The latest unaudited results from HTC for Q4 2011 indicate that total revenues reached NT$ 101 billion (US$ 3.34 billion), a 2.49% drop as compared to the same period in 2010. In stark contrast, Samsung just had a record breaking quarter with profits reaching 5.2 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), almost double the figures of Q4 2010. Samsung's results for Q4 2011 breaks its previous record profit period of 5.0 trillion won (US$ 4.3 billion) from Q2 2010 and is an increase of 22% from Q3 2011. According to an analyst Samsung shipped an estimated 35 million smartphones in the previous quarter alone, but this is likely to include Samsung's low-end bada operated devices.
The blogosphere is currently aflutter with talk of the ITC (International Trade Commission) patent infringement decision in favor of Apple, and the resulting court order banning the import of infringing HTC devices starting April 19, 2012 (4 months from now). The ITC ruled that HTC infringed on two, relatively narrow claims in a patent related to "data tapping" that occurs at the system level in Android.
You know how your phone can automatically "see" an address or phone number on a web page or e-mail and send you to the appropriate app? That's what the ITC claims HTC, and by relation Android, is infringing on.
In case you're unaware, Apple is in the process of suing just about everyone it competes with in the tablet/phone field. There's an abundance of irony in the entire situation - the most substantial of which I covered when Apple complained that Samsung and Motorola were anticompetitive because of their patents - but things just (at least, temporarily) took a turn for the awesome. A judge in Germany has ruled that 3G-enabled Apple products (including the iPhone, iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G, but not specifically the iPhone 4S) infringe on a Motorola patent. Consequently, the judge has issued a preliminary injunction against Apple, resulting in a Europen sales ban on the aforementioned iPhones and iPads.
After lifting an injunction against the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 last month, Australia's High Court ruled that it would not hear Apple's application for special leave to ban the Tab once again, meaning would-be 10.1 owners in Australia have only to wait a matter of days before they can get their hands on Sammy's super sleek tablet.
Following the ruling, Samsung Australia announced that the 10.1 will be available "in time for the Christmas shopping period." The manufacturer also divulged that a 16GB WiFi-only model will be available for $579, and a 16GB 3G/WiFi version will cost a cool $729 AUD.
Apple is famous for crafting beautifully designed products, but it is a little condescending to start giving design advice to its competitors. Nevertheless, this is exactly what Apple has done in a legal brief filed with their earlier request for a ban on Samsung's devices in the United States (a request which was denied by a district judge a few days ago). The legal brief from Apple describes both what their U.S. design patents cover and what the patents do not cover. The latter is especially interesting as they are essentially guidelines on what Samsung can do to avoid being sued in the future.
The patent wars between Samsung and Apple are stretching everyone pretty thin, lawyers and judges from 10 countries are contending with over 20 cases, manufacturers are having to make last minute adjustments to devices, and most importantly reporters, including yours truly, are having a hard time keeping up with it all.
Bringing the discussion stateside, on Friday a U.S. District Judge in California denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung. Apple had earlier sued Samsung in the U.S. claiming that the Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copied the iPhone and the iPad. However, the Judge disagreed and noted that "it is not clear that an injunction on Samsung's accused devices would prevent Apple from being irreparably harmed".
Prospects of purchasing a Galaxy Tab 10.1 are looking a bit better for our Australian friends, after a court today overturned the injunction leveraged against Samsung's super-thin tablet by Apple. While this is great news, the Australian court stated that it would keep the injunction in place until Friday, and Apple has already indicated an impending appeal.
Leading to the injunction's overturning, the Australian court ruled that there was not enough evidence that Samsung had infringed Apple's touchscreen patent. Samsung has already released a statement on the subject, indicating that a release date for the 10.1 in Australia is forthcoming, further stating "We believe the ruling clearly affirms that Apple's legal claims lack merit." Right now, things are looking pretty good for Samsung in Australia, but we'll be sure to report any new developments as they happen.
After winning multiple preliminary injunctions against Samsung's Galaxy Tab family (including the 10.1, 8.9, and 7.7) in Germany in the recent past, Apple is looking to add one more device to the list: Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N.
For those who don't know, the Galaxy Tab 10.1N is exactly the same as the original 10.1, except that it has a new form factor, adding a silver bezel and repositioning the tab's speaker grills.
Despite the fact that Samsung created the new design while closely collaborating with their German lawyers, Apple seems to think the redesign didn't go quite far enough. The Cupertino giant has filed a motion for preliminary injunction on the 10.1N, and the Düsseldorf Regional Court has planned a hearing for December 22, 2011.
In a new 60-second ad spot that could be described both as hilarious and extremely bold, Samsung tells consumers that "the next big thing is already here" with the Galaxy SII, while taking a pretty strong shot at die-hard Apple fans, satirizing Apple's cult following.
The spot opens with customers happily waiting in line outside a very Apple Store-ish location nine hours before opening. We then see a eureka moment when the customers catch sight of a Galaxy SII. Some are amazed. Others resist with retorts such as "I could never get a Samsung – I'm creative," to which another customer responds "dude, you're a barista."
What's great about this ad is that it refrains from mentioning Apple or the iPhone directly.
A court in Mannheim, Germany today held a preliminary hearing in a patent dispute between Motorola Mobility and Apple Sales International (a European Apple distribution subsidiary), and it seems like Apple's on the ropes.
While the hearing didn't discuss the particular merits of Motorola's patent infringement claim against Apple, the presiding judge issued substantial blows to Apple's defense by indicating that he believed the patent-in-suit was ripe for trial. The judge also seemed to agree with Motorola's reading of that patent (also known as "construction claims") in important ways that would allow it a broader scope of applicability at trial.
The judge did not seem interested in many of Apple's defenses, such as Motorola's claim lacking specificity, the patent in question being invalid, or that the patent should be construed more narrowly.