In a twist that’s left many scratching their heads, Apple’s rival Samsung dropped plans to block iPhone 4S sales on its home turf of South Korea… the one place they could really hope for a reasonable chance at a court win. After a long-running debate, the Android-maker reportedly decided not to battle Apple in its home country because they do not need to “gain more market share in Korea,” a blustery position if there ever was one.
According to South Korea’s The Chosun Ilbo, the decision to not halt iPhone 4S sales came down to Samsung not wanting any bad PR. “We concluded that we should engage in legal battles with Apple only in the global market, but not in order to gain more market share in Korea,” a senior Samsung executive tells the newspaper.
The report is contrary to earlier comments attributed to Samsung executives in September, ahead of Apple unveiling what then was being referred to as the ‘iPhone 5.’ “Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents,” South Korea’s The Korea Times cited an unknown Samsung senior executive at the time.
It appears the change of heart is for home consumption, only. The move, on the heels of the iPhone 4S’ South Korean launch earlier this month, is perhaps designed to show domestic consumers the Samsung brand can compete fairly against the world’s most powerful smartphone brand without any court intervention.
The thinking does not extend to numerous court battles Samsung is waging against Apple throughout the world, however. Today’s reporting step-back from a similar court battle on Samsung’s home turf is also puzzling given the recent legal victories for the Android handset manufacturer. A court recently ordered Apple to turn over to Samsung details on the iPhone 4S source code, as well as details about its subsidy agreements with carriers. Additionally, despite the fractious court actions, Apple apparently plans to use Samsung to build A6 chips for next year’s iPhone and iPad.