iPhone Caused “Crisis of Design” at Samsung (Memo)

At the end of Monday in week two of the Apple versus Samsung case, a damning internal Samsung email was admitted into evidence — an email containing charged language from JK Shin, Samsung’s head of mobile communications. In the email, Shin described the difference in user experience between Samsung and Apple smartphones as “a difference between Heaven and Earth.”

It’s a memo that Samsung didn’t want admitted into the trial, and until now had kept it out. But this morning, when Samsung legal counsel John Quinn mentioned the “crisis of design” moment in a question to Samsung strategist Justin Denison, all bets were off, and the memo was in.

“Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote. “Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.”

Those are the more ugly points of the memo, which seems to bolster Apple’s lawsuit stating that Samsung infringed upon a number of Apple’s patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has “slavishly copied” Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages. So any more ammunition that Apple can get to make it look like Samsung attempted to actively rip off Apple’s products is only a good thing for Apple’s case.

And the memo is rife with ammunition. Here’s Shin again, on what Samsung could do to catch up from behind:

“I hear things like this: Let’s make something like the iPhone.”

And again:

“When everybody (both consumers and the industry) talk about UX, they weigh it against the iPhone. The iPhone has become the standard. That’s how things are already.”

And yet again:

“Do you know how difficult the Omnia is to use? When you compare the 2007 version of the iPhone with our current Omnia, can you honestly say the Omnia is better? If you compare the UX with the iPhone, it’s a difference between Heaven and Earth.”

It’s not pretty. Samsung declined my request for comment.

Check out the rest of the very long memo, reproduced in full below:


40_heavenandearthletter


Apple versus Samsung Full Coverage

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106 comments
Dave Amaral
Dave Amaral

I read the memo (which is really a transcript of an internal meeting). . . the person who was ordering people around on the design teams is a ridiculous pompous ass. All that person did was insult and berate his employees without offering any constructive input. Managers are such a waste of space.

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

Why is Apple suing samsung, but not nokia, motorola, etc? Because Samsung is better than Apple, who, like a spoiled rotten rich kid, can't stand being outdone, and now that steve jobs is gone, they expect to have continued success. Why? Because they are apple. Steve jobs took other companies inventions and innovated them, so that he could have success selling his version, but now his company is suing Samsung for doing that.

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

Apple is the biggest thief of other companies technologies, including the name iPad.

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

Google : Creepy? iPhone is CLONE of award-winning LG Chocolate phone &
iPhone & LG KE850: separated at birth?
LG should have sued Apple back in 2007 !-- IPhone is blatant ripped off of " LG Prada" that was already awarded in 2005, the world's first touch screen smartphone WELL before iPhone came out.

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

Apple was similarly inspired by a visit to Xerox PARC which resulted in the development of the Macintosh and the graphical user interface. They did not invent it but saw a good idea that someone else had created and then used it in their own products. They were also responsible for the "touch and feel" litigation against Microsoft when they started selling Windows. They even claimed a patent on the picture of the wastebasket on the desktop. So do patents really act to spur innovation or do they stifle it and create government sanctioned monopolies? This will not be the first or the last time that patent law has run off the rails. Evidently Apple can "borrow" ideas but no one else can. :)
PARC developed: laser printers, Ethernet, the mouse, the graphical user interface. Xerox could have sued Apple out of existence.

Todd Kaime
Todd Kaime

I'm pretty sure Apple paid Xerox for their rights to use what Xerox invented. After all, that is well documented.

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

iPhone 5 specs almost match my 2 year old GalaxyS, is that supposed to be impressive?

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

Rectangles... Who would have thought to make a reading device the same shape as a newspaper, a book, or a magazine. Seriously that was brilliant patentable technology.

Sonya Km
Sonya Km

Apple engage in the most expensive bully tactics in the corporate world to try and retain MONOPOLY in Smartphone market and force consumers to only participate in their lousy expensive rip off products. This is so contemptible !

Jonathan Wilson
Jonathan Wilson

When will companies learn not to retain these kinds of memos so they cant come back to bite them in court?

Alexander Jung
Alexander Jung

Sammy tried doing that by only keeping 2 weeks of email when they were explicitly told not to delete them.

jpo321
jpo321

Every company looks at the competition, sees what they're doing right and what people want, and adjust. NO ONE is confusing a Samsung phone with an iPhone. That leap is ludicrous.

prasbad
prasbad

The day samsung lose this case we will have a new term called 'Samsung syndrome' in design engineering.

Idealogue
Idealogue

Looks more like Samsung was pointing out the competition, rather than telling it's designers to copy anything. It is not an indication that something should be copied just because it is pointed out as being better than what you currently have.

Tarun Ramakrishna
Tarun Ramakrishna

I went through the whole translation. I didn't see any "damning" evidence. These are the usual sort of mails that float around in a competitive landscape. The guy disparaged the usability of the old Samsung phones versus the iPhone. These are generalizations. Any infringement needs to be done on _specifics_.

Dyson Lu
Dyson Lu

Agreed.

If you look at Apple's internal emails, I'm sure you'll too find people ranting about how feature X from competitor Y is great and does thing better than what Apple currently has. Big freaking "evidence". This kinda stuff only serves to ignite the average joes fanboys who are usually very gullible.

Pete Kucera
Pete Kucera

These memo's, taken at face value, provide zero evidence in my opinion that Samsung copied Apples designs. These are the same internal communications one can find in just about any company where management is telling their staff that they are falling behind the competition. It's no more than a statement that the competition is building something more enticing to the consumer and 'we need to pay attention and create the next iteration'. We all know the saying 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer'. Samsung management is doing their job here keeping their design/UI teams eyes open to the competition while building the next iteration. Can we please get down to the hard evidence and beyond this 'fluff' that leaves too much for speculation? I want to see the memo that says 'let's just copy Apple because they are obviously better than anything we can build'.

BTW, I went to Best Buy this weekend to look at the latest smartphones and one big question came to mind. If Samsung did copy Apple's design at one time, they must not have received much positive response and thus moved one to their own response to consumer demand. To me, nothing on the shelves looked like an iPhone. Samsung devices have larger screens, higher pixel camera's, lack of physical buttons (mostly software aside from the power button), Andorid OS (which Apple fans already say is inferior to IOS and thus not a copy), etc. It was apparent to me that Samsung was the one out-designing Apple. iPhone on the looks the same to me as it did 2 years ago.

Kevin Long
Kevin Long

iteration |ˌitəˈrāSHən| noun the repetition of a process or utterance.
Iteration
Iteration means the act of repeating a process usually with the aim of approaching a desired goal or target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called an "iteration," and the results of one iteration are used as the starting point for the next iteration.

Sounds like copying to me.

Hyde Setsuka
Hyde Setsuka

@Pablo Suarez
Your answer for the real question is easy, samsung would stil be creating copycats of folder, bar and slide.

As for android it will look exactly like blackberry interface, live with that.

Travis Kirke
Travis Kirke

I don't understand what the big deal is here. Samsung saw the iPhone, said 'oh $#!+, we need to make something like that' and made something like it. Nothing illegal there. you This happens in every industry ever, and is called 'competition'. 'Copying' is not illegal, unless you are copying a valid patent, and patents need to be very strict to be valid. Essentially, Samsung can dance on the table yelling 'we copied Apples idea', but as long as the dimensions they use in their rounded rectangle are different to Apple, they (should be) found non-infringing.

Christopher Kim
Christopher Kim

If anything Apple also copied Palm or Pocket PC from 1990's....

Boswd
Boswd

I agree if apple fanboys had their way we would have only one choice for each product one brand of beer one type of sneaker one style of shirt one restaurant the irony here is if Apple didn't copy Xeorox, IBM, Sony, Sae Han /Eiger MpMan, Microsoft, Motorola and even Blacberry you fanboys woud not have your macbooks iPods iPhone iPads. a company focusing on their top competition is kind of SOP in the business world. Maybe you apple fanboys are unaware but did you know Apple actually has an "Android Waroom" where the sole focus is on Android and how to compete. I honestly don't see this as damaging as AllthingsD likes to pimp it out as. You don't think McDonalds isn't watching Burger King and vice versa, Coke watching Pepsi?

Wolfgang Mozart
Wolfgang Mozart

Such a dimwitted view I have not seen in some time. Apple isn't preventing anyone from innovating. They would just rather that Samsung and others like them would pack their OWN LUNCH for a change.

Quit equating COPYING products to 'Innovation'. It just makes you look ridiculous. Even Samsung has boldly admitted it was just a copy. What kind of fan boy goes beyond even what the company is saying?

Beer and soda are unique products. I happen to know a lot about beer. All of them are made with essentially the same 3 ingredients. Even though it's all about taste, even if they tasted exactly the same, there would not be a lawsuit-- brewers actually don't sue each other over the recipe. Even my recipe would taste different if you brewed it anyway. However if the logo or name or marketing were the very similar (more like what Samsung has done by ripping off the look and feel of the os down to the icons) even brewers would probably sue. Tech products are a bit more complicated than beer.

Celebrity Smack
Celebrity Smack

ummm, but he wasn't wrong. His point was right on. Boswd, someone has to be paying these people to be so ridiculous. I mean nobody can really be this dense. They must be actors.

Boswd
Boswd

actually just do a google image search of soda bottles through the years. while Coke may have patented that exact design of the bottle that didn't put an end to "curvy" bottles being used, each one slightly different as not to infringe. but close enough that if Coke had Apple's mentality they would have sued everyone.

Digital Iconoclast
Digital Iconoclast

And, the Alto wasn't the first on GUIs. And, if for "drag and drop paradigm" you mean rubber banding, etc, then that is correct.

Digital Iconoclast
Digital Iconoclast

actually, coke has trademarked their DISTINCT bottle design, and it persists even after they left the world of glass for plastic. Pay attention.

Alexander Jung
Alexander Jung

wrong. "Bottlers worried that
the straight-sided bottle
for Coca-Cola was easily confused with imitators. A group
representing the Company and bottlers asked glass manufacturers to offer
ideas for a distinctive bottle. A design from the Root Glass Company
of Terre Haute, Indiana won enthusiastic approval in 1915 and was introduced
in 1916. The contour bottle became one of the few packages ever granted
trademark status by the U.S. Patent Office. Today, it's one of the most
recognized icons in the world - even in the dark!"

Boswd
Boswd

so you are saying Apple invented the computer? or they took an existing product, had a similiar looking design but added on features.
how is that any different than Samsung, the phone in question here, the first Galaxy S had features that Apple did not have in the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S phone helped push innovation even within it's own Android world with feautres and gestures. the iPhone was well behind in many aspects.

Boswd
Boswd

untrue, that was the form factor at the time and you still see it today on 7-up and others.
google image search is your friend.
If everyone establishes the Apple and the apple fanboy mentality then whoever first put a product in the a 12oz aluminum cylindar should sue everyone.
I cringe at what the world woudl be like if the apple fanboys and your God got their way. we all would have white earbuds, white or gray colored clothers and nothing but macs.

Michael Long
Michael Long

"Apple didn't invent icons..."

Well... technically... for computers... Apple did in fact come up with the idea of the direct manipulation icon for the GUI. The Xerox Alto did have some icons, but the only way to manipulate them was to click on them, then select an action from a popup menu. Apple invented the whole drag-and-drop paradigm used on the Lisa and Macintosh.

Alexander Jung
Alexander Jung

coke didn't invent the bottle either but no other drink company can use the curvy bottle.

Boswd
Boswd

do you have a poster of steve jobs or something.
How does Samsung's oval blue logo look like Apple logo?
here's a little news tip, apple didn't invent icons, they didn't invent the cog for settings, the tilted green handset for "call". the music note for Music, nor did they invent the rectangle, this has all been done before
but hey you're right let's have just one company make everything.
Apple is reaching, patenting common shapes and icons that have been on the market for years long before the iPhone and is using it to stifle their largest competitor.
but yes less competition is soo good. So off you go enjoy your dumbed down iProducts.

RadarTheKat
RadarTheKat

It's unlikely Apple included specific dimensions in its patent that refers to the physical aspect of the iPhone and iPad designs.

Pete Kucera
Pete Kucera

I wonder if Dunkin Donuts is gearing up for a battle with Krispy Kreme (or vice versa) over the donut shape. If that circle with a whole in it has not been patented yet, it's mine!

jeff3yan
jeff3yan

What if someone copied the look and feel of the Coke brand? It wouldn't matter that the shape of the can/bottle was the same for the past few decades, but if they copied the general look and feel then that's enough to determine infringement.

Digital Iconoclast
Digital Iconoclast

absurd argument: the sign of no argument. The shape of donuts is determined by the frying process of old. Now, a donut in the shape of the Star of David ...

bioglassmusic
bioglassmusic

This pretty much puts the nails in the samsung case. Lawyers will continue to argue but the damage is done. They need to settle now.

Getgo
Getgo

Nokia CEO sent a similar email "Platform in burning" when he took office. Does it imply Nokia copied Apple patents ??? Your reasoning and reasons in this article are so wrong

VonArmitage
VonArmitage

Nokia has been spending the biggest amount of money in industry for R&D. Nokia always has been making own designs. They also have a truckload of patents. Asian OEM:s are picking out easy road and copying those "cool european designs". Asians wants European stuff, unfortunately they can't design the one by itself.

Dnyt
Dnyt

and.. Don't forget all of your iProducts carrying the words... the words.. the wordsss... "Assembled in China" ... LOL

Alexander Jung
Alexander Jung

probably it says that on your phone too. and your tv, dvd player, etc...

Getgo
Getgo

lol .. fyi.. iPhone designer Shin Nishibori is a Japanese (an Asian).. Dont be a moron covering up your ignorance with nationalistic views.

Christopher Kim
Christopher Kim

They should just hired European designer just like how Hyundai and Kia is doing now...

Wolfgang Mozart
Wolfgang Mozart

Don't forget Nokia sponsored 'Mission Impossible'. LOL

ThKal
ThKal

But Nokia phones look nothing like Apple phones. Some of them were inspired by old iPod Nanos but they didn't copy Apple's phone, interface, icons, charger, cable, packaging etc. like Samsung did.

Dyson Lu
Dyson Lu

Inspired by iPod Nanos? LOL You mean the Lumia phone?

Which Apple product would you say the design of the Nokia N900 (ever heard of it?) was inspired by then? iPhone? LOL

http://www.nokiaphones.net/wp-...

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