Microsoft may have lost it, not Samsung

Only future can tell which side took the cup, but a casual analysis will tell you that notwithstanding $ 1bn lawsuit loss, currently Samsung is winning the war with Apple. At least Samsung is nowhere on losing front, Apple is.

Just to put you in the context, the current verdict is only for the one of a series of lawsuits ongoing between Apple and Samsung, not to mention that these both companies are in similar fight with other companies like Nokia, Motorola etc. on similar issues. It all started out in spring of 2011 with Apple litigating against Samsung. The two companies are still fighting in many other lawsuits with billions of dollars claimed in damages. Similar lawsuits are still pending in many other countries across globe between Apple and Samsung. This has been one of the biggest patent lawsuits in history, and jury ruled that Apple will receive more than $1 billion in damages from Samsung. 
Maybe it is involvement of the company with the highest market capitalization in the world or a clash of two giants, the lawsuit and proceedings have garnered a vast amount of media attention. It is not that there haven’t been similar lawsuits earlier but this particular case was given a high profile publicity which makes you think that somewhere both companies might have been involved in this quip to garner publicity and marketing the easy way.

I would like to mention that I had been employed with Samsung in the past so my analysis might be biased; it’s my personal opinion as I see it, discretion solely depends upon you. I see Samsung’s case justified in the whole scenario and do see Apple thwarting competition as was claimed by Samsung lawyers. I won’t say that Samsung didn’t copy from Apple. Nobody can claim that Samsung didn’t copy from Apple products and that’s true vice versa also. It’s a known fact that telecom industry has long been involved into plagiarism. But precisely that’s what has been the root cause for the exponential evolution of cellphones and technology and also the driver behind a competitive industry which has immensely benefited consumers. There are gags doing rounds on this one also Link 
The most important scenario that has emerged in this whole mess is the clear divergence between media and legal. While the jury has taken sides with Apple, online world, most of them techies, quite surprisingly, have taken sides with Samsung though Apple has been the apple of their eye when it was Microsoft vs. Apple. In the whole run down Apple has been lashed for curbing competition by most of the opinion leaders while Champions of Apple products have been silent throughout. I believe Apple would have justified itself if their lawsuit was about technical patents but winning the lawsuit on silly design patents like ‘rectangles with rounded corner’, they just managed to be new devil in world’s eyes.
Another aspect of this lawsuit is the country-wide differences. While jury in US has favored Apple, the court in South Korea(Samsung’s native) has ruled against both favoring no one. Link 
This has led to another opinion emerging that the ruling was biased in favor of American company because it was in American court. A quote from facebook status which has been shared wildly goes like this:
>>When you kill off the competition you can then continue gouging your customers.
>>It's the American way.
>>An American jury, in an American city, using an American judge.
>>Gee what a surprise verdict. 

Change of media-perception towards Apple
It would take only an ignorant to claim that Apple’s iPhone is superior in terms of technology than Samsung’s. Apple has been innovation leader in design but certainly not in technology. Not an excellent product but riding on the wave of publicity created by Steve Jobs, Apple has reaped enormous profits from its smartphone business. With just 16.1 percent share in the smartphone market Apple managed to rake in some 71 percent of the profit from smartphones entirely because Apple is taking in 49 to 58 percent of margins in this business compared to Samsung’s 22 to 25 percent. Link That’s a gross injustice to consumer. What is noticeable is that this fact is coming out very visibly in opinions now, which was being ignored previously by everyone. 

Free Marketing
There are two ways to fight competition. One is to recognize the new wave and adapting to it and other one is to ignore the new wave and create one’s own future wave. Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry preferred latter strategy and failed in it. Samsung preferred the first strategy and it has paid off very well. The profits that Samsung has made in this endeavor far exceeds the $1bn lawsuit put on it. As if profits from copycat products were not enough, with this verdict Apple has ensured Samsung even more sales and a larger market share. Not Samsung but Apple itself has claimed that Samsung products are similar to Apple’s and along with less price and Samsung’s claims(which are true) of better technology, means Apple has fallen in its own trap. Now whenever, a customer goes to buy Apple phone he will at least compare it with Samsung product even with a marginal conversion rate to Samsung products, Samsung will gain a large share of Apple’s pie. 

Brand Equity
There have been benefits for both of the companies in some form whether monetary or free marketing. But one thing where they both lose is their respective Brand Equity. Apple’s image has taken a hit due to its attempts at thwarting competition and ripping off consumer with inappropriate margin while Samsung is now legally a copycat brand. Though earlier itself it was a known fact that Samsung has always been an imitator rather than innovator, now this fact has got a wide and publicized validation.
At the same time Samsung also has been successful in garnering sympathy from online world which constitutes bloggers and techies on top of that.
As I see it, Apple’s brand equity has eroded more than that of Samsung’s but Samsung also is on losing front in this aspect. 

Short Term Loss for Consumer
Not even considering the silliness of Apple’s patents, the market and consumers are bound to lose if the patent system is not refined immediately. In the existing market, companies won’t be able to make designs which are so considered essential to smartphones now days. Without ‘pinch-to-zoom’ and ‘bounce effect’, the whole feel of smartphone gets ruined until a new design comes along from some other company. Such patents limit capabilities of manufacturers to a great extent in coming out with innovative products. Not only it hinders existing marketplace, the small and new enterprise will also take a hit as, in case of such a patent system, almost everything can be broadly patented by existing players thus leaving no room for new players to compete. Imagine Blackberry having patent on QWERTY cellphones! 

Long Term Innovation
Having said that this ruling may impact negatively to consumers and innovation in short term the long term consequences could be positive with this ruling. Whatever be the future of this patent war be, the manufacturers (not only Samsung) will be cautious of making copy-cat products in future. This will mean, to stay competitive, they will need to come out with better designs and better technologies in future. In the long run, this will result in an overhaul of innovation in every company rather than following a copycat product strategy. Apple might have been successful in proving that its products are better designed than competition, but it also managed to pursue competition to innovate to make even better products than Apple. Samsung is already proving this by experimenting with other platforms while Nokia is still in race. Link 

Having worked with the Korean giant for three long years I can at least claim that they have no non-sense attitude and culturally Koreans are not really famous for their sense of humor. But when war drums have been sounded, there is no stopping from Samsung lovers. A meme which turned to a rumor and eventually into a wild hoax has set the pathway for new Corporate Trolling. The hoax goes like this - Samsung just trolled Apple by sending 30 Trucks Full of 5 Cents Coins as a $ 1bn payment.
Whether or not in future we will see evolution in innovation from both the companies, one thing is sure there is no dearth of innovation in humor. Coming to the title of story, to protect itself, Microsoft may have chosen to operate in segment which is different from Apple in OS war but Samsung is still giving a beating to Apple in its own game.