“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong…I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” – Steve Jobs
After a surprisingly short time, the jury in the Apple vs. Samsung case has sent word that it has reached a verdict. The jury ruled overwhelmingly in favor of Apple, and awarded the company more than a billion dollars in damages. If you are like me, it is hard to see an upside for Samsung in all of this — until you come to realize that this could have been just a very smart and a strong strategic play.
News outlets and uber popular tech blogs covered the trial live on their respective blogs. The overall majority was shocked to see jury come to a conclusion in such a short time frame. My personal interest in this trial has been not only from patent infringement, media and social science perspectives but also from an user interaction design perspective.
For years, I have worked on and closely observed projects where we focused on making it painless for an user to interact with the system. System in this case is defined by any interface that interacts with the user. The end goal has always been to make the interaction as natural as possible. Afterall, a beautiful user experience dictates a product or service’s success in this day and age. The good enough standard of the past has been raised very high in almost every industry.
The factory era defined the basic user experience while the socially enabled, user centric information era defines and challenges the widely accepted user experience. These days, we are seeing interaction improvements all across the various industries. From commodity services to automotive to new computing interfaces. (Facebook is just plain old social from the early 90′s packaged into a sleek addictive user experience).
Survival of the fittest.
A successful business is one that is nimble and agile enough to understand where the market is moving today and where it will move tomorrow to not only survive but to succeed. Samsung realized this very early in the game that Apple’s design language and interaction had won the race in the mobile market space. Apple challenged the notion of fixed keys and proved everyone wrong. (Mind you: They weren’t the only ones but they were the first ones to not only improve the touch experience but also bring the experience to the masses in a more unified sense. (Ecosystem, Retail Experience, Packaging, Control, iTunes, etc.))
Instead of waiting around to replicate this natural design interaction, Samsung decided to strategically mimic it. Given the number of handsets they have produced on Google’s Android platform, they have not only capitalized on Apple’s design language but also evolved their own interpretation of it for later handsets that were not even considered in the trial — like the highly successful Samsung Note and Samsung Galaxy S3.
Samsung would’ve been no where if they hadn’t realized this early on. They would be facing the same fate as RIM. Not only did they become the #1 manufacturer’s of smart phones worldwide, they also replaced HTC and took RIM out. In fact, the pricing and positioning of their Android handsets have allowed them to become the alternative to RIM handsets for the masses.
If we recall, Microsoft paid $8 Billion to acquire Skype and they have yet to do something with it. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 ecosystem failed to penetrate the market while in the mean time, Samsung became the sought after manufacture of mobile devices worldwide. For a mere $1 Billion fine, Samsung is now #1 in the market with worldwide penetration and 2012 handsets command a lead position of their own.
Not too bad at all, unless the judge rules Samsung can’t sell its phones. During the process, the world has learned more about the secretive Apple design processes in greater depth and that wasn’t an easy task for Apple — given their internal culture. This has also opened up gates for Google and Motorola to sue to mitigate against Apple’s 2nd move towards the Android ecosystem. (We all know that Job hated Android and wanted to spend every penny against it).
With that being said, RIM and Nokia along with other Android manufacturers probably wish that they had gambled and copied iPhone like this.
From my interactions with Samsung over the years, I’ve been pleasantly impressed by their scale. Samsung is a much more innovative and nimble firm because it copied the iOS experience. They evolved their go-to-market processes, sales positioning and heck even marketing to compete against the #1 player in the North American market and at a frequency that has only surprised many — including Apple.
Scrolling further down that MS article that started these blog entries you can feel the Redmond marketing team clearly warming to their subject. Their mobility and directory claims are almost clever. “Lotus Notes Traveler, Lotus’ mobile experience for Domino, which was recently rewritten to provide support for Exchange ActiveSync, provides only a basic mobile experience that analysts have said should not be deployed without “a third-party security and management offering.” Don’t believe Microsoft.
The facts are easy to discover. Lotus Notes Traveler provides a full mobile experience for iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. We have recently made available for free an application to read encrypted email on their iPhone. It’s in the Apple appstore. MS seems to suggest customers need to buy an extra CAL to get Lotus Traveler. This is not true. Lotus Traveler is included into the Messaging and Enterprise CAL’s – these are the only two CAL’s we have for Notes client software.
The Gartner quote they use is, of course, old and this particular Gartner analysis of Lotus Traveler is based on earlier releases. We offer similar management capability as available in Exchange. In addition 3rd party solutions (DME, Sybase, Good Technologies) are often recommended because they offer more sophisticated solutions — as they do on top of Exchange. Off topic. Lotus Traveler. Traveler, not Traveller. I first thought it was a huge spelling error. I almost called our marketing team on it. But it’s American English. Sigh.
On Directory they say that Exchange has a ten year headstart on Domino. Granted, AD has been a good ploy boys. You score there. However; Don’t believe Microsoft. Trust Tivoli Directory Integrator. Tivoli Directory Integrator (TDI) is included in Domino 8.x for free. TDI along with single sign-on improvements provide the tools that customers really want in terms of managing directories and users. Domino has the flexibility to integrate with many different directory models, including Active Directory, LDAP, and others, all through TDI. Tivoli leads in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for user provisioning.
Storage and Archiving. Yawn.
The next one is pretty rich though: “customers are not provided with a true range of storage options to reduce costs for all users”. Hello. Don’t believe Microsoft. Look at Forrester & Gartner. Read what Gartner says: Exchange 2010′s archiving lacks support for tiered storage, which results in the potential loss of storage cost saving opportunities. Microsoft’s first release of archiving and retention policy management doesn’t match the feature richness of existing e-mail archiving products (Gartner Report G00171340). Read what Forrester says: “Many Exchange 2007 shops won’t see enough new benefit [of Exchange 2010] to accelerate an immediate upgrade.“ In their January 27, 2010 report they also remark that Exchange 2010 does still not have a single-instance storage capability for attachments (unlike Domino). Oh yeah, about that data storage argument …With Domino 8.5.1 IBM recommends using a tiered storage architecture that relies on very affordable Directly attached storage (DAS), including inexpensive SATA 2 Drives, especially in the context of DAOS. On top of taking advantage of cheaper disk drivers, and unlike Microsoft, IBM also further reduces the storage requirements by using techniques such as Data compression. Bottom line is that IBM delivers a more efficient and cheaper solution including via our support of lower cost storage devices.
An imploded soufflé.
At the end the MS-FUD soufflé implodes with their lame “As you can see, Microsoft delivers innovation and capabilities that are well ahead of our competitors in many areas, and provides real value to customer”. Pathetic. Opinion stated as fact, apart from anything else. Don’t believe Microsoft. Search the web, you don’t have to go far. The New York Times opined that “Microsoft’s huge profits — $6.7 billion for the past quarter — come almost entirely from Windows and Office. Programs first developed decades ago”. Or read Dick Brass in his op-ed in that same paper of February this year. He wrote about ‘Microsoft’s Creative Destruction’. Ray Ozzie, freshly departed from MS, seems to hint to as much in his revitalized blog. I’m not linking you to it. You can easily find it yourself. CNN Money recently showed a header with ‘The End Of Microsoft’. It was about how Cloud changes the game. The Street.com says as recently as April 2010 that ‘Microsoft Struggles to Stay Relevant’.
Therefore, “Don’t believe Microsoft. Ask the right question”.
Does MS plan to provide full Enterprise Content Management capabilities?
Can I take MOSS 2010 based portal offline? Cost and effort? Groove has been eliminated. What is the Client strategy?
What are the plans for providing federated policy management support across SharePoint libraries, digital asset management support, and transactional content process support in MOSS 2010?
What social networking capabilities has MS added to SharePoint 2010 that differentiate MS from other vendors who have been doing this for several years?
Why am I paying dual costs for Microsoft Online Services when I am already licensed for Exchange and SharePoint?
Do I pay for desktop operating system upgrades in the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement when I have already paid for it when I purchased the hardware (as part of the OEM contract)?
What is MS approach to open standards? Why is there such a push for OpenXML vs support for ODF ?
How are MS apps and collaboration services based on SOA?
Why did Microsoft end support for certain document formats in several Office service packs over the past 2 years? Can I expect this for Office XP?
What does it take to migrate to Exchange 2007 from current versions of Exchange? Why wait for Exchange 2010? What will a migration from 2003/2007 to 2010 require?
Why are 64bit servers required/recommended to run Exchange 2010, OCS 2010, MOSS 2010? Cost case?
What is the track record for upgrading/migrating applications in SharePoint? What investment protection do I have with applications I build on MOSS now? What is the future roadmap for app. Development?
By the time you get an answer to these question we have been to Mars and back (I say ‘Mars’ on purpose because I think Richard Branson may prove me wrong if I had said ‘been to the Moon and back’). Don’t believe Me …. and Pay.
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Nothing that I have ever said, or written, or will ever say, is indicative of the opinions or policies of Bell Canada or IBM Corporation, or any other company or person for that matter. My opinions are my own.