I’m never one to always be negative about something I don’t like (he said, casually glancing at his collection of Apple products). Even in the universally despised territory of software patent lawsuits you can find a tiny grain of something positive – if you look hard enough. This time around, it’s karma. Due to Apple’s aggressive patent lawsuits, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has actually gained in popularity – the exact opposite of the anti-competitive intentions Cupertino had. Update: “The tablet Apple tried to stop”. Oh Samsung, you cheeky monkey.
Personally, I honestly don’t care about tablets all that much. I have an iPad 2, and I think it’s a neat device and that the product category has potential, but I only used it as much as I did because I didn’t have a laptop. I bought a new laptop a few months ago (an ASUS Zenbook), and since then, my iPad 2 has been relegated to bathroom duty almost exclusively. Still, the karmatastic story of Apple’s lawsuits actually making the Galaxy Tab more popular is something I can’t pass up.
A few days after the Australian courts definitively lifted the ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung Australia’s vice president of telecommunications, Tyler McGee (related to this personal hero of mine?), stated that Apple’s lawsuits have actually made the device a “household name”.
“At the end of the day the media awareness certainly made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a household name compared to probably what it would’ve been based on the investment that we would’ve put into it from a marketing perspective,” McGee told The Sydney Morning Herald. McGee didn’t reveal how many sales Samsung missed out on as a result of the temporary ban.
This is, of course, a tasty and delightful serving of karma for Apple. The company clearly set out to use software and design patent lawsuits as an anti-competitive club, but instead of reducing competition, they may have actually made the competition stronger.
In the end, we can only hope all these anti-competitive offensive software and design patent lawsuits turn out like this. Sure, there’s a lot of wasted money here on both sides, but at least the defendant gets rewarded with more sales, and the aggressor punished with lower sales (although I’m fairly sure it’ll barely register as a blip in Apple’s radar, and that the iPad will continue to dominate for at least a while).
So, even insipid patent trolling can have a somewhat positive outcome. Isn’t that something to take home while we slowly but surely creep towards Christmas?