block this insane injunction. Of course if that were to happen, that $2.6 million dollar bond Apple had to post (in the event the ban proves unnecessary — you know, should someone wake up and realize shiny rectangles shouldn't be patent-able) hopefully will compensate Samsung for all the lost sales.

What do you think? Is this slippery slope bad business for Apple? Or is it just another hiccup in a timeline that few will ever notice (besides Samsung)?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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