Andy Ihnatko: ‘Near-Total Victory for Apple Stifles Phone, Tablet Design’

Andy Ihnatko:

Samsung will be fine. The biggest losers here are consumers. If the verdict stands, then the costs of the judgment will be reflected in the cost of mobile devices. Furthermore, other manufacturers will feel the need to buy Apple’s official permission to build useful phones, passing down the possible $20-per-handset fee.

I disagree. I think the licensing fees will come out of the profit margins of the handset makers. We’ll see.

And it’s possible that the next great phone, the one that shames the iPhone the same way that the iPhone buried the Blackberry, will never make it to market. Designing and selling an advanced smartphone just became a dangerous business.

I disagree. I do agree that the mobile phone market is the realm of those who possess deep patent portfolios or the enormous cash reserves to license them, and that’s unfortunate. It is extremely unlikely in this landscape that the next great phone could come from a small upstart. That is unfortunate, and it’s a great argument against the U.S. patent system. But I don’t think there’s anything in this verdict that would prevent Google, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Sony, or RIM from creating a new phone that is way better than the iPhone. Better necessarily implies different. What this verdict should prevent is any of them making phones that are disturbingly similar to Apple’s.

Monday, 27 August 2012