Kirk Klasson

Apple’s Backyard BBQ May Yet Prove To Be One Big Pickle

Well, whaddya know, Apple did it again.

Against insurmountable odds, Apple managed to convince a bunch of neighbors, a cohort of colleagues really, folks from their very same valley that they might have over to their corporate headquarters for a brew and a brat, that Samsung really did infringe on their design patents. An argument they’ve been making for the past seven years.

Only this time it looks like it might stick as both parties appear to have struck their colors, abandoned legal recourse and agreed to settle the matter privately.

Based on the latest verdict from this ceaseless legal Oddessey, Samsung will likely pay Apple a couple hundred million, little more than budget dust in the scheme of things, admit to nothing and move on, taking with them some bruised feelings about how fatuous and incalculable cosmetic appearance is in the value of personal devices.

Back in 2011, in post entitled The Perils of Being Cool, we agrued that adjudicating the value of design is without a doubt one of the squishious legal undertakings imaginable owing to the opinion of a British court that found Samsung to be less “cool” than Apple. Whatever that means. But it seems the jury in San Jose couldn’t quite tease it out either.

Then in September 2012, in another post, Nothin’ Like a Little Home Cookin’, where Apple first received its neighbors’ approbation, we mentioned that genuine technical innovation might prove more valuable than fashion minded affordances (also see The More I Buy Gadgets, The Better I Like Furniture – October 2011). Back then, Apple was seeking to restrict Samsung’s ability to market their smartphone domestically at the very moment it appeared to be introducing a technically deficient version of its own. Well, this might be a case of de ja vu all over again.

Several years ago Samsung acquired Viv, the natural successor to Siri, and brought it to market as Bixby. It seems that the primary technical innovation in Viv solved one of Siri’s primary problems, dynamic construction of conceptual ontologies. Essentially, Apple’s bespoke hardwired ontologies have proven too complex to push into new domains, a circumstance that appears to be at the root of their introduction of Shortcuts, a rather clumsy kind of IFTTT.

Apple’s easiest way forward would be to license Samsung’s innovative technology and then build on top of it. An option that may no longer be available. Short of that Apple is going to have to wait for not one but likely several generations of AI to get Siri back in the game.

So will this settlement finally bring peace and put to rest these antagonists grievances? Maybe. We’d have to see the terms.

But until then Apple can take comfort in their designs and the neighbors that still love them.


Graphic courtesy of SuZQ Art and ImagesĀ all other images, statistics, illustrations and citations, etc. derived and included under fair use/royalty free provisions.


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