Reports: Last Minute Apple Samsung Settlement Talks Fail
With jury deliberations in the Apple-Samsung patent infringement case set to begin this week, word surfaced that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Kwon Oh Hyun again tried settle their smartphone intellectual property dispute, according to news reports. But the weekend conversation went nowhere, and, barring something unusual, the outcome likely will rest with the jury starting this week.
After three-plus weeks of testimony, some surprises and a ton of lawyering, the two combatants are set to deliver their closing arguments Aug. 21. But, in true last-minute drama, as the nine-person jury gets set to decide a case that could alter how smartphones look and operate, Cook and Hyun reportedly tried to find some lasting resolution. The companies’ attorneys reported the result of their discussion to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who had urged the rivals to work harder to settle their dispute prior to the case going to the jury, the reports said. Cook and top Samsung executives met in late July to no avail, to no one’s surprise.
While the financial stakes of the case are well-chronicled — Apple seeks $2.5 billion in damages and Samsung has countersued for some $420 million — the potential redrawing of the smartphone competitive landscape outweighs even such hefty financial considerations.
Perhaps what’s most difficult to predict is how the mobile device fabric will change based on a triumph for either vendor. For example, should Apple prevail, will the market constrict as competitors pull back from offering any smartphone that might prompt charges of patent violation? Or will an Apple victory prompt a flood of innovation heretofore restricted by the urge to copy the successfully and widely admired Apple technology?
Similarly, in the event Samsung wins, could the mobile market reflect both in the near- and long-term, a unanimity around iPhone-like designs in which little to no new innovation enters the mainstream? Or, on the other hand, will a Samsung victory open the doors to new vendors newly emboldened to bring Android smartphones to market?
Still, at this point, it’s difficult to argue against the numbers, considering the huge smartphone shipment lead Samsung has built over Apple, according to Q2 2012 figures, suggesting that no matter who wins, the market is unlikely to backtrack.
Keep in mind that should the two sides continue to fail to settle, the jury likely will return a verdict just as Samsung rolls out its new Galaxy Note II at IFA 2012 in Germany — an unveiling the company already is promoting — and only a couple of weeks removed from the long-rumored debut of Apple’s iPhone 5.
With Apple following its time-worn tradition of saying nothing prior to product introductions, reports of a Sept. 12 rollout are too numerous to discount. In addition to its sixth-generation smartphone, Apple also is expected to debut a new 7-inch iPad mini and iPad nano. According to one report, pre-orders for iPhone 5 may begin Sept. 12 as well.
Here are a few persistent iPhone 5 feature rumors:
- 4G LTE support. Apparently Apple has been negotiating with Korean mobile carriers SK Telecom and KT to provide the iPhone 5 through their LTE networks. Could the same be true worldwide?
- Thinner screen, based on a patent award
- Smaller SIM card slot
- Bigger battery
- Taller screen
- 9-pin connector
It’s certainly going to be an interesting mobile IT end to summer.