Internal Apple document provided by Samsung
You’d think a corporate patent infringement battle would be boring — and you’d usually be right, even during the high-profile Round Two of Samsung versus Apple. But, at the same time, suing and countersuing a corporate rival drags out revealing internal documents that the interested public wouldn’t usually get to see.
Here are the highlights from opening arguments and the first couple witnesses in the latest Apple-Samsung trial that kicked off this week in San Jose, Calif.
Apple marketing head Phil Schiller disagreed with an outside ad agency’s opinion that Apple needed to reassess its entire advertising strategy. But he did have high praise for Samsung’s Super Bowl ad in 2013.
“I watched the Samsung pre-superbowl ad that launched today,” Schiller wrote in an email to the agency. “It’s pretty good and I can’t help but think ‘these guys are feeling it’ (like an athlete who can’t miss because they are in a zone) while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone. That’s sad because we have much better products.”
Meanwhile, in a 2011 email, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs laid out strategy bullet points, including a “Holy War with Google” where Apple planned competition on many fronts.
Most of the evidence that has been dragged up is well in the smartphone past, but Samsung also got ahold of four slides from an April 2013 meeting about Apple’s plans for 2014.
The slides look just like those Apple would normally show to the public at its product launches, but they tell a less cheery story, showing declining growth rates and including the explicit declaration, “Customers want what we don’t have.” By that, Apple means overall smartphone growth is coming from cheap phones and large phones, neither of which it was selling at the time.
Meanwhile, Apple had some punches for Samsung. The patented smartphone functionality it’s contesting includes the touchscreen gestures people use to unlock their phones.
In an internal presentation about “creating a more intuitive and emotional Samsung mobile interface,” Samsung designers found that Apple’s slide-to-unlock action was “fun,” while Samsung’s “does not evoke emotion” and is “not appealing.”
Another usability study from 2010 found that Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature was more reliable than the Samsung alternative. (Apple’s patent on slide-to-unlock is one of five patents at issue in the case.)
And it’s not just Apple worrying about Samsung. Internal Samsung documents show it was keenly focused on the iPhone. A 2008 document talks about the iPhone “redefining the U.S. market dynamics,” concluding “focusing on Hardware is a loosing [sic] proposition for direct iPhone competition.”
Later, a 2011-2012 Samsung strategy document has the header “Beating Apple is #1 Priority (everything must be in context of beating Apple).”
And all that is just from Week One. The trial is expected to last a month, with court in session on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
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