Tallest poppy ever: Is Apple ripe to be cut down by the consumer?

By By Frank Chung | 3 September 2012

The ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung over smartphone patents is your classic Goliath versus Goliath story. Which side are you on?

Last week, a jury in the US awarded Apple over $1 billion in damages after finding Samsung infringed on six of seven patents for mobile devices.

The decision quickly came under fire, however, with legal experts questioning both the speed with which the jury reached its verdict and, more broadly, whether such juries are qualified to rule on highly complex patent issues.

AdNews asked two brand experts whether, despite the most recent ruling, Samsung had actually benefitted by being seen as the underdog in the eyes of the consumer.

Badjar Ogilvy head of brand strategy Gavin MacMillan

Ever heard the expression, 'everything that goes up, must come down'? This is now truer for Apple than any other brand. Heavy-handed prosecution of its patents will only hasten Apple’s inevitable fall and by default, Samsung’s rise.

Apple is now the world’s tallest-ever poppy. Humans have a habit of cutting them down. Till now it has been an inspirational leader. Its innovations have redefined computing, mobile phones, music and retail. Its impact on the world has been entirely positive.

Read any one of the countless Steve Jobs biographies out there at the moment and you’ll know that about 90% of all this goodness was down to the man himself. He instilled the vision, and willed the products to deliver on it. He gave the world human technology and the world loved him for it.  

But he’s gone now. Soon, so too will his influence. Chinks will form in the armour. Complexity will creep in. Company will be put before consumer. The consumer will rebel. Another Steve Jobs, and another Apple will come along. It won’t be the biggest company in the world forever, probably not even for long. When the tide turns, we might look back at this court case and see it as a turning point.

Blue Marlin managing director Marshall Ward

With the $1 billion judgement handed down against Samsung for violating Apple patents, the ongoing battle between these two giants turns an interesting corner. This judgement validates Apple's leadership in the tablet and smartphone markets, and will force other Android phones into a rethink of their operating systems.

As far as Samsung is concerned, the decision will force it to innovate in these sectors with originality and purpose, rather than copy-catting the real innovators. Consumers are smart enough to see what Samsung has done, and recent retail stores that are direct copies of the Apple Stores reinforce the fact that Samsung haven't had an original thought in the sector for years.

Will consumers care? Probably not, as it gives them Apple-like products at less of a premium, and hopefully the South Korean giant will be forced to dream up new products that will further enhance consumer choice.

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