Apple Admits Samsung Is A Bigger Threat To Android Than iOS

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Photo by 3 Sverige - http://flic.kr/p/8MUbKf
Photo by 3 Sverige - http://flic.kr/p/8MUbKf

We received some interesting insight into the contentious courtroom war between Apple and Samsung, thanks to a technical slip-up from the U.S. District Court in charge of the patent-infringement case. What was revealed appears more intriguing than the actual ruling denying Apple’s attempt to quickly block U.S. sales of Samsung’s Galaxy phone and tablet. Not so well hidden behind sloppy redaction was Apple’s own internal analysis finding Samsung’s devices would steal more Android than iOS users.


A slip-up by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s staff briefly allowed passages the office thought were blacked-out to be briefly viewed publicly. Before it was corrected, the two dozen passages the judge thought were hidden made their way into the hands of Reuters and other news organizations. Among the points Koh didn’t want made public: “Apple’s own studies show that existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung devices,” Reuters reports. Instead, Samsung sales will hurt other Android handsets.

The originally redacted portions of Koh’s 65-page ruling could be read by simply copying the sections of the PDF file and pasting them into a new document. Although you would assume Apple would fight most ferociously to keep technical details under wraps, much of the redacted information concerned strategies used by Cupertino, Calif. company. In one example, the ruling inadvertedly disclosed Apple had inked licensing deals with IBM and Nokia, information revealed over the weekend first by tech blog The Verge. In November 2010, Samsung was offered a similar licensing deal, but turned Apple down. The rejection came just five months before Apple sued Samsung to stop U.S. sales. It is unclear whether the licensing deal could have prevented the current courtroom battle.

In one of the more bizarre defenses for why Samsung should keep selling smartphones and tablets in the U.S., the company claimed Apple would not otherwise be able to keep up with demand. Not surprisingly, Koh rejected this argument, calling Samsung’s claim “dubious.”

Of course, this could all be moot before the case goes to trial in 2012. A decision by the International Trade Court that could ban fellow Android smartphone maker HTC from the U.S. and potentially deal all Android handsets a body blow was expected today. Instead, Android and HTC have a short reprieve until next week, Dec. 14.