Samsung Memo Compares Own Products To iPhone – The Difference Between Heaven And Earth

Samsung Memo Compares Own Products To iPhone – The Difference Between Heaven And Earth

Just make the screen bigger, ok?

An internal Samsung email was submitted today into evidence in the Apple vs. Samsung case being heard in Northern California. In the correspondance, head of mobile communications for Samsung JK Shin praises the iPhone, and describes the difference between his own company’s user experience and that of the iPhone as “the difference between heaven and earth.”

It’s fairly rough evidence for the Korean electronics maker, who had tried to keep the document out of the trial until a misstep today by Samsung legal counsel John Quinn, who mentioned the phrase “crisis of design” from the email, allowed it to be admitted.

“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,” Shin wrote. “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.”

Shin’s email, reported by website AllThingsD, points to the fact that Samsung had been taken unaware by Cupertino’s now ubiquitous smartphone user experience (UX, in the above quote). But does that mean that Samsung copied the iPhone “slavishly,” as Apple contends?

“I hear things like this: Let’s make something like the iPhone,” writes Shin. “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.”

A case could be made that this type of logic might lead to a company copying the “standard” itself, and indeed points to the theme of Samsung’s line of defense: their smartphones look and act so much like the iPhone, because that’s just how smartphones need to be designed.

Which really holds little water, as Samsung was making smartphones well before the iPHone was released. They didn’t all look like, or act like, the iPhone.

We’ll be reading through the entire 13 page email in the next little while, and will update as we come across any more juicy bits.

  • theobserving

    how deep a hole are they going to let samsung dig themselves into before they just ask for a settlement? any guesses? also, if i’m correct, this isn’t the first misstep by their lawyers.

    it all seems kind of embarrassing.

  • Rob LeFebvre

    how deep a hole are they going to let samsung dig themselves into before they just ask for a settlement? any guesses? also, if i’m correct, this isn’t the first misstep by their lawyers.

    it all seems kind of embarrassing.

    Yeah, agreed. Samsung did that whole “release the evidence” thing last week, too. I think Apple asked for a summary judgement as a result, though, but was denied.

  • Conor Conay Jackson

    “The difference between heaven and earth.”

    Um…was he trying to say that the iPhone was amazing but didn’t exist?

  • Steffen Jobbs

    It’s pretty obvious how the look of smartphones changed after the iPhone. Most companies couldn’t tolerate the idea of not having a physical keyboard because they all thought a touch screen, virtual keyboard wasn’t good enough for fast and accurate input. They all thought along Steve Ballmer’s line. I know they’re all going to try and deny that point. I don’t doubt there were a couple of companies that had smartphones without physical keyboards, but Apple really kickstarted that movement. Chances are that very few companies would have gone after big-screen displays and touch panels because they were relatively expensive to manufacture and the yield rate was low.

    Samsung is lying through its teeth if it claims it would have pursued the iPhone design if Apple hadn’t have made a success out of it. Most smartphones would have followed the typical BlackBerry design of a smaller screen with a full physical keyboard below it. As it was, it took a good while for companies to come out with larger screens, but they insisted that candy-bar sliders with physical keyboards were still the way to go. Practically all those slider-type smartphones disappeared and full touch displays became the standard.

    I still don’t think Apple is going to get much out of this case. I’m sure the judge is going to side with Samsung and even if Apple wins, the court will probably be very lenient with Samsung and Apple will end up spending more money trying the case than what it’ll gets back. Samsung and Google will continue to copy Apple every step of the way in the future and nothing will have been resolved in the courts to help slow down Android’s growth.

  • marioyohanes

    First of all, I used both iPhone and Galaxy (Samsung always gave it away to me for free, hear that Apple?!), but you know, just take a look at their previous phones before iPhone, and look now. Knowing Samsung holding Apple blueprint for manufacturing the iPhone, I know exactly how Apple feels about it. Ethically speaking, Samsung does doing an unethical business practice with Apple by releasing Galaxy Ace and copying their ads their boxes, heck even their dock connector!

    So, apart from patent issue, I think Samsung did some mistakes with their early Android smartphones designs by copying a lot of things from iPhone and they make it even worse by copying other things like using iOS Safari icon in their retail store banner, and you know… S Voice purple mic icon… It’s to obvious! You don’t need a court or specialist to see the pattern there.

  • Scott Townsend

    After four straight years using an iPhone I just bought the GS3. Two things struck me right away, holy crap they ripped off so many iPhone features, and holy crap the GS3 kicks the iPhone 4’s ass!

  • Rygaard

    The problem is that apple invented the wheel – should they be able to patent protect that ?

    What if tomorrow someone invented – the cure for Cancer and just decided not to make money from it but to tell ha had it patented it – and let no one cure it… or make a drug that only 5 persons in the world could afford, were should the line be drawn ?

    its like trying to patent that the up arrow on a remote shifts up in … some inventions should not be patent able because they are to fundamental … and to be honest many of the inventions that apple made, are of that sort.

    Best regards a true apple fan boy – But also a fan of progress.

  • ErinsDad

    Samsung – If you’re going in guilty, try to hire your legal counsel who’s not on a ‘quest for truth’. Not all attorneys were ‘C’ students in Med School.

  • Kenton Presbrey

    Its not as though Samsung is incapable of making unique, great looking products. For example, look at their line up of TVs and monitors, absolutely beautiful from a design standpoint.

    I don’t understand why they have to blatantly copy Apple’s products all the way down to the packaging. Clearly they have a design team capable of producing good looking products without ripping anyone off. And to anyone who says that Samsung hasn’t copied Apples designs you are in complete denial.

    I understand where Apple is coming from as I happen to work in as a Graphic Designer. There is nothing worse than someone taking credit from your hard work.

  • Rob LeFebvre

    Its not as though Samsung is incapable of making unique, great looking products. For example, look at their line up of TVs and monitors, absolutely beautiful from a design standpoint.

    If you get a chance, read through the entire email memo – it really shows the difference in how Apple works on new flagship products and how Samsung works. Apple seems to favor small teams with a focus on perfection, even to the detriment of personal relationships. Samsung, from the email, seems to work with larger teams, section heads, etc. and refrain from calling people out on bad decisions, to spare feelings. It’s an interesting difference.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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