Opinion: Apple is victorious, Android is screwed, both RIM and Microsoft may be grateful

Apple is victorious Android is screwed

In case you missed the news: Apple’s patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung is over. Cupertino walked home with a victory.

This was a big trial, and while it doesn’t necessarily indicate where the International Trade Commission (ITC) may fall on the same questions, the $1.05 billion judgment is high enough to hurt Samsung enough to change some behaviors.

Let’s chat about what this all means. Be aware that sides will likely appeal this judgment. Apple wanted far more money, and Samsung wanted money from Apple, too. My expectation is that this trial was well run, and the judgment is likely to stand, but appeals may delay the visible impact depending on how much risk Samsung and the other Android phone makers want to take on.

Google licensees are screwed

Samsung was really a proxy for most of the other Android licensees, and you can be sure Apple will use this judgment as a cookie cutter for similar settlements with the other phone makers. That’s the way this works, and it means Google’s late defense with Motorola wasn’t adequate. This happens late enough in the fourth quarter that no one will have the time to make critical changes to infringing phones, and since damages are based on what’s sold, many may have to pull their phones off them market in order to minimize the later judgment.

Beneficiaries

Clearly Apple is the big winner here, but so are Nokia and Microsoft. Had RIM refreshed its platform in time, it could have been a winner as well, but this ruling will largely affect the fourth quarter, particularly for tablets; RIM won’t have its new products in market until next quarter, so it may nearly miss this wave. Microsoft and Nokia, however, are indemnified through Apple cross licenses thanks to Microsoft. With some Android phone builders pulling back from the US market, they may find themselves in a far better position than otherwise would have been the case.

Windows 8 Tablets (particularly the RT version that runs on ARM) will be stronger positioned against the iPad, since the number of competing Android products will be reduced. Microsoft’s ability to indemnify its licensees from this kind of a problem suddenly became worth the price of admission.

RIM sale

Research in Motion has the only available patent portfolio in play that may match Apple’s. RIM has been positioning for a sale, and this judgment may now make that portfolio even more desirable as a hedge against Apple going forward. Both Samsung and Google will be very interested in this property, and Microsoft or Apple might bid for it in order to keep either of them from getting it. Suddenly, RIM may be the most popular girl at the dance, at least from the standpoint of being acquired.

Google

Google may have to rethink its model. In effect, Steve Jobs’ accusation that Google stole from Apple has been upheld by a jury. Being found guilty (granted through Samsung as a proxy) of stealing from a firm you were on the board of and whose CEO was mentoring your founders has deep ethical implications. You’d better believe this will be used in subsequent trials to showcase Google using dishonesty as a practice. Google should likely do some soul searching, but the long-term implications of these findings could haunt Google for decades, and likely should.

Steve Jobs: Vindicated from the grave

In the end, this is posthumous validation for Steve Jobs’ anger at Google and Samsung’s betrayal. Both firms were partners of Apple: Google was on Apple’s board and Samsung was a preferred supplier. This trial showcased that neither firm acted appropriately, and I imagine other partners of both firms are now looking at them differently this week. Google had this policy of not being evil; well a jury of nine just voted that this policy isn’t working particularly well. Maybe they should take it to heart.

In the end, this one decision just rocked the technology world; we likely won’t be able to assess the full impact until after the end of next quarter. But I can say this: What we see coming to market will now be vastly different than it would have been, and the market winners and losers will be vastly different. I suspect Bill Gates will toast and quietly thank his old partner and competitor tonight for carrying the ball this one last time.

Guest contributor Rob Enderle is the founder and principal analyst for the Enderle Group, and one of the most frequently quoted tech pundits in the world. Opinion pieces denote the opinions of the authaor, and do not necessarily represent the views of Digital Trends.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Product Review

This $295 smartwatch has the Armani name, but not the looks

The Armani Exchange AX Connected smartwatch does everything right. It has strong technical features, a good design, and isn’t over-priced. But is subtle brand name appeal enough to recommend it?
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Samsung's Galaxy Fold proves folding phones are the future

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is finally here -- it's the company's first foldable smartphone, with three screens, six cameras, and a dual-cell battery. What's it like to use? We spent some time with it to find out.
Movies & TV

Ditch the torrents! How to legally watch Game of Thrones online

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Mobile

The best Huawei P30 Pro screen protectors to protect your new flagship phone

The Huawei P30 Pro is Huawei's first high-powered flagship on 2019, and it's a stunner. But it needs protection from scratches and chips. Here are the best Huawei P30 Pro screen protectors to keep it safe.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy Fold won’t sell unlocked, but here’s where it’s available

The Samsung Galaxy Fold boasts top-tier specs in a groundbreaking and unique design, and as such it makes sense that you might want to get the phone for yourself. Here are all the places you can get the Galaxy Fold for yourself.
Photography

Family feud: Huawei P30 Pro vs. P20 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro camera shootout

The Huawei P30 Pro's camera has an amazing zoom mode and low light capabilities. But take these away, and how does it compare when facing its sibling phones, the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, taking regular photos?
Mobile

Leaker claims we'll be saying hello to the new OnePlus 7 range on May 14

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Mobile

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.
Mobile

Spruce up your Lenovo smartphone with the best Moto Mods for the Moto Z-series

Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories compatible with Lenovo's Moto Z-series smartphones add a lot of value without adding a lot of bulk. Looking to try one out? Here are a few of our favorite Moto Mods.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL will be coming to the U.S. with T-Mobile

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Mobile

The black satin Razer Phone 2 is now available for $500

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Mobile

The best LG G7 ThinQ cases will keep your phone looking new

The LG G7 ThinQ comes with a powerful processor, versatile cameras, and amazing sound. But a powerful phone still needs protection and you might want to change the style. Here are the best LG G7 ThinQ cases.