A federal jury's decision Thursday to award Apple $290 million in a patent dispute with rival Samsung is not going to slow Samsung's sales momentum in the smartphone market, according to solution providers.
"This is a non-issue for customers," said Ira Grossman, CTO of end user and mobile computing for MCPc, a nationwide technology integrator specializing in mobile solutions with its Anyplace Workspace. "Customers want companies to innovate. This is just noise that gets in the way. We have never had a customer say they are apprehensive about buying a Samsung device because of pending patent litigation. It just doesn't happen."
The verdict covers older Samsung devices that another jury had found infringed Apple patents.
Another trial is scheduled for next year to consider claims on newer Samsung devices.
Grossman said the patent infringement issues are "beyond the level of what businesses and consumers can comprehend and understand especially on older devices when those features and functions are no longer relevant."
The verdict comes with Samsung maintaining its big lead in the smartphone market with 31.4 percent of the market share over Apple's 13.1 percent, according to IDC's third-quarter report.
The $290 million the jury award amounts to a drop in the bucket for the $180 billion company, said Grossman.
Michael Oh, the founder and CEO of Tech Superpowers, an Apple-focused IT solution provider with offices in Boston and London, said he does not expect the jury award to impact sales but counted it as a reaffirmation of Apple's innovation superiority in the overall mobile market.
"Is [Apple] going to sell more iPads or Macs tomorrow?" he asked rhetorically. "Doubtful. What it does do is raise the pedestal that Apple is on as an innovator by a couple of inches."
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Michael Wieser, chief mobility officer of New York City-based solution provider and mobile consultant Breakthrough Technologies, said, "It doesn't seem punitive enough that it's going to stop Samsung. They have a lot of momentum on their side."
"Everybody has had this big fear that, without Steve Jobs on board, Apple would lose the war on innovation that they've been in. People's fears have been realized because anything that Apple comes out with is just a slightly different version of what they've already been doing," Wieser said.
In September, Apple saw an immediate, smashing success with the simultaneous release of its iPhone 5S and 5C, selling a record 9 million units in a short three days. The two models were the first handsets Apple brought to market since its release of the iPhone 5, an entire year prior.
Samsung has taken the opposite approach. Instead of hyping up one new device a year, it consistently rolls out mobile devices in sets of two or three on a regular basis.
According to IDC, at the close of the third quarter, "Samsung easily maintained its leadership position, shipping more units than [vendors Apple, Huawei, Lenovo and LG] combined." IDC's report went on to peg the popularity of the "company's long line of mass-market smartphones" as the primary force that "helped fuel volumes to reach a new record level," in addition to the quick adoption of the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note products.
"I can definitely see [Samsung's] margin growing going forward because Apple pretty much has all their eggs in one basket," Wieser said. "By putting out a diverse set of different products, I think [Samsung] will continue to gain market share. Apple has a series of gigantic wins year after year, but who is going to be interested in the next new iPhone if it's barely different than the last?"
Even with Samsung's size, Tech Superpowers' Oh called the jury award "no small amount of money" that amounts to a victory for Apple in the public -perception war against Samsung.
Oh said he gives Samsung credit for slowing Apple's market momentum in the smartphone and tablet marketplace.
"Samsung has definitely slowed down the Apple machine," he said. "They deserve as much credit for that as they do for dominating the Android marketplace. In my mind, there was always going to be another platform that would be a good competitor to iOS, but I always thought if Android was going to succeed it was going to be on the shoulders of a dozen manufacturers not just one. Samsung has done it on its own!"
PUBLISHED NOV. 21, 2013