Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My thoughts on Apple vs Samsung

I wrote this in the early morning of Saturday (2am to be precise), back from a birthday party and slightly tipsy and also possibly angry or annoyed. I decided to sit on it (thankfully), and since forgotten about it. I've since edited the tone down a bit (removing no less than eight cusses), but the content is the same.

You may have heard the big result. Apple has won its lawsuit against Samsung in the US. Now, I don't like Apple. I really don't. But this verdict against Samsung is the right one. Do not get me wrong, I am not celebrating either. I think the patent system in the USA is messed up. But that doesn't mean this verdict isn't the right one. It just happens that I think Apple is the lesser of two evils, in this case at least.

Samsung isn't without their faults - they practically asked for it. So yes, this verdict might not be what some of you may have wished for, and yes the patent system is screwed but it's also the law. A stupid law it may be, but I have no sympathy if a multi-billion dollar company who aims to make billions more out of us can't follow the letter of the law. I love the Galaxy S2, even commenting that the design was nice in my review, but even I can see the similarities in the design. It doesn't take a law degree, just common sense and a working eye ball.
This is an Android phone. It is different.
In fact there is some positive out of this verdict because now it will force hardware mobile OEMs to step up their game. I am sick of every goddamn announcement of a new smartphone that seems to be just as boring as the last one. Innovation in design has stifled in recent years. If you are sympathetic with Samsung in this lawsuit then I am going to call you out - stop being a fanboy for once.

What do you think would happen if Samsung won? Would you, the people who moaned so much on Twitter, celebrate? It's like saying it's okay to make me-too phones with the same old ugly boring tired grid based UI that has been done for lords knows how long.

Rather than churning out cool hardware with innovative UIs like Windows Phone, webOS or even Android with unique skins, we get Touchwiz. Are these supposed to be good for the industry? Because last I heard even Samsung fanboys hates them. If you want an iPhone, get an iPhone. If you want an iPhone with customisation, get an iPhone and jailbreak it. It's not exactly rocket science.
This isn't.
Microsoft and Palm has already proven that it is possible to create new mobile operating systems that are unique and different. If the some of you who really dislike Apple, I ask you, why aren't you embracing innovations? Instead of moaning, you should be demanding Google and Samsung produce hardware and UI that features distinct innovative hardware and software designs.

Someone on my Twitter actually tweeted out that this verdict will be a loss to consumers. How so? Instead of continuing making me-too products, Samsung will now be forced to innovate. After all there are Android OEMs in Japan that can actually make decent hardware with their own distinctive design. This is a good thing. The mobile industry was in dire need of a kick in the ass, and this verdict is exactly what the industry needs.

As a child, only by learning from mistakes and punishments did I learn right from wrong and aimed to do better. The verdict is good for Samsung and it is good for the industry. In the short term Apple may have won the battle. But believe me when I say it that in the future people will look back to this day and realised that innovation, rather than Apple, won.

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