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Patents Dispute Between Apple, Samsung No Nearer To Resolution

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Apple is Samsung's biggest customer, with the South Korean firm supplying parts that are central to Apple's mobile devices. (Photo: Apple.com)
Apple is Samsung's biggest customer, with the South Korean firm supplying parts that are central to Apple's mobile devices. (Photo: Apple.com)

BUSINESS

  • Australian court lifts ban on sales of Samsung Galaxy
  • French court rejects bid to prevent sales of iPhone 4S
  • $5 billion business relationship between firms at risk

The complex patents battle between Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc is showing no signs of coming to an end.

In recent news, an Australian court lifted the ban on Samsung selling its Galaxy tablet computer in Australia, just in time for Christmas. The ruling came just one day after a Paris court rejected Samsung's attempt to prevent Apple's iPhone 4S from being sold in France.

In the Paris decision, Samsung was also ordered to pay €100,000 of Apple's legal fees, with the judge saying that the request was out of proportion.

A US District Court in San Jose, California, also ruled ealier this month against Apple's request to prevent Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer and 4G smartphone in the United States.

30 Cases, 10 Different Countries

Since the spring of this year, Apple and Samsung have been caught up in around 30 legal cases in 10 different countries, as both companies vie for pole position in the lucrative tablet computer and smartphone markets.

Hostilities first broke out in April in the United States, where Apple sued Samsung for, the Cupertino-based firm claimed, copying its iPad and iPhone. Samsung's response was to countersue Apple for infringement of its telecommunications technology.

Following the recent release of the Apple iPhone 4S, Samsung expanded its lawsuits to include the new device as well.

Samsung filed preliminary injunction motions against the iPhone 4S in October in Australia, France, Italy and Japan. Unsurprisingly, the dispute is expected by some analysts to have a negative impact on the business relationship between the two firms, which is worth more than $5 billion.

Apple is Samsung's biggest customer, with the South Korean firm supplying parts that are central to Apple's mobile devices.

More Than 50 Million Tablets Sold in 2011

With worldwide tablet computer sales predicted to pass 50 million units in 2011, the stakes are high. Apple remains the leader in this lucrative market, with more than 30 million iPads sold so far, and is expected to stay at the front of the pack for the near future at least.

However, Samsung's Galaxy range is considered by most observers to be the closest to the iPad in terms of features and design, and the South Korean firm is already the world's leading smartphone manufactuter.

In addition, the recent launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet at a considerably more attractive price point could be about to shake up the market as well.

Key Statistics - Global Tablet Market (source: Gartner)

  • Apple's share of the 2011 worldwide tablet market is estimated to be around 69%. This figure is predicted to fall slightly to around 63.5% in 2012, and more considerably in the following years to just over 47% by 2015.
  • By 2015, Android’s market share is predicted to grow from just under 20% in 2011 to over 38% in 2015.
  • In 2015, RIM’s QNX operating system is predicted to reach a market share of 10%, HP’s webOS will account for 3% of the market, and MeeGo will rise to 1%.

By S. W. Mudie for
S. W. Mudie has been working in and writing about technology for over ten years. Originally from Scotland, he now lives in Paris, France.

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