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.