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Wither Samsung?

July 29, 2013

Okay, I finally took the leap to the 21st century, and I switched to a smart phone.  Specifically, a Galaxy S4 Active.  The Active part is probably the real key to my switch.  I’d seen too many phones not handle the rougher lifestyle that I’ll probably cause to a phone.  I’m not necessarily happy about the switch, since I miss my old phone already, but that’s not the point of this post.

I wonder if Samsung is ready to be a player in the battle for the eyeballs.  I think not really.

I started thinking this based on the Apple/Samsung lawsuits, where Samsung at least won a minor victory the other day on patent lawsuits.

In the wake of its recent similar ruling on the bounce-back patent in April, the USPTO has said that it also rejects the claims made in the pinch-to-zoom patent – aka 7,724,242 – including the claims which a jury used to decide that Sammy’s devices had infringed on Apple’s territory in the two monoliths’ ongoing patent infringement war against each other.

But these “final” decisions are clearly only called that to confuse everyone involved, since they are not actually the last ruling on the matter. Indeed, the bounce-back patent has now had a new re-examination cert issued that changes things again.

Patent law is pretty boring unless one gets called in to be a witness… wherein it’s usually more boring.  This is a bunch of incomprehensible law made even harder by the fact that companies file patents not necessarily on innovation but on protection.  Apple has been declining on its solid innovation, which is no surprise.  And it’s also not surprising that they’re trying to defend what they have in court as opposed to the court of public opinion.  Apple, as I’ve said before, is good at skimming the cream from the top of the consumer pile.  Market share has never been a focus.

So, as Samsung continues to take the device crown, does that mean that they’re winning a war for eyeballs?  I’m not so sure.  While their stuff is cool, there’s nothing I’ve found that truly differentiates a Samsung device from any other.  It’s reputation that appears to be winning.  Google, meanwhile, continues to drive Android to more and more phones, and I see as much Google branding on my new phone as I do Samsung branding.  It’s pretty clear to me that Google continues to make progress, though I still can’t exactly see to what end, but that’s another post.

For now, Samsung is driving more an more devices to the consumer, and I expect that they’ll be a strong player in the device business.  But that’s not winning the hearts and minds of the consumer like Sony, or Apple, or even Google.  Let’s see where Samsung is as HTC., or even Sony, brings out a new phone.

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