Why SA consumers will benefit from Apple’s patent win

The recent legal patent battle between technology powerhouses, Apple and Samsung, comes as no surprise as tech companies the world over are continually trying to develop new technologies and strategies to switch consumer loyalty from current market leader, Apple, says Simon Leps, CEO of Fontera Digital Works.

The CEO of the digital solutions provider says that fueling this market share is the recent launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 which has, to date, seen record orders and sales, which, according to some analysts, makes the Samsung Galaxy S3 look like a “hunk of plastic”.

“After a pro-longed court case Samsung was ordered to pay approximately $1.05 billion (R8.84 billion) in damages to Apple, despite Samsung’s attempts to sue Apple on similar grounds,” Leps said.

“Although the possibility of a sales ban has not yet been decided, Samsung has already lost approximately $12 billion (R101 billion) in market value as shares slumped by 8% after losing the court debacle,” he said.

So what does this all mean for local consumers and their smartphones?

According to Leps, the good news is that the court ruling should positively affect the consumer, especially in the long-term. “Despite being a driving force in the market since the iPhone was launched in 2007, Apple has only 19% of the worldwide smartphone market, and only 1% of SA’s market share.”

“The high price of the iPhone 5 will keep it out of the reach of many consumers, so the likelihood that the ruling will have a huge impact on users that already have a Samsung device in the short-term is unlikely,” he said.

The digital lead noted that the ruling also does not prohibit the sales of all devices. “Those not affected include the most recent devices, such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones.”

“The $1 billion in damages represents 1.5% of Samsung Electronics Co.’s annual revenue, not necessarily the sale revenue from certain devices. So Samsung users needn’t worry that they will have to cash-in their devices anytime soon,” he continued.

Leps stated further that the overriding positive news is that Samsung and all makers of Android devices will be forced to become more innovative in their mobile offering, which means that the consumer will ultimately benefit from the variety and choice on offer.

“Similar arguments used in the Samsung case could be used by Apple for future complaints. This means that Samsung and Android phone developers will have to think out of the box when developing their products, and can finally walk their own innovative paths, rather than simply taking a bite from the Apple revolution,” Leps said.

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Why SA consumers will benefit from Apple’s patent win