A US District Court has rejected Apple’s bid to block sales of Samsung’s Galaxy 4G smartphone and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US as part of an ongoing patent squabble between the two companies.
The South Korean manufacturer’s triumph follows a ruling from an Australian court last month that lifted a ban on Galaxy products in the country. However, the court once again pushed back the release date to give Apple time to appeal.
The pair have brought some 30 patent suits against each other across North America, Australia, Europe and Asia, with Samsung forced to make modifications to its devices.
The US court decision will allow Samsung to resume sales in its most important market, reviving its campaign to dethrone the iPhone and iPad as the most popular mobile devices.
Analysts predict this may reflect the beginning of a change in fortunes for the South Korean company.
In a note to clients, CW Chung from Seoul-based financial firm Nomura Holdings says: “We believe the legal uncertainties between Samsung and Apple are waning, or put in another way, the situation is turning positive for Samsung. In the best case, Samsung will be able to receive patent license fees from Apple.”
But the road ahead is not yet smooth for Samsung. Trip Chowdhry from Global Equities Research told Bloomberg that while the two companies may be able to negotiate a settlement, the situation is likely to get more complicated before it gets better.
Reeling Apple In
Samsung overtook Apple as the world’s largest maker of smartphones in the third quarter of this year, but injunctions risked choking its growth just as its rival was touting record release sales of the iPhone 4S.
The South Korean company remains some way off the mark in the world of tablets, with the iPad by far the highest-selling device. Samsung is keen to kick off its Christmas sales in Australia to help close that gap, but it will not be able to do so until at least December 9.
In Q3 Samsung posted record profits of 2.5 trillion won, or $2.4 billion for its mobile communications business, driven upwards by its Galaxy smartphones. The company has forecast stronger results for the last quarter of the year.
As internet companies like Apple, Amazon and Google rush to improve their online sales and search services with cloud-computing, permanently connected computer warehouses are rapidly expanding. Accordingly, the need for low-power processors and heat management solutions is also on the rise, with electricity accounting for around 12% of a data center’s total cost.
Samsung is a leader in the dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) market and the world’s second-largest semiconductor maker, and sees energy efficient chips as a major opportunity for it to steal a march on its rivals.
Key Statistics – Global Smartphone & Mobile Device Market (source: Gartner, November 2011)
- Over 50% of smartphones bought across the world in Q3 were powered by Google’s Android operating system.
- Global mobile device sales topped 440 million units in Q3, a 5.6% rise year on year. Smartphones accounted for 115 million units, with market growth slightly down on Q2, but up 42% year on year.
- Nokia had the largest share of mobile devices market with 24% followed by Samsung with nearly 18%. LG came through third with close to 5%.
- The top three in smartphone OS market share was Android with over 52%, Symbian with 17% and iOS on 15%.