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Summary:

It was Steve Jobs that vowed to go “thermonuclear” on Android for infringing on Apple’s patents. He stepped down from the company he founded a year ago today, so Apple’s huge win in court over Samsung on that anniversary is infused with even more meaning for Apple.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses iPhone 4.0 in Cupertino
photo: Tricia Duryee

The timing of Apple’s triumph in a San Jose, Calif., courtroom earlier Friday over its legal nemesis Samsung could not be more poignant for CEO Tim Cook and company. August 24th is a historic anniversary: it was a year ago today Steve Jobs resigned from the company he founded due to his failing health, sending shockwaves through the tech world.

Today’s victory by Apple sent another kind of shock, but this one is more “shock and awe” due to the legal pounding that Apple’s legal team gave Samsung. The verdict, in which Samsung was ordered to pay $1.05 billion to Apple for infringing on most of the mobile design and utility patents at issue, marks an enormous victory for Apple. Though it was first to market in the modern era of the smart mobile device with the iPhone and iPad, Samsung and other Android device makers were able to collectively outsell Apple’s popular iOS devices by sending hundreds of Android smartphones and tablets into the market.

Jobs, unfortunately, did not live to see through what he started: an epic all-out patent war on Android device makers. He died six weeks after stepping down from Apple’s throne, from cancer.

The fact that Apple did not settle this case out of court, that it continued to push for a decisive legal victory despite the public process having laid bare many of its internal secrets, can be attributed directly to Jobs’ will. It was he who was incensed that former ally Google had enabled so many other mobile device makers to so easily reproduce what Apple had started with the iPhone and its signature iOS software.

Jobs was extremely emotional about the betrayal, famously vowing to his biographer that he was going to do everything in his power to destroy Android. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

In this particular case, Samsung is simply a stand-in for Android — Apple has yet to go after Google directly for this patent infringement because the device makers, like Samsung, are the ones who most directly affect sales of iPhones and iPads by producing similar-looking products.

This is also an important anniversary for Cook. Friday is also the year marker of his ascension as Apple’s chief executive. Cook has kept the battle against Samsung and others like HTC and Motorola going, but — in typical Cook fashion — is much more measured about why the company has continued Jobs’ “thermonuclear” war. As he said this past spring, “I’ve always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it.” Cook’s motivation for pursuing the mobile patent lawsuits was that he and Apple “just want people to invent their own stuff.”

Apple told the Wall Street Journal: “The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew … We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy.”

That message has been sent loud and clear today. And that’s a huge victory for Apple, but also for Cook himself. So the ruling today is an appropriate marker for his anniversary. He saw his company through a very risky war engaged by his predecessor: it’s a sweet victory — and huge payoff — for someone who took on the riskiest and most challenging job in tech.

  1. Not sure how you can see this as a good thing as far as American consumer goes. It’s terrible. The fact that a patent system is so flawed that allows a terrible proprietary company like Apple to get a winning ruling on rectangles with rounded edges should be concerning to everyone.

    But hey, it’s ok, cause you know, you have your cool shiny device that makes you look cool.

    With this judgement every consumer in the US lost today.

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    1. Amen

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    2. Nah, consumers won…this will force Samsung to continue on the design way they’ve taken with the S3, going away from the design that Apple created, and hopefully getting us a whole lot of new designs and innovations, instead of iphone clones.

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    3. Oh! and talking about rectangles with round corners? That’s the one patent that the jury said wasn’t infringed by the Samsung tablets :)

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    4. First of all, this was never going to be any win/lose deal for the “American consumer” – this was about one big company being rightly punished for shamelessly ripping off another’s ideas.
      Next, EVERY company is a proprietary company if they invent and design things that can be protected by patents!!! (Duh!)
      Lastly, stuff is considered ‘cool’ if it works well. And the iPhone owners are happier with their ‘shiny devices’ than any other.

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      1. Amen!

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    5. Very shortsighted. The American consumer won here. Why would I want a bazillion phones that look just like the iPhone? Just look at Nokia/Windows Phone collaboration and tell me that’s not refreshing (and I believe MSFT cross-licensed AAPL patents – the right way to do things).

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      1. They really did try copy alot of the iPhone, have you seen how similar their music player is ” samsung galaxy player ” just search on youtube u’ll see how everything closely resembles it even their packaging…

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  2. “Jobs, unfortunately, did not live to see through what he started”

    Karma is a bitch. When you are not a good person sometimes the world takes you out early. Cancer is bitch but Karma rules all.

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    1. You are a piece of s**t as a human being…no matter how much you may dislike somebody that YOU DON’T KNOW, gloating about their death is something that only a cowardly idiot does. May karma catch up with you.

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      1. Well said!

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      2. Couldn’t have put it better myself!

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    2. You said it right, my man! Karma is a bitch! Apple shouldn’t be in control of it all

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  3. Time for Samsung to finally start innovating. Maybe the Galaxy Note will be the first one where they finally forge on their own.

    This is a good thing for Apple and for America.

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  4. This yet again just shows how stupid the American way is (sorry to offend but it’s true) apple have blatantly copied other product to make the iphone they didn’t create a rectangle with rounded edges dominated by a screen, hp and Sony were there first maybe not with a phone but with pdas. But apple still copied that form factor

    Funny how the American company won in America there Needs to be a single worldwide patent that is governed by a court and jury from many countries.

    The American people are just sheep it’s not their fault they are brainwashed that way it’s a shame because America used to be a great country with great people. Now it’s just backwards.

    You buy an apple because you like being told what to do, you buy android if you like choice and like to make your own decisions.

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    1. Matt, your comment shows yet again just how ugly and despicable Apple haters can be.
      Apple had registered patents in place – patents protected BY LAW Matt, not by public opinion. They rightfully sued and rightfully won, it has nothing whatever to do with the American people that you so obviously hate.
      Plus, ‘android’ is a ripoff of Apple’s iOS, and get this **Google is an American company**.
      Now please take your petty playground insults and your mindless hate and get lost.

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      1. Well put, totally agree!

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  5. jimmy from Sydney Saturday, August 25, 2012

    This is massive and expected as it is a blatant violation of IP rights. In a strange way, this gives a wedge to Microsoft to get into this space – if they are good enough they will make the most of this – but, then are they?

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  6. Tohle me neprekvapuje. Americani jsou narod negramotu od kterych nevzejde nikdy nic dobreho.

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  7. Thomas Cherryhomes Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Actually, if you trace back some of the patents that Apple is fighting on, there was prior art for the “rounded rectangle” concept. I used a Xerox Star 8010 which had rounded rectangles all over the display, mostly in the icons.

    While these patents were awarded to Apple, and Apple legally fought for them, the circumstances of their acquisition are dubious at best.

    This is the crux of the current wave of litigations that have swept the technology companies over the last decade, the fact that companies have through clever manoeuvring and acquisition have amassed monstrous patent portfolios containing overgeneralized patents and are using them to exert control over a market that is becoming ever framed by its own successes.

    This is scary, fellas, and everyone is doing it. The people who lose out are the consumers, because in the end, they will be the ones paying for the court costs of this ugly battle, in the form of increased prices, and decreased innovation in this coming age of austerity.

    -Thom Cherryhomes

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  8. Apple’s win isn’t based on rounded corners as most of the comments are about. It is based on the fact that samsungs design team couldnt be what they were paid to be… Creative. Instead they took an iPhone and an iPad and said people love this device how can we make one just like it but cheaper. There is a good reason why you can get “buy one get one deals” on android devices. The American consumer wants great products but doesn’t want to have to pay the price for them. Stop buying into the idea that you have to “keep up with the jones”. The consumer is being told that they have to have every new product that comes out, a smart consumer can study and research before they buy and that will force companies like Samsung to build great products.

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    1. They really did try copy alot of the iPhone even iPod Touch, have you seen how similar their music player is “samsung galaxy player ” just search on youtube u’ll see how everything closely resembles it even their packaging…

      Share

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