Samsung, once regarded as a “frenemey” of Apple, is quickly turning into just an enemy. The South Korean chipmaker who also competes with the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant’s iPhone and iPad is now threatening to get medieval on Apple.
Charging Apple has been “free riding” its patents, a Samsung marketing executive warned the Tab and Galaxy manufacturer will shift from a previously “passive” role to pursue “a more aggressive way from now on.” Until recently, Apple was Samsung’s largest customer, providing contracts this year reportedly worth an estimated $7.8 billion. However, since that time, Apple has begun shifting suppliers for its A5 processor used in the iPhone and iPad to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and looking to Japan for flash memory. Additionally, recent court testimony from a former Samsung official revealed the chipmaker divulged iPad supply information, a practice frowned upon by the legendarily secretive Apple.
The comments to AP come from Lee Younghee, head of Samsung’s global marketing head for mobile communications. Although the remarks come from marketing and not legal, the words mesh with ones earlier promising Samsung was prepared to sue Apple the moment its iPhone 5 touches South Korean soil.
Earlier this month an unnamed Samsung senior executive told the Korea Times the company “plans to take Apple to court for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents.” It’s uncertain what has given Samsung its new-found bravado in the face of a long-running legal battle with Apple stretching back to April. However, one possibility could be new Motorola patents Google is sharing with its Android partners. As we recently reported, Android smartphone maker HTC is expressing confidence of a legal win against Apple, largely due to wireless patents from Google.