Samsung’s exposure: It can survive the Apple hit

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Samsung reported $41.5 billion in revenues and profits of $4.5 billion for the second quarter alone, so it can absorb the $1 billion in damages awarded by the jury in “tech trial of the century” if the verdict won by Apple Friday holds. The bigger question is whether the jurors’ findings of patent infringements will allow it to keep its revenue and profit momentum going.

Samsung is much more than a phone maker, but its smartphone business has been a growth juggernaut in recent years as its Galaxy line has emerged as the flagship brand for Android phones and the iPhone’s one legitimate challenger in the smartphone wars.

Samsung sold 50.2 million smartphones in the second quarter, nearly doubling Apple’s iPhone sales of 26 million. What’s more, 10 million of Samsung’s sales were of the new Galaxy S III, it’s most direct competitor to the iPhone. Of course, Q2 isn’t the best indicator: iPhone 4S is past its half-life as Apple gears up for a new iPhone launch next month, and the S III is a new device. But 2011 sales showed that Samsung and Apple were evenly matched in 2011.

The danger for Samsung is the long-term repercussions of today’s verdict. If Apple’s patents are held to be valid, Samsung could be forced to redesign its phones and their user interfaces. It’s found a recipe for success in the Galaxy line, but now it may have to change up the ingredients.

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