Apple's (AAPL) recent courtroom victory over Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has not managed to fully root out the bubbling rivalry between the two bigwigs. Not only have Samsung's sales figures brimmed in an unprecedented fashion, but fanatics have also released bold statements regarding Samsung's highly famed Galaxy series.
The general outlook leans towards the idea that Samsung phones and iPhones are incredibly similar and that settling for the former would equally satisfy an iPhone fan. In fact, consumers who settle for Samsung are deemed to be more cautious about price. Some fanatics have even coined an interesting byword: "If you love iPhone, buy Samsung." This, among other evident signs, is a demonstration of the degree to which the Samsung-Apple rivalry extends outside the courtroom.
A large section of consumers maintain that Samsung Galaxies are mirror images of Apple's iPhone. Nonetheless, Galaxys are deemed to perform better and are said to include more features - all of which are offered at a lower price than iPhones. While these are just mere opinions, they display the rifts that have since developed between smartphone consumers with either side aggressively supporting the smartphone it uses.
Substantially the same
According to Apple, Samsung Galaxies are substantially the same as iPhones. In fact, this allegation has driven one of the longest and most dramatic litigations in the tech industry - the Apple-Samsung legal battle.
Apple maintains that Samsung sourced the stylish design of the Galaxy series from them. Backed by the jury, Apple has gone on to win the courtroom tug of war and as of the moment has the higher ground. In fact, Samsung is now legally obliged to pay out $1.05 billion in damages. Speculation is rife that Samsung will appeal despite the possibility of being compelled to pull out its devices from the U.S market.
Whether Samsung pulls out from the U.S or not, it still has an incredibly uphill task and will have to jump through hoops in order to protect its market share from an aggressive Apple. Considering the immense financial obligation traceable to increased marketing, I am not convinced that Samsung will be able to maintain its American market share. At least not now; the legal battle has drained its finances.
Killing two birds with one stone
It has been echoed over and over again that Apple's core objective with regard to the courtroom battle was killing two birds with one stone. Following the recent twist of events, the tech heavyweight seems to have succeeded in doing this. While Samsung has been directly hit by the legal bullet, Google (GOOG) stands to lose out on a lot. Not only is a huge section of Google's Android market shattered by Samsung's loss but other device makers have also started rallying a skeptical spirit towards Android.
Device makers are skeptical about Android because of the fear of being pulled into the courtroom. This fear is of course fuelled by obvious factors. After all, not every tech player has the financial muscle and human resource to battle lengthy and avoidable courtroom battles. In fact, HTC (which uses Android) has already started feeling the heat. There were some stir ups in its stock price moments after Apple's victory was announced.
As such, Apple now has the ultimate lead. This lead will give at an indescribable edge in the potent U.S market and in my opinion comes at the perfect time. Why do I say perfect time? This victory will be coupled with the launch of the iPhone 5 and will greatly enhance the popularity of the iPhone 5. Apple will therefore have an opportunity to overturn the lopsided sales figures that currently have an evident slant towards Samsung.
Leeway for smaller competitors
Regardless of the fact that a section of smartphone consumers find no harm in substituting the iPhone with a Galaxy, I have to remain open to the idea that the current situation creates a leeway for smaller competitors. Microsoft (MSFT) for instance has the opportunity to fill the vacuum that will possibly be left by Samsung in the U.S market. This possibility is however remote if Nokia (NOK) protracts its downward trend. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 is expected to grace an overwhelming number of Nokia smartphones in the near future.
In conclusion, I would say that the Samsung, Apple rivalry is far from over. I am certain that more courtroom drama awaits the two tech titans. I believe that Apple and Samsung will be pulled to the side by the roaring contention and in the process give way to other belligerent competitors.