Bad day at the Google factory


It sure was a tough day for Google yesterday — any sense of moral prerogative once held by the company or its wider Android “family” may never recover from what took place.

The day begins with news from the US appeals court, which has allowed Apple to once again begin its attempt to force Samsung to cease shipping some of its iDevice-infringing products. To be fair, this is little more than a step toward a somewhat pyrrhic moral victory: these are old products that aren’t stocked any more (except possibly among retailers still trying to shift piles of old units out of their warehouses), but the meaning of the decision (if upheld) is clear:

Samsung copied Apple.

Making things worse, Samsung’s Apple aping appears to have successfully put most other Android vendors into the ‘B’ list if you happen to think market share reflects success. Samsung has achieved this by positioning itself as Apple’s biggest competitor with its range of high-end smartphones, while at the same time using its manufacturing clout to produce gadzillions of low cost models that it offers at heavy subsidies in order to grab all available market share. This leaves other vendors squabbling for what’s left of the market.

What makes it worse is Apple’s claim (which it seems to be winning) that Samsung copied the iPhone to make those high-end competitors it built its reputation on.

Surely this attempt to dominate the entire Android industry doesn’t represent the kind of partner Google hoped for when it chose to dump on its long-time frenemy, Apple?

Google isn’t so innocent, of course. Yesterday closed with news the search giant must pay $17 million to settle its abuse of Safari user privacy.

In case you missed that story, Google’s handing the cash to 37 US states in restitution for placing unauthorized cookies on computers using Apple Safari browsers between 2011-2012.

You see, in this case Google saw “open” as meaning users of other platforms than its own should be open about their Internet behaviours whether they liked it or not, even though it chose not to be open about what it was doing.

The reason?

Google wanted to take its ‘open without consent’ customers and drop advertising in their direction in order to fill its endlessly open coffers. Except no one knew. And that little ruse has set the company back the average yearly wage for over 106,000 citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where GDP per capita is $348. (Or the price of 34,000 iPad Airs, if you prefer).

See what I’m saying? Bad day.

Meanwhile on the West Coast the Samsung versus Apple trial continues to grind along, and it’s pretty clear the Korean firm isn’t even trying to deny guilt any more in a case that will eventually impact numerous others in global jurisdictions.

Might a US Apple victory lead to a retrial in the UK? There’s no reason it should, except for the fact that the UK saw one of the few cases in which the Galaxy “designer” (though the courts will decide on that one) prevailed — oddly punctuated by the fact the presiding judge in that case was later hired as an expert advisor to Samsung.

In the face of all this negativity, the most mouthed best defence constantly on the lips of Android’s champions appears to comprise endless spouting about “rounded corners” on the iPad — even while Samsung (and Google, via Motorola Mobility) have tried and so far failed to assert standards-essential patents in defence of what Apple in court calls “copying”.

It was a bad day for Google.

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