In the ongoing legal battle between Samsung and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), neither side has been willing to flinch. But in the courtroom in Sydney, where the two are facing off over the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, we may finally have finally found one of them playing chicken.
Apple’s lawyers today finally revealed to presiding judge Annabelle Bennett what has been fairly obvious for those who have been watching the legal scenes escalate between these two companies over the past several months: Apple sees Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 as much more of a threat to its iPad tablet than any other tablet that has emerged.
The lawyers said that the 10.1-inch tablet would “take away iPad 2 sales so quickly” that users would be “seduced” away from Apple’s iOS platform, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
It also emerged today that Steve Jobs personally intervened in the patent dispute as far back as last year. In the summer of 2010, the discussion between the two sides began with “contact from Jobs” about the patent situation, according to Apple executive Richard Lutton, who was testifying in court today (via MarketWatch). Jobs got involved because of the close relationship between the two companies on the supplier side.
The larger Samsung Tab has faced a delay of nearly two months in its commercial launch in Australia: currently Samsung has itself delayed sales of the device until the legal matter got settled; now Justice Bennett is considering whether to issue a temporary injunction to enforce that delay; that decision is expected to be reached next week, ahead of an expected court date in November to finally hear the case, which could go on for months.
Samsung has already modified its tablets to sidestep some of the infringements that Apple claimed, but Apple says that there are still two patents that are being violated, both relating to touchscreen technology.
Apple argued that the Samsung tablet would sell so well that Apple would not be able to recoup the losses because so many would have subsumed by the Android ecosystem: it would “take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that by the time we get to final hearing the full impact of the patent infringement will be [felt] to the detriment of Apple and to the benefit of [Samsung].”
However, the real proof of whether Samsung’s has had an impact on the iPad would be if the two sides came clean on device sales in other markets. In other words, has there been an example elsewhere of the iPad slipping in sales pace or targets after the Galaxy Tab 10.1 got introduced? There are several markets where it is already shipping, including the U.S. and most of Europe (excepting Germany, where Apple has secured an injunction on the device). Apple refused the request to provide that data to the Australian court, notes the report.
Ironically, if those figures did get revealed, it might be the case that Apple would not be able to demonstrate any impact yet from the device — which is not to say that it wouldn’t in the future. Apple currently enjoys a 70-80 percent share of the tablet market, depending on the region in question.