Apple’s Patent Win Leaves Android Camp to Slog Through the FUD
Now that it has had a few days to digest it, Wall Street is weighing in on Apple’s recent victory over Samsung in the pair’s patent-infringement battle. And the consensus seems to be that Apple has won an important legal precedent that will force handset makers to reconsider their hardware and software designs and pay a lot more attention to their OS partners’ patent portfolios.
“In our view, the challenge for the Android camp now is that Apple will likely pursue the other Android vendors,” Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said in a note to clients. “We believe industry players will continue to develop their portfolio of patents as this case highlights significance of having strong IP in both design and utility.”
Morgan Stanley analyst Katie Huberty views Apple’s victory over Samsung as a significant competitive advantage, one that could make Apple’s smartphone rivals a lot less nimble than they are currently. “The bigger win for Apple is the competitive ramifications if other smartphone vendors experience lengthened product cycles and are forced to alter their software and hardware to ensure unique designs relative to Apple products,” she said.
In other words, the FUD — the fear, uncertainty and doubt — created by the validation of Apple’s patents in this case makes for a troubling distraction for OEMs that must now expend additional time and effort vetting their device designs to ensure they don’t invite litigation.
This will be an obvious advantage for Apple — but likely only for a short while. Google and its Android hardware partners will develop workarounds for Apple’s IP. It’s only a matter of time.
“We believe that it is likely that other lawsuits between Apple and other handset makers move toward a settlement, given the precedent of the Samsung case,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a Sunday evening research note. “In these cases, we note that software changes are the most likely competitive outcome (aside from monetary exchanges). We do not believe further settlements are likely to hamstring Android in any serious way. We continue to be confident in our 4 year outlook on mobile device share, which assumes that iOS and Android further dominate the smartphone market with likely close to 85% share combined by 2015.”