If you’ve been off the planet for many months, or even years, perhaps you aren’t aware of the many massive legal battles between Samsung and Apple. During the course of the U.S. Part of this legal war we’ve seen tons of iPhone prototypes that were previously unseen and had a lot to gossip about. When it truly came down to who was winning though, it was always hard to clearly say one side or the other. Recently though, Apple has managed to find what some critics believe is the “smoking gun” needed to swing the case in their favor for good- an internal memo that recognizes that Samsung needs to copy the iPhone.
While this might sound damning enough, it really depends on how you look at it. The content was written by Samsung’s head of mobile communications, JK Shin. Here’s a good chunk of the memo to give you an idea of what was said:
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. 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.
I hear things like this: Let’s make something like the iPhone. 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.
The reality is that this letter said that some within the company say they need to make something like the iPhone. The letter doesn’t say they are going to steal exact designs or infringe directly patents, or completely copy the icons intentionally. You might argue that intending to make something that is intentionally like the iPhone is admitting they are copying, I suppose perhaps there is at least a little truth to that idea, but at the same time, innovation in technology isn’t about being the first to do something. The best products and evolutions in technology have come when someone takes an existing idea and runs with it, evolving the design from there. The Samsung Galaxy phones in question are Apple iPhone-like, but they have their own differences as well.
What do you think, will this memo make any real difference? Do you feel that Samsung was wrong in the design of the Galaxy and that it is too iPhone like?
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