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Why It Matters That Samsung Copied Apple [Opinion]

Samsung copied Apple. There really isn’t another way to put it. Samsung didn’t copy Apple in every conceivable way, but when you compare several of their phones to the iPhone, it’s clear that Samsung wanted their hardware and software to resemble that of Apple’s iPhone.

It’s easy for Android supporters to want to defend Samsung, but the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Apple’s argument: Samsung realized that it needed to copy Apple to get ahead in the smartphone space. In terms of what this means for the lawsuit seems trivial, but there are deeper issues at stake. How did Samsung copying Apple damage the Android ecosystem as a whole and why should you care?

Since the release of the original Galaxy S back in 2010, Samsung began a steady climb to become the dominant Android manufacturer in terms of both tablets and smartphones. Prior to the Galaxy S, Samsung had touted phones like the original Galaxy (running Android 1.6) and before then the Omnia line of phones running Windows Mobile. Like HTC, Samsung began developing their custom skin, TouchWiz, on Windows Mobile before hitting their stride by skinning Android.

It is important to remember that in the early days of Android, there were not a lot of differences between Android and Windows Mobile. Both operating systems were designed to compete with Blackberry OS, Palm OS, and Symbian, not iOS. Towards the end of Windows Mobile’s life, companies like Samsung and HTC made Windows Mobile usable with TouchFlo UI (later renamed Sense) and TouchWiz. Because Android was not designed to compete with a touch-only operating system, Android manufacturers used skins to make Android more competitive. For example, while the original Droid could not originally pinch-to-zoom, the Droid Eris and Droid Incredible were able to because of Sense (at least in the browser; Google apps like Maps weren’t able to use pinch-to-zoom until Google updated them).

In the midst of Apple’s market disruptions, customers were looking for a more modern smartphone than Microsoft or Blackberry had to offer. They turned to manufacturers like HTC and Samsung to provide a skinned Android experience more like the experience afforded by the iPhone. Manufacturers correctly assessed that Android’s early incarnations were not as polished as they should have been to compete with iOS, so they skinned them to improve the experience. HTC had partnered with Google to make the first flagship Android phones (the G1, the Magic, and the Nexus One), making it the most prominent Android manufacturer in the early days of Android.

Other manufacturers wanted to get ahead. As OEMs realized that Android was the way to go (especially since Microsoft’s upcoming OS would not allow the manufacturer customizations that OEMs had pured millions of dollars into developing), they began to push more of their efforts into customizing Android. Samsung was able to jump ahead of everyone with the release of the Galaxy S, the successor to the less-than-impressive Galaxy.

The Galaxy S had a lot of things going for it. It featured a 1 GHz processor, a Super AMOLED display, a 5 MP camera, and perhaps most importantly, was available on all four major carriers in the US by September of 2010. At the time, the iPhone was still only available on AT&T in the United States. Following the release of the Galaxy S, Samsung began their steady climb to become the only profitable Android manufacturer in the world.

The question is, what did Samsung do that HTC, Motorola, and others didn’t? The answer is simple: Samsung copied Apple while manufacturers like Motorla and HTC differentiated their software. The evidence has always been clear. A quick comparison between the Galaxy S and the iPhone 3G/3GS reveal many similarities between the design of the bezel to the color and look of many TouchWiz icons. To make matters worse, the trial between Samsung and Apple has revealed several internal Samsung documents that specifically state that Samsung was trying to copy Apple.

As supporters of Android, we shouldn’t care if one manufacturer fairs better than another; after all, competition spurs innovation. We should care, however, if a manufacturer steals ideas from a competitor to get ahead of everyone else instead of innovating on their own. If you look at Samsung’s Omnia line and first Galaxy device, it’s clear that Samsung was further behind in the game than Motorola or HTC.

Look at Motorola and HTC devices in the era of the iPhone 3G onward. There is a clear design aesthetic that Motorola and HTC have been pursuing. When you see a Motorola or a Samsung phone today, the design is iconic of each company. While Motorola and HTC may have taken some inspiration from Apple initially (especially HTC), both companies differentiated their software and eventually came into their own hardware design language. Motorola phones usually feature striking edges, tough materials, and blocky software design while HTC phones have curved edges and polished, flashy software. There is a clear path of design aesthetic from the Droid to the RAZR. The same can be said of HTC’s designs from the Nexus One onward (the G1 and the Magic still looked like Windows Mobile devices in my opinion). Samsung’s devices, on the other hand, take a dramatic shift from the Galaxy S onward in terms of software and hardware mimicking the iPhone.

Maybe Samsung got ahead because consumers saw their phones as close enough to an iPhone. Maybe Samsung got ahead because they stole hardware design and software ideas from Apple so they didn’t have to put in as much time and effort as other OEMs did in developing their own ideas. Regardless of the specific reason, it is clear that Samsung not only stole ideas from Apple to get ahead, but that it worked. More importantly, because it worked, the Android ecosystem as a whole has suffered and manufacturers that would have probably thrived through their own innovations are instead losing money every quarter. I have no doubt that companies like Motorola and HTC would be doing much better had Samsung decided to compete by actually innovating instead of lazily stealing ideas from Apple to get ahead. Apple surprised the world with the iPhone. Everyone knew that it would take time for the competition to catch up and then really compete, but Samsung took the lazy route and copied Apple instead of innovating.

Obviously Samsung didn’t copy everything from Apple, but their own documents make it clear that their intent was to copy enough from Apple to get ahead. This sort of problem can’t be solved in the courts. Samsung has built up a brand and a reputation that, based on Galaxy S III sales, will be difficult to tarnish. The reality is, most people won’t care that Samsung copied Apple, but they should. Real innovators like HTC and Motorola would undoubtedly be doing better in the market, and therefore have more resources to keep innovating. Google can’t buy all the OEMs that fail, and even if they could, that wouldn’t right Samsung’s wrong. The Android ecosystem has been forever damaged by Samsung’s callous laziness. Samsung’s brazen copying of the iPhone didn’t hurt Apple nearly as much as it hurt other Android OEMs. Hopefully OEMs like Motorola and HTC are able to out-innovate the competition even more to ensure their success in the market.

  • Christopher Mason

    I’m happy they lost. That means no more touchwiz!

  • This is quoted from Steve Jobs himself, “great artists copy” now he couldn’t appreciate his own COPIED words of wisdom? What a put foot in the mouth video haha!

  • I bought my first Samsung galaxy so “vibrant” because I stopped by a tmobile store & the first thing I noticed was the screen, the screen was like none other that I ever saw… The colors, the screen seemed to be right on the glass as it was a piece of paper pasted under a thing piece of glass & when I took it home I was blown away by the fact that it’s gpu was so powerful & the best for years to come. I didn’t like the I phone but I liked the galaxy so vibrant. So I never noticed that it “looked” like the I phone, I only noticed that it had a big but full 4″ screen & that it was thinking with a 5 mp camera & a 1ghz hummingbird processor wich were the best specs at the time. The shape of the phone meant nothing to me, a common rectangular shape is now patented? HoThFk? Well like I said it was the screen & guts that I liked & when I looked at the phone for the first time & even threw the year I didn’t see I phone in it, I saw a phone pushing the limits… Apple took notes from Samsung if you ask me by buying there chip sets & using the power vr after noticing how Samsung stole there spotlight. They even bought the whole power vr stock so that Samsung wouldn’t be able to provide there customers with the gpu, they monopolized to control the media directly at I phone…. So f*** apple & this one sided review.

  • Samsung made a better choice for consumers and better devices, Apple is a freak.

  • M isn’t patented, so is C, or D or etc.. But if you open a restaurant and call it “Mc Donald” , Mc Donald will sue you.
    Samsung took the iPhone, dissected it screen by screen and decided how to make their phone look and behave like the iPhone. Google told Samsung in 2010 (or 2011) to stop mimicking the iPhone. That says a lot, even Google noticed that. (Do a search on the document presented in court, you’ll see how Samsung is such a cheap thief
    You can go on about how it still has a logo on it, and how it’s got NFC etc… That doesn’t change the fact that Samsung copied ideas (Yes, those rectangles and icons which they couldn’t come up with until Apple did) that Apple has been developing since 2002, and pasted them on their Phones.
    I think Samsung should pay more than just a Single billion. Should be at least 5. they are such a disgrace to the Android community. Companies like HTC, and Motorola that try so hard to come up with their HTC Sense and Blur should be given a chance.
    Stop copying… Please

  • BILL

    wait a minute judge,your robe looks like mine. it is time to sue. LMAO

  • BILL

    they look alike. big friggin deal. next will be the auto makers crying that someone stole the look of their car. stupid stupid court decision. oh my your gun looks like mine, i will sue you now… LMAO

  • chrizzle

    By admitting that Samsung did copy, you are basically saying that car manufacturers should be sued because they produced a truck, and that truck looks like another type of truck. Or the Chrysler 300 should be sued because it kinda looks like a Bentley. Absurd.

    • I said that Samsung is guilty of copying Apple, not that Apple should sue them for it.

  • Funny

    Sam is not singing anymore. Just might eat a nice apple

  • mely <3

    im heving problems with my phone it dosent want t ocharge its not the charger its the phone can ya’ll helo me

  • This was a very thoughtful and analytical piece. I do appreciate the bold understanding and comparisons the author made in exhibiting the long journey that the various mobile OS platforms have taken into becoming their own. After reading this, I too must align with the overwhelming evidence: Samsung could have done much more to differentiate their products, but instead settled for less. I would have liked to see how exactly this author concluded, perhaps with statistical evidence or more concrete examples, that the Android ecosystem and its various distributors have suffered as consequences of Samsung’s decisions.

    • The best concrete examples I can offer are Motorola and HTC’s earnings statements for the best few quarters. Samsung is currently the only profitable Android OEM; everyone else is losing money every quarter.

  • I agree that this is somewhat valid, however let me throw this at you.

    The iPhone was the first of it’s kind right? Meaning it was essentially the building block for this new era of smartphones. This would be very similar to Mac and Windows when they first started. Both devices has an arrow that scrolled around an open space with seperate “windows” of files and information. Essentially you could claim that Windows stole Macs idea…oh right they did.

    However nobody in this day and age really remembers that. The frivolous patents that Apple lays claim to are the issue here. Yes they are similar but there is only one way to build a wheel and there is only one way to make some of this stuff.

    I agree Samsung definitely leaned on the design ideas of Apple, but don’t car manufacturers do this every year? Don’t clothing manufactures receive “inspiration” from one another? Try and buy a fridge that doesn’t look like one made by the other manufacturers. Did Frigidaire patent the side by side door? If so they should definitely sue GE!

    • Mac versus PC is a good comparison, but remember, Apple and Microsoft went to court and ended up cross-licensing tons of patents to avoid suing each other into oblivion. There’s a good chance that will happen again.

  • Blades

    Everybody copies everybody in some way or another. The problem is, is that there are about 12 original ideas in this world and everything become a copy of everything or a branch off of something. Apple originally got/borrowed/stolen/whatever parts of it’s user “MacOS GUI interface w/Mouse” idea from the Xerox company way back in the day, Apple didn’t come up with that on there own, then Microsoft took elements of both those companies and IBM and that helped create Windows OS. Not to mention nowadays several different Web browsers out that have copied each other be it: Microsoft, Netscape, Chrome, Opera, Mozilla etc…. in some way or another. One will implement something, and the other will add it and label it something else, but its the same thing. Microsoft has “Folders” in Hotmail and yet Google mail calls them “Labels”…..same damn thing. In fact, I’m eating a bowl of APPLE BLASTS made by Great Value(Walmart) and it sooooo conveniently looks like the original APPLE JACKS from Kellogg’s in every way, down to the green box and the actual product look and taste. Where does it stop? It won’t sadly. So IMO neither one of these companies are the “poor innocent party”, they both have a habit of copying each other and other companies as well. Samsung just has the “money balls” to stand up to Apple. Does it make it right that Samsungs phones were at one time very similar to the Iphone? Absolutely not……but Apple isn’t exactly innocent when it comes to the “copying other companies game either”.

  • WickedToby741

    Yes, the original Galaxy S was a cheap attempt at imitating a lot of the iPhone. Between the central home button and cartoony icons designed to mimic Apple’s, it was a cheap attempt. Samsung has done a poor job innovating on the software side, but they’ve excelled at hardware innovation. It didn’t matter what the software looked like, Samsung was continually able to set and raise the bar for good Android hardware (internals, not design). Samsung matured a lot after the Galaxy S and started designing more distinct devices. They still resemble Apple devices in a simplicity sense, but they started gaining their own unique style culminating in what we now know as the GSIII.

    GSII, Note, GSIII. All successful phones for Samsung and with s string of mildy successful low end phones in between. Why do you think Google selected Samsung for the past two Nexus phones? It’s because they make great hardware. And don’t blame Motorola’s and HTC’s respective demises on Samsung. They dug their own graves. Both were successful early on with devices like the Droid and Evo, but their follow up devices were stale. Motorola soured customers by putting out a truly awful skin and then preventing people from removing it by locking bootloaders. HTC just had a generally lackluster stable of devices after the Evo, Incredible, and Nexus One.

    I mainly don’t want Samsung to lose this fight against Apple because I fear it’s implications towards them. This case will set a precedent, and if Samsung is found guilty it increases the chance other manufacturers will be too. If Samsung is proven innocent, then the innovations of others will almost surely guarantee they won’t fall victim to Apple either.

  • ds

    The Samsung’s documents showed some ways they needed improvements compared to iphone. Everyone needs to do that and it doesn’t mean copying. If there are better standard ways of UI, sometimes, you just need follow the trend rather than going for your own like Sony’s beta vs VHS, Dvorak keyboard vs QWERTY. I bought Motorola and Samsung phone because there are their own Android ways I like, not because it looked like or had UI like iphone

  • Thomas

    Hmm is seems to me mr. Ron dont like samsung a whole lot. I cant really see that samsung copied anything vital from apple. How is a non-iphone device supposed to look? Should it be round? Or triangular? Pretty absurd. All android phones has iconic represented applications… So has windows OS since windows 3.11 from the early 90’s. Should all other software developers then iOS developers be aloud only to use text-link representation of apps…. By the way does anyone has a patent on a textlink? It’s not really touchwiz that looks abit like iphone… Its android., the application drawer. By the way… All lcd tv’s looks the same to me they have 4 corners and a backlit screen, the same goes for smart phones, howcould it be any different. I think this article is nonsens, and i think apple would like to own the world.

  • Alexander Garcia

    ***THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE*** You’ve nailed it Ron! Best article on the Samsung vs Apple saga EVER! Cheers. =)

  • MissSmitten

    As technology progresses, devices are going to become slimmer, and more sleek and they’re going to come in more popular colors (i.e.: whites, which seems to be the most popular now).
    All because Apple “did it first”, do they really need to stifle the creative vision of other hardware designers? Every company wants to make a product that appeals to the masses, and if the masses want something slim, sleek and white, why not make a phone that’s just that. Yeah, there are similarities to the iPhone, but if Samsung didn’t put a big apple on the back of their phones, I hardly see how they “copied Apple”, mainly because those features are just so.. generic..
    The issue isn’t the fact “Samsung copied Apple”, the issue is Samsung made some devices that were just as sleek, but with better software, more features, that is half the price of an iPhone! Of course people are going to buy it!
    Rather than Apple getting all huffy-puffy and sue-crazy, what they should do is work on improving their software, add more features, and ultimately, LOWER THE PRICE! Apple feels like they’re losing their customers, and they are, but it’s not because Samsung phones are getting confused with iPhones, people who buy Samsung phones KNOW it’s not an iPhone, but Apple is losing customers because they’re starting to wise-up and they don’t want to pay premium price for a subpar device.

  • S Bosworth

    If anyone can honestly look at the design history of the companies, and say that they honestly believe that Samsung wasn’t heavily influenced the design of both the iPhone and iOS, They’re a better liar than I.

  • Fattie McDoogles

    I agree with the majority of the comments in here. Apple does like to cry foul for stuff that should most of the time be ignored. But I do agree with @ronoffringa:disqus too. Samsung blatantly copied Apple with the original GS. I do think they owe Apple some compensation for it. But after that. Samsung started to innovate for themselves. Apple needs to get over that as they have taken things from Windows in their computers and Android in their phones and iPods. Copying to an extent is part of innovation and comes with the territory as Apple demonstrates themselves. Stop crying over spilled milk and move on.

  • Steve Schneider

    Ever think by Samsung “copying” apple it could better the whole situation? Sure, Samsung copied apple but it also made a stronger rivalry in the android world and made Motorola and HTC step it up in both hardware and software. Not to mention it gives apple more competition… What people don’t always see is rivalry and stronger competition makes products better. So yeah, we should care that Samsung to the “lazy way” out of it, because plenty of people out their love touchwiz and don’t have to buy an apple product that’s way over priced and quite frankly inferior, just to have the feel of an iphone. Over all, I do care and I am grateful they took that rout. I will stick with my TW free gnex and be happy for the people who got any of the galaxy series devices, because they are still excellent pieces of work.

    • Jwhap

      People love touchwiz??? 🙂

  • AngryReader

    These Ron Opinion articles make me embarrassed to recommend this site to my friends.

  • Tristan Cunha

    This is probably the best review of the Samsung vs. Apple case I’ve read. I thnk it’s a great point that while no one (or hardly no one) actually thought they were buying an iPhone when they bought a Galaxy S, that Samsung took a lazy route and copied a bunch of design elements that worked together to make their phones more competitive. And you’re probably correct that it didn’t hurt Apple as much as other Android handset makers.
    This issues gets obscured for two reasons though. One, some of Apple’s patents are so crazy, and so broad, that no one thinks they can be valid. If they had more specific claims (and didn’t try to patent rectangles), their claim would be much clearer. And two, Samsung has moved beyound their copied designs, and is now selling distinctive phones of their own. They probably got a nice bump by not having to start from scratch, but at least now there’s no way to confuse an SIII with an iPhone4. In fact, all the phones that are being argued over now are a couple years out of date. This case may end up hurting Samsung with a big penalty, but its unlikely to affect their current lineup.
    It’s also important that this isn’t an Apple vs. Android issue, it’s Apple vs. Samsung, mostly Samsung’s hardware design, but also their custom skin. The similiarities between stock Android and iOS are all pretty clearly either prior art, or non-innovative, i.e., obvious.

  • chris420o

    This article hit the nail on the head and is exactly why i HATE SAMSUNG PHONES…the Motorola droid saved n gave birth to android…samsung made phones that exactly copied Apple to be successful which is why i hate them…its like do you want an iphone or a korean knockoff whicj is exactly what the galaxy phones are…not tk mention a quarter the quality of American made phones ie iphone and moto…i have a galaxy nexus for one single reason…the dev community otherwise id punt this samsung crap across the street…you guys defending samsung or your gs3s or w.e are simply blind and need to admit the facts i love android bc its everything apple isnt and samsung phones destroy that by trying tk be apple

    • tibs

      You do know that Iphone is not american made right?

      • chris420o

        Nothing is anymore your missing my point…american company making a quality build unlike samsung…i loathe apple but i call a square a square people defending samsung saying oh this that they didnt copy are worse then ifan boysis pathetic stop hating on ron for speaking truth your belittling Android with your ignorant comments

        • Tibs

          Truth be told i don’t live in America (i live in UK) so i am not so patriotic towards american brands as you are. However over here HTC and Moto and LG have had inferior products to Samsung for a long time (in terms of CPU/GPU/camera/battery/screen) and not the same variety (screen size) plus something like HTC Sensation was full of problems which Samsung never had. Moto is practically absent over here in Europe. Surely you can see how all these factors will count towards why all the other Android manufacturers are not doing too good?

  • DroidDoesnt_2

    One of the most reasoned, intelligent blogs that I’ve ever read……

  • Tibs

    Wow, what an overly simplistic way to try and explain Samsung success. How about the fact that :

    1) Motorola is basically absent anywhere but in US and their support (overseas at least ) is rubbish
    2) HTC up until say One X/S/XL was inferior to Samsung in CPU/GPU/Screen/Battery
    3) Samsung phones are slimmer with better screen. Also a fact is that Galaxy phones are smoother than the android competition part of the reason being maybe because they are developing the CPU in house#
    4) Sony/HTC were behind last year in terms coming out with dual core phones
    5) HTC had various problems last year with their flagship- Sensation like LG did with 2X
    6) Samsung came out with something like Note (5.3 inches screen) which their competition still doesn’t have

    Also some of the copied features like elastic band were removed from last year and yet the Samsung sales keep growing how do you explain that

    Now i am not condoning stealing and if Samsung did indeed steal from Apple they should pay for it however to say that Samsung owes its success to copying Apple is extremely simplistic to say the least

    • jj

      Your missing the point. Hes not diminishing Samsungs success. Hes merely saying the way it got started (copying Apple) was wrong. Everything subsequent is fine.

      • Tibs

        The Android ecosystem has been forever damaged by Samsung’s callous laziness. Samsung’s brazen copying of the iPhone didn’t hurt Apple nearly as much as it hurt other Android OEMs. .”

        More importantly, because it worked, the Android ecosystem as a whole has suffered and manufacturers that would have probably thrived through their own innovations are instead losing money every quarter. I have no doubt that companies like Motorola and HTC would be doing much better had Samsung decided to compete by actually innovating instead of lazily stealing ideas from Apple to get ahead. ”

        As per my quote from the article he is not just saying that- he is accusing Samsung for HTC/Moto failures completely overlooking the number of things both companies have done wrong in the last couple of years.

        • HTC and Moto did plenty of things to ensure their failure in the market, but it may not have been so bad had Samsung not copied Apple to get ahead. It’s hard to measure how much of an impact their copying had.

  • Kicko Kim

    I think that apple’s publicity campaign has been so invasive these last few years that companies have no choice other than copying apple products. People still use the word “iphone” instead of smartphone and don’t even know what a tablet is! Also macs are basically the only computers you see on tv. Apple brainwashed the world with it’s marketing strategy and now other manufactures have to deal with it!

  • tony

    this is an ingenious argument. didnt apple sue htc for copying in the days when htc lookd like the leading abdroid partner? apples target is not samsung but android. and by the way apple also copied from android. think notifications, multi tasking, multiple home screens

  • Gebinsk

    Samsung copied Apple like Embraer copied Airbus copied Dassault copied Convair copied Douglas copied Boeing. Sorry, but you’re just wrong. I’ve read all the coverage and compared the phones (and tablets) side-by-side, and at the end of the day the only conclusion a reasonable person can come to is that any similarities are organic.

    If not, then explain to me why Apple’s lawsuits against the Galaxy Tab are being dismissed left and right. If the phone is a facsimile, it stands to reason the tablet is too.

  • s9779

    Nice write up. Hit the nail on the head. Take another South Korean company like hyundai / kia. for year they ripped off style and tech from other automakers. now that they have benefited from the work of others they have established their own brand identities and have become very successful.

  • I have never liked Apple and their Itune strangle hold on content. If Samsung copied apple then they did a good job improving on the “original”. We will all see when the courts decide.

    I love my S3!!!

  • I don’t buy it. I think that had Motorola left their phones and bootloader unlocked, I would be driving a Razr Maxx instead of a nexus.

  • Boi Dinero

    I’m sure most phone fanatics get caught up in the android vs ios and being that Samsung leads in the popularity race with android mobile devices we can go back and forth all day. For me it America vs Korea product and we win. They can manufacture it in any country they please but at the end of the day its hard for other country’s to compete with our technology/style. And to bit our style you got to pay…lol

  • Paul

    Ok so what did they copy I just looked at each phone on Google that Samsung has put out the Nexus doesn’t look nothing like an Iphone and tell me where in any android software that android looks like an Iphone I have had a Galaxy s2 and now currently a Galaxy s3 and neither of those phone have nothing in common with the Iphone. i mean if they did copy Apple it has to be something in the programming cause I don’t see it in the two phones I own.

  • Catalase

    Ron. The mightiest troll of all. Writes article siding with Apple on Android blog. Infuriate the readers, drive up page views.

  • satsmine2k4

    Coz apple didn’t really have the guts to start a thermonuclear war… they started these patent wars….

  • UrDoGG

    I agree with most of what you are saying. Aside from the GNEX (which I own), I’ve never been a fan of Samsung’s phones because I have always thought that they followed Apples designs a little too closely (like their insistence of putting that gotdamn home button on their phones). Anyway, just stop with the skins…
    More stock 4.1 on phones please.

  • Jay20

    I’m sorry, but caveat emptor, Apple. Plus, you just sealed your own legal grave if YOUR “experts” cannot tell the difference between Apple products and Samsung’s. And functionality DOES matter. “Look and feel” is very subjective.

    But yea, Samsung shoulda gone the route of Motorola and HTC in trying harder to differentiate, starting with the icons. That’s just dumb, Samsung. I don’t think the idea of being mainly touch screen was the problem, but def that silver lining on their earlier Galaxys. Now thanks to Samsung’s idiocy, they may have successfully gotten all Androids called into question. At least the Galaxy S3 pretty much avoids some of the design pitfalls, tho they shoulda not gone with the physical home button.

    Still doesn’t change the fact tho that Apple wants monopoly, and this judge does seem biased. Some of this problem, is a little of Samsung’s own making.

  • yarrellray

    Just because something started out as similar doesn’t mean it was the same. From day one Samsung offered many things apple never did. And the same holds true today Samsung products are just better than apple plain and simple. As far as HTC and MOTOROLA is concerned don’t blame Samsung for their fall of grace Motorola smartphones are just boring they share that concept with Apple. And HTC has just lost their way why because of software problems. People need to except where android is today and that is Samsung they earned it’s place fairly….

  • Apple is a joke. This is like Ford trying to sue GM for making motor vehicles. Get over it, Apple.

  • Charles Bronson

    Okay, so Samsung allegedly copied Apple.
    It happens all the time.
    Get on with your lives.

  • TechGuy21

    i wonder if Benz patented all everything that had 4 wheels how other automobile makers would react to today. i mean Mercedes could have sued anyone that made a car with 4 wheels. toyota, ford etc,.all would be under Benz. Apple cant say everyone copied them whereas others make better products than them. and innovate more. they need to settle and they will. i really dont think US will let anyone win this one. even though US is really biased when it comes to other foreign companies. but this will hurt us customers if either party won.

  • metalcated

    Should I blow all your minds??!! Gee guess what manufacturer name you’ll find stamped on the inside of an iPhone? No really guess? Samsung! and btw… Samsung had prototypes of a smartphone 2 years before Apple released the iPhone. Oh and one more!… Sony actually had a smartphone prototype even before Samsung and Apple. Read its good for learning.

    • What Samsung phone are you referring to? The F700 that doesn’t even run a smartphone OS?

  • BHazard

    Motorola and HTC could have taken over the android market at any time. Unfortunately for them, they continually push their bloated skins that nobody wants (and sometimes breaks bluetooth), lock down bootloaders which nobody wants, delays releasing kernel source code, and doesn’t seem to want to fully provide what customers want (One-X internal battery and no sd). Why isn’t HTC being blamed for copying apple in that design choice?

    The Galaxy S3 gets just about everything right. Touchwiz is minimal compared to Sense. The bootloader unlocked in minutes (T-Mobile). Once Jelly Bean is released, I may not even HAVE to run Cyanogenmod to get my phone to work the way I want it to (but I’ll be running it anyway). Is it so hard to see why they are selling like hotcakes over Motorola and HTC?

  • ccg077

    Please never post another Ron article again. This one is even worse that usual. I mean they are usually absolutely terrible, but this one is utter trash.

    • DroidDoesnt_2

      Truth hurts….

  • Im shocked to see people still in denial… If anyone on here made the iPhone lets say the idea didn’t take off and it was just an idea, you made a few hundred but nothing major and some how some way Samsung got a hold of it and copied that phone and made their own just like they did, making Billions .. You mean to tell me no one on here would have a little issue with that, just a little … Come on … People are just crazy … Im sorry i just wouldn’t write that mess off. i would fight for my idea that i came up with. I dont know about anyone else …

  • Joey

    I couldn’t agree more with the opinions given in this article. I’ve never had much respect for Samsung, as I never thought the similarities to Apple products were merely coincidence. As far as Android is concerned, I’m sorry to now find out that I was correct in my assumption.

  • Sam Shedd

    How can we be sure “copying apple” is the only major factor in samsung’s success? And not the fact the Galaxy S was on all 4 major carriers. To me that seems very important. I remember someone said of my original droid All droid had to do was “have a touch screen and some apps” and it would be a huge success because people on Verizon couldn’t get iphones at the time. And he was partly right. I’m not saying samsung didn’t copy apple nor am I saying it didn’t help them out a lot. Just want to point out there are other factors that played a part.
    Also I have mixed feelings about how much this hurt android as a whole. After looking at how they “copied” icons, it just seems like a sleezy move. I hate that they did it, but really it seems like a normal business move. Their phone icon is… a phone. The notepad icon is…. a notepad. Contacts… a contacts book. It’s obviously all made to look like Iphone icons. Especially when you look at the UI as a whole.
    BUT people here at droid life like to see iphone users are sheep. And really that’s a way of saying someone who has it in their head iphone is better, but doesn’t really care/know why or how. And Samsung managed to grab these people. And now that they owned an android their next phone purchase will be less biased to apple. It defiantly had a negative impact on HTC, Moto, ect in the short term. But I also think that had a lot to do with Iphone coming to Verizon, and the fact they released a terrible string of phones. But if samsung’s only true advantage over them was the copying of the iphone, that is at an end.

  • JMonkeYJ

    i think some people are missing an important subtext in this article (that perhaps Ron should have been more explicit about, if he indeed believes it).

    i don’t think Ron is arguing that Android only became successful because Samsung copied Apple. i think he is arguing that Samsung became the most successful Android manufacturer because they copied Apple. those are two VERY different things.

    the result is that we could have had Android as successful as it is today because Android became successful on its own merits, not thanks to Samsung, but with several different successful manufacturers competing and out-innovating each other. instead we have a near-monopoly in at least the Android smartphone space.

    looking at this subtext, the choice by Google to open up the Nexus program makes a lot more sense. it could very well be that they’re trying to get back to the days of several manufacturers on somewhat even footing innovating. this is pure speculation by me. but look at the Galaxy Nexus: an excellent smartphone, made by Samsung, that owes virtually nothing to the iPhone! of course Apple is suing the Galaxy Nexus design, as well, which is where i think they really step over the line and piss people off. if they stuck to flagrant copies like TouchWiz and the early Galaxy phones, it’s hard to argue with them.

  • anon

    This is the dumbest most braindead article on this site.

  • bakdroid

    Shut up, Ron. Just shut up.

  • onixblack

    I think that if you are going to argue that people who own a Samsung device should care that they don’t really innovate, then I would argue, so should Apple device owners as they don’t truly innovate, they just take a lot of good ideas from other people and add it to thier product

  • blashrrt

    Even though the evidence looks bad for Samsung, I view Samsung as improving upon a product were the iPhone lacked

  • chris125

    Just another reason Samsung should go stock. Then they would crush the other android OEMS even more than they are now

  • Mack Knife

    If Apple is really serious about all this, why doesn’t it simply put signs up saying they are not Samsung? That way people wanting to buy something other than an iPad wouldn’t get confused.

  • Steve Wojciechowski

    If anything Samsung’s “alleged” attempt at copying apple drew people away. I never heard people rave about Touchwiz. Everyone I knew used a different launcher or rooted the damn thing anyways.

  • R Sh

    This is the kind of reasoning that SOPA uses (i.e. had people not pirated the media they would have bought it). If Samsung’s phone didn’t look as desirable perhaps many of their customers would have opted for the iPhone, and their money would NOT have been spent on Motorola or HTC.

  • LewisSD

    You can’t be serious when you say OEMS don’t the resources to truly innovate. We are talking about companies with billions spent in r&d and you are saying they would have been able to develop better phones if their sales were slightly better. Also, Samsung copyed the design aspects if the iPhone not the actual hardware technology. Majority or research and money goes I to actually technology and not the designed. Did you ever consider what they made was really just the best they could do? Or that their strategy is to innovate at a slower rate to produce more incremental up grades (e.g. razor, and razor maxx)to increase sales?

    If anything samsung`s lead in the market has only helped push other oem`s to develop better products in order to compete. Sense when has a company setting the bar higher been a bad thing? From a customer perspective we are the ones who benefit with higher standard phones, and a better ecosystem.

  • SecurityNick

    I’m sure I haven’t read every document that’s been released as this article claims, but I haven’t seen anything that says, “Copy Apple.” From what I saw, it made very clear that Apple was the competitor to worry about. If you don’t think that every single business out there in every single industry doesn’t have sales and design meetings to discuss what their competition is doing and what they have to do to compete and beat them, you’re fooling yourself. The only statement in this article that I agree with was, “Apple surprised the world with the iPhone.” Yes, they changed the game and every manufacturer has come up with their own tactics to compete against it. As we all know, the root of the issues at hand is the US Patent system. Perhaps if certain patents weren’t awarded to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this scenario. Let’s look at one of the recent images I saw that claimed they copied the “phone icon.” It has been universal for quite some time that green means go and red means stop and phone manufacturers have been using that color scheme for send/call and end buttons for years, long before Apple. Now, I could be wrong, but in order for Apple to even have a claim to begin with, there must have been a patent, copyright, or something that says that green logo is theirs. The question now is, should that have been granted. I say, “no.” In order for something to be granted a patent, it must have patentability as defined here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patentability and this has obviously been abused and not followed by in the current system, there isn’t anything that I have seen that has warranted a “flash of genius.” That should be the real discussion. And as another poster pointed on here, I don’t think a single person that has purchased a Samsung phone has thought that they purchased an Apple product and were deceived into thinking so….although their recent (and horrible) new commercials might make you think that other manufacturers are “kind of sort of” tricking you into buying a “kind of sort of” insert Apple product.

  • TLDR
    Nice try, Apple fanboy.

  • James Hill

    Boy, Ron is a real tool in this article. Go back to your job blogging at 9to5mac.

  • Akashshr

    I dont think it is very difficult to see how and where samsung copied Apple, but still thats what happens, One copies the other and add one something of their own, Thats how products evolve and become better! I am no fan boy, but okay samsung copied Apple, pay the damaged and move on! Its difficult so see samsung build a case claiming the anti!

  • ak


  • Angry

    All products within a common market will all appear similar. Chevy’s look like Fords, Panasonic TV’s look very similar to Toshiba, etc. apple is pushing this patent assault to the limit and it hopefully will spur a rethink of our patent and copyright system. This is about apple putting the breaks on competition any way possible. In the good old days you’d put your effort and $ into making a better, cheaper, more desireable product. Now you just call a law firm and sit back…

  • Impressive! I lost faith in Droid-Life for not being an impartial source of information. I’d grown tired of the articles that stirred up the Android Fans. The bottom line Android is hurting, because its being attacked from within. There needs to be a focus on quality, not quantity.

  • jeff3yan

    This is only temporary until Samsung brings out their own evidence, a huge document from Apple detailing how they looked at the leading product at the time from RIM and copied them.

  • John Davids

    Hope you have some thick skin, Ron. These comments aren’t going to get any prettier. I pretty much disagree with the entire premise of your “article”, but most of the commentors have said what I wanted to say anyway. Bad form.

  • VellicateAlgid
  • Bob

    If Samsung wanted everyone to assume that the galaxy series was the same as the iphone, why did they spend millions on the next big thing ads? Clearly these were meant to show consumers that these phones were different.

  • frankandsimple

    it’s funny to read thru comments of people who seem somehow personally hurt by the revelation about Samsung being a shameless copycat. More interesting is the utter lack of understanding the difference between copying something and utilizing an idea. Samsung not only LIFTED Apple’s ideas (which still is OK).. they also tried to do the exact same thing with the idea that Apple already did.. It’s not like they got inspired by Apple’s in-general smartphone innovations and tried to emulate them.. they simply ripped off page by page on many of Apple’s proprietary stuff without having the courtesy to even let Apple know.. and they passed it off as their own.

    But then, I completely expect this from a South Korean company. They aren’t much different from their Chinese or other Asian counterparts.

    Go USA!

  • RichFromBX

    Car manufactures “barrow” from each other all of the time. Could you imagine what would happen if BMW owned the patent on bluetooth in a car then sued every other manufacturer that wanted to add bluetooth or went after companies that made those bluetooth devices that clip on to visors…Patents are really a silent killer in business because anyone with an idea can file the papers even when they don’t have the means to put something in to production, at the very least stuff like that can make it difficult to get things going…

    On Shark Tank, Mark Cuban ripped in to a guy because he filed and own the patent on running the cord from headphones though a jacket and then sued other companies that did it…I get the good side of patents and there are legit uses of them but someone at the patent office needs to look at this stuff and think “click on a phone number in an email and it will automatically allow you to place the call…yeah, no eff’n kidding, there’s nothing unique or inventive about this…no soup for you”

    • paul_cus

      That was a great episode of Shark Tank.

  • Ralph Basile

    These idea strikes me as ridiculous. What was the first flip phone – the Motorola Startac? Did every other manufacturer of a flip phone pay royalties to Motorola? Which was the first company to use a color screen? Are they owed royalties? Should all other color screened phones be pulled from the market?
    Apple innovated. They got rid of the styles (or track pad on some phones) and replaced it with a finger touch interface. But in most other ways, the iPhone did what other smartphones did. They copied the function and features of those phones. It is ridiculous that Apple was granted patents for many of those features.
    I am hoping this madness ends with this court case.

  • I don’t agree — at least not for the current generation of Samsung phones. The S3 does not look like an iPhone. Anyone who would be mistaken a S3 for an iPhone would be someone stupid enough to be confused by a fork and a spoon. That said, I hate the rounded rectangular shape that the S3 uses, the saturated color theme, which is also what the iPhone uses — but that is NOT copying.

  • kidheated

    This entire thing is ridiculous. Sammy did copy Apple in some respects, obviously, but Apple (as a whole) is still a little bitch. They whine to the principal about everything. Penalize Samsung (not Android) and move on (touchwiz sucks anyway). Samsung should maybe stop helping Apple fight them by not supplying them manufacturing mats, etc. Apple is like the evil corp in movies, once they’re done w/ you/your services, they eliminate you. In regards to those who supposedly (if any) “mistook a Samsung device for an Apple unit,” you should kill yourselves. Life is much harder than that (and the fact that stupidity like this is usable in court is infuriating). That argument should be thrown out. Anyone w/ an IQ under 70 should not be using a smartphone, hence the name. In truth, this would all be less of a problem if el Googs took the reins and set more strict policies on its OS. There should be nothing but vanilla android on handsets. “Skins” should be either downloaded afterwards from company websites or arranged in a chooser system to be used at consumers’ discretion, not forcibly imposed.

  • Superguy

    “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” — Steve Jobs

    Guess it’s only ok when Apple does it then.


  • IMNS

    Since when has Blur been considered innovative?

  • Rob

    On another note, it would be awesome if the trial decided Touchwiz looked too similar to iOS and it got banned until it was changed. If Samsung didn’t want to spend the money, vanilla Android for all! Yay!

    /wakes up

    Touchwiz isn’t that bad, just having a little fun at its expense.

    • Tommy Thompson

      Nature UX removes most if not all iOS similarities that the GS1 had.

  • Rob

    Good write up. Is Apple claiming they have lost sales due to this? I know about the report that some people returned Galaxy Tabs thinking they were iPads, but other than that, have they? Even if it comes out that Samsung did copy Apple in styling, did it affect Apple’s sales? I’m sorry but anyone who blows over $200+ on a phone or tablet and doesn’t even READ THE DAMN BOX and still get the “wrong” product, they are just completely blind or stupid.

    Also, sure, Samsung sold a lot of phones starting in 07 and onward. Has anyone pointed out that the iPhone was only available on one carrier in the US for a couple of years?

    And again, the trade dress infringement – as many pointed out, how can this exist for cell phones but not for cars? Cars look similar – four wheels, an engine under a hood, some windows, mirrors, etc. Same with TVs, appliances, etc. So why do devices get to have trade dress rights?

    • Tommy Thompson

      I don’t see how they can even try to make a claim that they lost money when they had their best quarter ever not too long ago.

      • Rob

        This is precisely my point. And to top it off, their best quarter (if not one of the best) consisted of selling a phone that didn’t have NFC or LTE and had bad battery life (according to people that I know that have it). I thought the iPhone was supposed to have good battery life?

    • r0lct

      Playing devil’s advocate here.
      I’ve yet to see two cars on the road that look so similar that I need to read the name plate or study some other part of the car to tell them apart. If you look at TVs you’ll see most try to have some sort of custom border to differentiate them.

      • Rob

        I agree, I can distinguish cars pretty well too. But my wife can’t and neither can a LOT of people. And I would say the same goes for phones. Sure, you and I might see obvious glaring differences between the phones but the majority of society might not.

        Have you not seen how Hyundai tries to make their luxury sedans more like a Benz? You can’t be honest if you tell me that it doesn’t look like anyone copied anyone in the auto industry. What about the hideously designed 300M? Totally looks like a bad copy of a Bentley.

        • Tommy Thompson

          Hyundai goes as far as not putting their name badge on the higher end models too. So the Genesis would only say Genesis, no Hyundai badges anywhere.

          • r0lct

            But the confusion happens at the point of sale which makes the car analogy not a good one.

          • Tommy Thompson

            That would mean someone misread “Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1” for “Apple iPad” which seems very unlikely. Most likely what happened is the sales associate said “oh yeah its just like the iPad” when what the customer actually wanted was the iPad.

          • r0lct

            I am also playing devil’s advocate in a lot of my posts to combat so of the ridiculous blind apple hate (not directed at you) and actually attempt represent both sides for an actual conversation.

          • Tommy Thompson

            Haha so how many people have you pissed off so far? Lol

          • r0lct

            I think I have a few people down-vote stalking me so I would say its been rather productive.

          • Tommy Thompson

            Mission accomplished then!

          • r0lct

            For some strange reason I thought the outcome would be different. Oh well.

      • Tommy Thompson

        Hyundai Genesis and Mercedes S class?

        • r0lct

          How many people you think returned their Hyundai thinking it was a Mercedes or that it was close enough?

          • Tommy Thompson

            Yes, because people go into a HYUNDAI dealership to purchase a MERCEDES. Look at the two vehicles. You can’t sit there and say they aren’t extremely similar.

          • r0lct

            OK, terrible follow-up on my part. However mixing up an Mercedes and a Genesis is tough to believe.

  • jathak

    I definitely agree that Samsung copied a lot from Apple with the original Galaxy S. However, with the SGS III and particularly the Galaxy Nexus, I don’t think Apple has any claim.
    I think that Samsung should have to pay X amount of dollars for the copying from a few years ago and then both companies should agree to stop suing each other.

  • jnt

    I think Sammy’s success had more to do with carrier availability than anything else – that and strong marketing. I’m sure it helped that it looked similar to the most popular device at the time, but it would not have gained any traction without it’s widespread availability.

  • Greyhame

    Samsung became a powerhouse because of the S2. It was superior to every other smartphone that was currently available (and for months afterwards). Their ability to supply their own silicon and hardware cuts out the middle man and allows for nice profits along the way. That, in turn, allows for more in-house investment into technology and software tweaks that actually add to the UX (see GS3).

    Samsung initially took inspiration from the iphone, that much is clearly evident. But for apple to assume all profits Samsung made after the Galaxy S are due to them “slavishly copying” the iphone is ridiculous. They’re simply abusing a cracked patent system, and it’s dirty in every sense of the word.

    Likewise, assuming Samsung essentially garnered all those profits and market share because of similarities to the iphone (what this article portends), is just as wrong.

    I have to disagree with the broad assumptions you’re making here. Moto is in the dumps because of debacles like the Bionic (sorry), and the RAZR / RAZR Maxx (again, sorry – just referring to the release of the Maxx so soon afterwards). And of course, encrypted bootloaders. HTC hadn’t brought anything to the table after the Nexus One until the One series (they were even smart enough to bring along the name). NOT because of Samsung’s dominance.

    I disagree Ron. Wholeheartedly.

    • DanWazz

      The original Incredible (which is a rebranded Nexus One) was a success, and would have been even more so if they could have kept up with demand. Also, the EVO was a big seller at the time. Maybe they should have spent more time with that brand and brought it to more companies.

      I think HTC dropped the ball with the Thunderbolt’s bugs and piss poor battery life, and then releasing the same phone 100 times after.

      But yeah, I agree with the rest of your comment.

      • Greyhame

        I stand corrected, thank you.

    • I’m certainly not saying that all of Samsung’s success came from copying the iPhone and I’m also certainly not saying that HTC and Motorola failed solely because of Samsung. Obviously there are a plethora of influences on every company. All I was saying is that we should care about Samsung’s decision to blatantly copy instead of innovate.

      • Greyhame

        Maybe you’re not being quite that black and white. But what you are insinuating is that Samsung is the biggest player in the android marketplace today due to copying apple. And that’s just wrong. On so many levels and for more reasons than I care to list. …And reading an article like this on a blog I’ve come to know and love is… let’s just say it really rubs me the wrong way.

        I don’t equate the leaked emails as an admission of copying apple. Samsung was merely brave enough to look in the mirror and challenge themselves to do more, to fix their shortcomings. Did they take too much inspiration from apple for touchwiz? Yes. Did similar looking icons garner them more sales? Not likely. As far as design goes, I have a very hard time arguing patents that shouldn’t have been granted in the first place.

        The problem here is apple and their proclivity to abuse the broken patent system to sue everyone they possibly can to gain injunctions and attempt to create a monopoly. Or at least to slow down or completely stifle innovation to the point where they can keep up. That’s what this article should have been about. Apple needs to grow up and get over themselves. For them to have the arrogance to think they actually own ideas like “black rectangles with rounded edges,” and slide to unlock that they have somehow been granted patents for is mind boggling.

  • Spencer Ward

    Samsung and Apple are pretty synonymous to the average phone user. They do look fairly similar (Home button in the center on the bottom? Especially in the SGSII) Plus Touchwiz does look fairly similar to iOS. Samsung’s awful software developers could have been clever about how they hinted from software (s-voice vs. Siri as opposed to Google Now vs. Siri), but they were generally lazy and their being called out for it. I don’t support Apple in the slightest in the mobile ring, however I don’t blame them for being a little miffed that their revolutionary ideas were blatantly copied (stop pretending they aren’t, Android wouldn’t have 4.6″ touchscreens without it). I am, however, worried about how this affects the ecosystem as well. Look at it this way, if one believes Samsung and Apple are synonymous, if one bought the GSII (ie.) because it looked, felt, and acted like an iPhone, isn’t that a stolen sale? Samsung is hurting the ecosystem with these stolen sales. The reason I say this is that what if Samsung were to be banned in the U.S.? (worst case scenario) Now Android is out of a major player in the arena, Motorolla, HTC, or (god forbid) LG would have to pick up the slack somehow, it would be brutal to everyone. Granted, this would give other companies more sales, but on the other side, there’s nothing that looks like an iPhone to the average consumer. We need Samsung for their unlocked bootloaders, their incredible hardware, and their ability to draw in a massive crowd of sheep, but if their going to continue taking the easy way out to be the top seller, I don’t know if I want them. I pretty much just blame Touchwiz. Touchwiz is the knockoff, with it’s sub-par rip offs of Apple software, it will never be very successful. If I were Samsung, I would stick to Stock Android, There isn’t a real high-end company making stock Android unless it’s a Nexus. We need that reliable company coming out with stock high-end devices consistently. Samsung has the hardware to be that company, they could be avoiding these lawsuits because of their crappy skin and make our niche group of Android super-fans super happy, meanwhile sticking the skin on the lower end devices. Does anyone else remember how all the low-end devices used to come stock? It boggles the mind that stock android used to be cheaper, as though you were paying for the skin. I used to have a Droid 2 Global, I bought it because I thought it’s “style” (as I thought it was at the time) was cooler looking than Sense, it looked more stock than the others. (I know) The day I got it, I was all over forums, learning everything there was to know about the phone, learning what MotoBlur was, etc. Here I was, thinking I’d bought stock because I bought the sequel to the OG Droid, only to find out I’d bought MotoBlur. I didn’t know the difference, and that’s how the vast population of the world is, they don’t know the difference between the skins and stock. For some reason, none of the manufacturers seem to think stock looks good though, which is what I’m so blown away by. Stock JellyBean and ICS look absolutely beautiful, I would buy any phone with the “stock skin” and yet the manufacturers just disagree. Not sure if it’s the population or the manufacturer, but no one is willing to sell stock devices and that’s what I think Samsung needs to start doing. They don’t have the skill in the software department, so they should be letting Google take care of the software and Samsung should be taking care of the Hardware. There would be a lot less harassment of Samsung and we wouldn’t lose a major player in the Android Arena.

    Hope I don’t piss anyone off, I love the community and I respect all opinions.
    (Coming from a proud Gnex owner)

  • Rickerbilly

    The Galaxy S is out of production. Water under the bridge. Get over it!

  • situman

    1) How many different ways can you style a brick?
    2) Where’s the innovation between the Razr and Razr Maxx? How about Droid 1, 2, 3 or 4? How about Incredible 1, 2, 3, 10? Anyone seen a Sony Android commercial yet?
    3) The S3 is thinner with a bigger screen and a very good size battery than all competitors.

    • paul_cus

      I saw a Sony Android commercial about a month ago. Once.

  • My take on this is that it’s a whole lot different to make something “similar” to another product than it is to copy it. I can write an app that is inspired by some other app. As a result, it will likely have similar features & UI elements. That IS NOT the same as copying hunks of their code to make my app.

  • Jon Gee

    I’m not defending Samsung or Apple on this one. The fact is that there are certain design elements that are just obvious from a usability standpoint. A button in the lower center where most people hold their phone for example. Software is another story but the entire idea of design patents is stupid.

  • AhsanS

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/102317767/44 Well, damn. This is pretty bad for Samsung.

  • eezdva

    I didnt choose the SGS2 because it looked like an Iphone. I wanted an android phone with the best hardware. That’s how I ended up with the SGS2.

  • AhsanS

    I actually agree with this article 100%.

  • I am not convinced there is any wrongdoing that deserves financial compensation. Tons of painters copied Pablo Picasso’s style, but in the end they were still not Picasso’s paintings – and though some of Apple’s designs influenced Samsung’s, and in some instances strongly influenced, the differences in the products were vast. Had Apple provided a larger screen, 4G, and early availability across all networks, Samsung, and other Android makers, would not be were they are today.

  • moelsen8

    samsung made a beautiful phone with the galaxy s. sure, they copied some aspects of the iphone. everyone has and is. what else are you supposed to do? it’s a touchscreen phone, sharp or rounded edges or not. i don’t know what the answer is, except that it’s all ridiculous. there’s only so many variations you can make to a small rectangle. i wish they’d toss out all this crap and just let it play out already.

  • jacker101

    Dear Ron…

    Apple took all its Technology from the mobile industry’s Lemon Tree. They took these lemons and made lemonade. Now that everyone loves lemonade Apple decides it owns the Lemon Tree and Lemons. Samsung say” Hey we and others grew that tree for over 15 years…you cant own our lemons or the tree. Apple wont stop until it has its tree and only people can buy its one kind of lemonade!

  • jeff3yan

    This is a great article and I agree exactly. I love the Android ecosystem but Samsung has always been my least favorite OEM out of the bunch.

    I can definitely see the evolution of HTC’s design language over the years, not only in hardware but also in their Sense skin. I appreciate the effort that Apple has done for the smartphone landscape and OEMs like HTC who put huge R&D resources towards making a phone their own.

    Samsung on the other hand basically blatantly copied Apple since the original Galaxy S. Why they became so popular, no one can tell for sure, but it’s damaged the profitability of the truly innovative OEMs and that makes it worse for all of us.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Um, because the Galaxy S2 was a great device with great hardware (even though the UI did look a bit like iPhone’s again)? Because the Galaxy S3 is another awesomely specced device? And because their pricing is great (without contract) that is? Galaxy S2 was cheaper than the Sensation here in India, but had better hardware (except the use of plastic that is). If you’re neglecting their awesome hardware, you’re being ignorant. Great displays, great chipsets powering their phone, overall complete specs, etc is what made them famous. Oh, and no locking of bootloaders also helped a bit.

  • RW-1

    Apple can be upset and perhaps damages paid would be a herd earned lesson for Samsung – either make your own crappy skin like moto or HTC, or just let it run ANDROID the way Google intended it.
    But I also don’t buy that it hurt apple sales one damn bit for reasons Michael previously listed. You can be a sheep, but you really really have to be a total DA to think you got an iphone when it says samsung on it, plain and simple.
    As to copying the OS look, cease and end it, but darn it – who holds the patent on Android notifications?
    This is the real crux, that fact that anyone can go get a patent on anything, then go wild with it. We all know Apple copies from others, but they [groan] had the foresight to go get patents for what they copied, Why would that be? Are there patents for particular functions of Android? If so, and espicially the notifications, then why not give them the same treatment?

  • Seth McDonald

    True Sammy should not have done this, but the danger of giving apple or anyone else a victory in these battles is the demotion of innovation. For instance, if you say samsung copied the ipad, because it is rectangular and black or white, then NO ONE else can make a rectangular tablet with a black or white boarder. Are we saying that apple invented the colors? The Shapes? or the combo?

  • Jason Huff

    Wow. I never would have expected to see this article on Droid Life. This article takes such a simple minded viewpoint of the factors involved in this lawsuit that I am stunned. I would expect something like this on Engadget or Gizmodo.

    I don’t expect everyone to agree on the similarities between the phones of the two companies, but to claim that amounts to stealing reveals such obvious bias to one side that I don’t see how you can be taken seriously. For one, ideas are not created in a vacuum. To claim that being inspired by something is the same as stealing ideas from the thing reveals such a dazzling ignorance of reality that I’m not sure how you are able to survive in the real world. Probably a good thing that survival doesn’t require a grounded, reality-based outlook on life.

    The idea that Apple creates their ideas in a vacuum while everyone slavishly copies them making the rounds in the tech media is a testament to Apple’s marketing prowess, not their innovation. You think Apple didn’t look at the competition and use what they learned from that to make iOS better? Have you seen iOS 5 and 6? You think Apple would have even been able to create an iPhone without inspiration from other companies? If your answer to that question is anything other than “Of course Apple had to be inspired by other companies” then I have bad news for you. You’re an idiot. Why don’t you actually look at the facts and arguments of the case before you start typing up a steaming pile of dog turd?

    If you look at the actual facts of the case, there’s no way you can view Apple’s case as anything other than Apple trying to stomp out the competition by litigation. I’m not talking about Apple’s claims against Samsung having validity. I’m not going to say one way or another about that because I’m not in the courtroom and I’m not seeing all the evidence of both cases. I’m talking about what Apple is saying Samsung owes them in damages and what Apple says they owe Samsung for their own patent infringement (yes, Samsung is suing Apple for actual patent infringement which Apple is not denying). Apple wants every bit of profit from any Samsung phones covered by this suit, plus some. Every bit of profit. For a design patent. Meanwhile they claim Samsung is owed a pittance for technology without which there would be no iPhone. At all. Because Apple would not be able to make it act as a phone.

    Why don’t you read Groklaw before posting giant bowl of dog crap?

    • Rob

      You think Apple didn’t look at the competition and use what they learned from that to make iOS better? Have you seen iOS 5 and 6?”

      Which is why I can’t WAIT until Google fires back and sues the pants off of Apple for ripping off the Notifications screen/center. They shouldn’t settle, they should sue them to oblivion and back.

      • r0lct

        Yes, the software side of this whole thing is the part I think is ridiculous, especially in light of everything iOS had copied.

      • txtom76

        the good the bad and the ugly of open source software such as Android…apple can use any idea in android and google can’t do anything about it…hell they could use android on iphone if they chose

        • Rob

          Open source does not mean anyone can just use it. They just don’t have to pay for it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need permission.

          Google was awarded the patent for the way Android handles notifications. With patent in hand, regardless of open source or not, they can sue Apple.

          • txtom76

            maybe i misunderstood an article i read a while back…hope you’re right though and google should fire back

      • Chronon7364

        Google sues Apple and wins. Google sees a backlash from Apple users. Apple users resort to using…. Bing.

    • I’d like to know why you’d expect this sort of article on Engadget and Gizmodo. How much more often do they look at Android phones versus iPhones? A lot. How many anti-Android or pro-iPhone editorials have they had since Android has become available? Very few, if any.

      Ron’s article isn’t very nuanced and isn’t considering all the details, but I’d say what makes a good Android fan is refusing to savage someone simply because they said something you don’t want to hear. Show a measured, educated response instead of launching into personal attacks.

      As for Apple’s patent infringement, the issue there isn’t whether or not Apple is using patents — it’s whether Samsung is actually asking for a fair rate on standards-based patents, or simply trying to squeeze Apple as punishment for daring to sue (Samsung didn’t even bother asking for royalties until after it was sued — remember that). Samsung is currently under FTC and European Commission investigation for possible abuse of standards-based patents; that’s as much of a concern as whether or not Apple’s unique patents are overly broad.

  • Hmm….

    There is a major difference between COPY directly and using something as reference, which is done by every single manufacturer in the world, from ball point pens to automobiles. When Cadillac uses BMW to reference their cars, they don’t plagiarize design, even though the basic ideas are all the same. On top of all of that, Apple stole every single thing in the *phone from prior art, and polished it. Steve Jobs even famously bragged about that before he decided no one else had the right to do the same thing. Another thing to note is that Asian companies have always taken cues from whatever companies and designs they deem to be among the class leaders, and tried to make them better (like Apple does). Again, look to the automotive world. The entire argument is ludicrous at this point, because Apple didn’t invent the touchscreen, or icons, or the rectangle. Patent lawyers can’t be so myopic as this argument is. They have to look at everything that historically lead up to this point. Thankfully, SOME judges have realized this, and the stupidity of the patent trolling at present. Finally, I think your conclusion is way off. In technology, every existing product affects every one that comes after it. No matter who makes it, the more polished and powerful any high tech product is, ALL other brands are spurred on to better their own products. Competition is always better for the consumer.

  • TheWenger

    I almost feel ashamed to have read that article. Did the ghost of Jobs hack your account?

    • DroidDoesnt_2

      No, common-sense hacked his account….

  • JP

    Why didn’t they copy the iphones batter life?

    • Rob

      Because the cake mix just doesn’t taste as good.

  • Scott

    look at hyundai, some of their models resemble very closely to well known luxury cars.

  • Mike Zaitchik

    how do i downvote an article?

  • KleenDroid

    The only thing that hurt Motorola after the success of the D1 is the full lockdown of their phones. I would love to go back to Motorola but can’t. They stated last year that if you want an unlocked phone to go elsewhere… so I did.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      But I’m not sure that 85-90% of the people buying devices out there care about the bootloaders. That’s only you and me and people like us, which aren’t many. Samsung copied iPhone initially, but then came up with awesome devices at great prices, that is what helped them sell well. Motorola didn’t really ever come up with awesome devices, only good devices (except a few and even those weren’t really that awesome).

    • Tommy Thompson

      and the older Blur…

  • This article seems to forget that Motorola and HTC were the darlings of Android manufacturers two years ago. Is there any evidence that the rather poor attempt at using Apple’s icon aesthetic in their phones or with their physical presentation helped them? Q2Y11 Samsung owned 8% of Android’s 39% market share. HTC and Moto had 25% between them (look up Nielson data for proof). Samsung became the Samsung we know today with the Galaxy S2, in 2011. I don’t think many people would confuse any apple product and the S2 or later.

    It is clear that Samsung’s first attempts at poor imitation were pretty unsuccessful. They were successful by making a “wow” phone with the S2.

    I know i thought it was pretty cool (had the OG Droid and now GNex), and remember thinking, but it’s Samsung so a little scary to want one. It’s amazing how fast perceptions change and how short our collective memory is.

    And let’s be clear (total opinion) Moto and HTC shot themselves in the foot by releasing phones one after another, but only improving in the smallest incremental way possible. How many “just average” phones did Moto and HTC produce in the last 2 years?

    • Saturn1217

      I cannot +1 you enough!
      Let us also not forget that apple opened this current chapter of legal drama by trying to ban import of the galaxy nexus. I would hope that no one would try to claim the galaxy nexus could be mistaken for an iPhone?

      This is about apple trying to crush android. We shouldn’t forget that.

    • droidsung

      Exactly right. While it’s true that samsung tried to copy iPhone’s look and feel in OG Galaxy S, it’s the great hardware in GSII that really started making them dominant player in androids. And GSIII is even further different from iPhone. GSII, GSIII are selling like hotcake not because it looks like iPhone but because of its stellar hardware. Even to this day, Touchwiz is the least favorite UI among android fans. To the contrary of what this dumb article claims, I think sammy would be even more successful if they just go with stock UI like Asus is doing with their tablets.

      Whether you like or not, Sammy is second to none when it comes to marketing push and ability to supply major hardware components by themselves. Creating a single flagship brand phone and make it available on every major carrier across the world is what made GS line of phones today. And that’s what made them trump HTC, Motorola in global sales. I don’t think copying iPhone did any major part in this.

  • JP

    Steve Jobs stole the Mouse from Xerox and Bill Gates stole Windows from Jobs


      The desktop environment a la Windows existed before both Windows and Mac OS.

  • Rickerbilly

    Boy, Droid-Life website looks a lot like other websites. You guys are COPIERS!!

  • JP

    Did Pepsi copy Coke?


      If they did, they didn’t do a very good job.

      • paul_cus

        Haha, this.

  • Ash Hanna

    I care much less about what my device looks like, more about how it operates and what i can change in it.
    Motorola would without a doubt sell much more devices if they just unlocked.
    I’m just saying.
    So many people tout Motorola hardware, but why don’t they buy it? Cuz it’s locked down.
    Just sayin…

    • Ash Hanna

      Oh and don’t feed me the B S line about root community being so small
      If it was THAT small, r o o t capable paid apps wouldn’t be un the top 5 PAID APPS LIST

      • ERIFNOMI

        The “root community” is a fairly small portion of the Android community. They are, however, the most active Android users and I’d say most likely to pay for an app that serves a real purpose AND convince others to buy it as well.

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        Well, that community isn’t very large either. Not more than 15% of the Android community at the most. 🙂

  • “As supporters of Android, we shouldn’t care if one manufacturer fairs better than another; after all, competition spurs innovation.”

    The crux of my issue with this entire argument is: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

    Patenting things like slide to unlock and half the other “that has been around forever” ideas that apple claims to own puts the ENTIRE smartphone industry in the same basket.

    The simple truth is that there is not one single truly original idea in any of this.

    What made smartphones popular was a stylish brand taking them seriously with regards to consumers.

    Apple has stolen MANY things (window shade anyone?) from android. And frankly, the idea that a bezel or icon colors can be interesting or innovative or even unique is a laugh. Look at their mail icon. It’s an envelope, on blue background. You know how many apps have had something similar?

    The core of this issue is that NONE of these things should be protected. EVERYONE should be held accountable for innovating their very next product, rather than coming up with something once and protecting it from being “copied” forever, or even for a moderate period of time.

    Plain and simple if you are a better company, nobody will buy the other products. Protecting design screws up everything that underpins free markets and their supposed innovative edge.

    They are only innovative if innovation isn’t protected to the point where it allows stagnation.

    Like say an OS that looks fundamentally the same for five years. Or a phone whose style has only changed twice in the same amount of time.

    Software and design patents do not protect and promote innovation, they promote coming up with one good idea and then sitting on your hands.

    If Apple patents slide to unlock and Google patents a window shade and HTC patents an overscroll bounce and samsung patents some other equally minor UI element all you eventually have is a mess of things you can’t do and a bunch of minor individual good things collected nowhere and spread everywhere.

    The purported goal is not to protect a revenue stream, but to encourage OVERALL innovation.

    This…does not accomplish that goal.

    Bickering over whether or not beveled edges or “uncluttered” faces are IP is just a bunch of companies interested in keeping their piece of a pile of money.

    It has NOTHING to do with innovation.

    • Devil’sAdvocate

      Well put. I believe Ron’s point is Samsung wasn’t trying to innovate. They were intentionally seeking to make their product more similar to a more successful one. I agree with you though that IP is a joke when companies become more caught up in protecting what they innovated years prior than what they could bring to the market now and in the future. Samsung deliberately copied the “design” of the leading competition to boost them to the position where they could later pull ahead later though. You can’t ignore that. I just wish Apple spent half of the money they do on these trials on “innovation” still. It’s a joke. 😛

      • re4ee

        Apple BOUGHT the patents, they didn’t invent the technology and go through a patent process in many cases. Apple hit the jackpot with the iPhone, and then did nothing to improve the basic design, they just went to court to try to stifle anyone else’s innovations. The closest Samsung came to iPhone design wise was just a step in a process of evolution. They didn’t have to steal any of Apple’s ideas they were supplying Apple’s hired factories with much of the components. As far as design goes, they’re all building smartphones, until there are more hardware and other component advances (which will never originate with Apple) size and shape of these things are dictated by function. My Galaxy Nexus has not one single design feature that remotely resembles ANY iPhone, and it rocks.
        Here watch this video, be better informed regarding Apple’s claims of original “inventions”
        Has Apple Really Ever Invented Anything?

        Look at Apple’s new phone, what have they done that’s so ‘inovative’?
        Larger 16×9 screen, copying Samsung?
        Thinner design, copying many Android trends?

        Phhhht! The trial will end in a mis-trial, bet on it!

        • Chronon7364

          Pretty decent video there.

        • Great video.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Like say an OS that looks fundamentally the same for five years. Or a phone whose style has only changed twice in the same amount of time.”
      That’s the problem. Apple can’t innovate or think of something new, so they’re hoping to at least protect what they already have, and try to stop others from innovating as well.. 😛

    • Haha I love your quote from Steve Jobs, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” We all know how well Apple loves to steal…oh I meant innovate…lol

  • edone

    All tires r round.. . Who gets to sue who in this case?

    • r0lct

      The one who makes a specific tread pattern where another OEM rips off the exact pattern.

      • OEM1 only makes 3.5 inch pattern, alleging that OEM2’s 4 inch pattern is a copy. Maybe if OEM1 also makes 4 inch pattern, customers will buy it instead of OEM2’s 4 inch pattern.
        I was due for my Verizon renewal middle of last year, passed on the tiny-screen, stuck-in-slow 3G iPhone, and I’m very happy with my big-screen 4G LTE Galaxy Nexus that I got in January

        • r0lct

          I’m very happy with my GNex I purchased on release day and my Nexus 7. However our happiness with current devices has little do with copying that was done on older ones.

        • Rob

          So… everyone with a 4″ screen phone should sue Apple if the iPhone 5 is a 4″ screen, right? 🙂 That would be awesome if Samsung (or anyone) could actually do that.

          • r0lct

            If screen size was the only factor I’m sure there would be no trial.

        • There’s a trial because Apple brought on the lawsuit. Apple can drop the lawsuit at anytime, but more and more folks are getting Androids these days than Apple’s cash-cow iPhones.

      • thislandisyourland

        They didn’t patent anything specific though.
        US Patent D604,305″The general grid layout for icons, and a dock of separate icons at the bottom of a mobile device display.”That is the patent.

        • r0lct

          Let me clarify, I think all the software patents are garbage, I am just referring to the hardware.

          • AdamSchuster

            The design patents are even more ridiculous than the software ones.

          • r0lct

            Some of them are, especially the ones that don’t even list specific dimensions. It’s really the trade dress patents that seem to hold the most water.
            I’m no legal expert and maybe what I see as copying is not copying in the eyes the jury. Just from what I see/read, Samsung crossed the line from borrow vs copying.
            I think it’s no coincidence that this litigation was followed by a much difference design for the Galaxy series.

          • AdamSchuster

            I think you’re right, the trade dress issues do seem to be the ones that hold the most water. I don’t know how people can confuse the 2, but i haven’t seen the packaging for the original SGS either. I also think that the trade dress issues are stupid, though. I’m not sure how samsung could prove people weren’t confused, and all it would take is apple to bring up a couple people who say they were confused.

            What I see in the GS line is an evolution of products, not a radical departure from the original SGS.

            When I see apple intentionally distorting images of samsung products to match their aspect ratios, or displaying app drawers instead of the home screen, it makes me want to have the entire issue thrown out of court. This case should be tried on the actual merits of the case, not trying to mislead the public.

  • Men… I could care crap ass…. at least Samsung is making the BEST Android phones out there. Motorola with there crappy screen and crappy locked bootloader? HTC with there SUPER CRAP battery life and SLOW Sense?… w/o Samsung I think I would have switch to a Window Phone already… REALLY! and that comes from an Android fan boy (me).

  • Josh

    Sorry, I get the vibe that Apple copied Samsung going by this post –


    At least a few parts of it reminded me of my Galaxy Nexus – better start a patent trial.

  • CIFchamp24

    I wouldn’t at all say that Samsung has coppied apple on everything. But I just shake my head when I see the community I’m a part of (android) saying Samsung is the original one between the too. Look at the evidence and suck it up and admit it. Well written Ron!

  • Rickerbilly

    Every sedan looks similar to other sedans. pepsi and coke use similar bottles. All sliced bread is the SAME EFFING SHAPE RON. WHAT IS YOUR POINT? You secretly love Apple to not talk about the REAL issue, which is PATENT TROLLING!

    • Iceblu333


  • Knlegend1

    I strongly disagree that they HAD to copy them to get ahead. However they did copy them though.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    And yes, Samsung did copy Apple on the original Galaxy S phones. They were definitely mimicking the iPhone look with their hardware and TouchWiz software, but with the release of Galaxy SII and SIII devices, they’ve come into their own styling.

  • Mapekz

    People didn’t choose Samsung phones for their UI; they tended to choose Sense over TouchWiz in almost every situation (ThunderBolt, Incredibles, EVOs, etc). The problems were:

    1) HTC/Motorola stopped supporting hackers. This gave the enthusiasts no reason to choose anything other than a Samsung or a Nexus. No other Android phone is as easy to root and unlock as one made by Samsung, VZW’s Galaxy S3 being the only exception

    2) OEMs make way too many devices with inconsistent naming conventions, confusing lay consumers in the process. Sure, everyone knows what ‘DROID’ is because of the marketing…but they don’t know the difference between a Droid 4, Droid Razr, Droid Razr Maxx, Droid Incredible 4G LTE, Droid X, etc. How about non-VZW devices: for everyone One X there is also a One S and a One V and an EVO 4G LTE just as there is a Photon and Atrix for every Droid X.

    This is the same reason why Microsoft and Google are making their own devices to compete with their OEMs directly (though in Google’s case they are using an OEM to make the device). This is the same reason why MacBooks are consistent ‘best sellers’ and award winning devices whereas most people don’t even know what a ThinkPad X1 is (Lenovo should just make one high-end ThinkPad a year and call it ‘THE new ThinkPad’). Asus and Samsung started playing ball in the ultrabook sector to directly compete with the MBA and these philosophies have been slowly carried over into their Android devices this year as well. There is only one Samsung Galaxy S3 as far as naming is concerned. The technologies may be different but if a customer wants the S3 he/she can go to their carrier of choice and get the one that works for the network, period.

    Copying iOS and the iPhone directly hasn’t been the major factor that helped Samsung make all of its sales: the lack of brand conventions, multitude of piss poor unsupported devices, and lack of availability of the same device on multiple carriers is what killed HTC and Motorola devices, leaving only the Samsung devices as viable options.

  • Rickerbilly

    Then switch sides then Ron and leave Droid Life.

    • r0lct

      I guess you never heard the expression “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”.

  • jacker101

    Everyone chant with me!!!!

    “Fire Ron! Fire RON! Fire RON!”

    • LOL a man is allowed to have an opinion but i agree are you with us or against us

      • jacker101

        In all honesty I bought my S3 because of Samsung reputation for reliable hardware, screen side and SD. Samung up its game because of hardwares and cpu’s.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    The reason why I like Samsung is because they’ve been the most developer-friendly Android manufacturer. If the other companies didn’t create products with terrible battery life (cough, HTC, cough), and locked bootloaders (mostly Motorola, but HTC, and other manfacturers have been getting into the habit of doing that), perhaps their products would be more popular. I’m using my Samsung Fascinate, and thanks to it been so hacker-friendly, I’m able to run Jelly Bean. That’s TWO OS’s ahead of the last official update, Gingerbread. Little to no phones made around the same time mine was released have a nearly fully-functional Jelly Bean ROM.

  • RedPandaAlex

    I don’t accept that Samsung got ahead BECAUSE it copied apple. They were also for a long time the only OEM with Super AMOLED displays, and they made an effort to make high-end phones available on all carriers. (My girlfriend has a captivate because at the time it was the only high-end Android phone available on AT&T.

  • USuckRon

    Ron seriously stop posting things. Your articles and “opinions” are awful. Go write for bgr because you are clearly on the I*hone band wagon. Samsung copying apple really? How dare you post that on this site

    • Biased troll is biased

    • Eric Franca

      Really? This wasn’t a hate article on Samsung nor Android. It’s an opinion about what this type of business practice does to the market. Frankly, I disagree with the article. But that certainly doesn’t make it “awful.” Settle down, sir.

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        I hope its not the “Samsung did copy iPhone’s UI and hardware design” part that you don’t agree with. As that would be pure blind fanboyism. Samsung did copy, it worked, now they’re at top.

        • Eric Franca

          No, I disagree about how this affects Motorola and others. Another way they’d be doing much better in the market is if they had a smart ad campaign. Samsung has done extremely well in this department in my opinion.

          • Abhijeet Mishra

            Ah, right. And their pricing. Samsung has constantly had great pricing of flagship devices like the SGS1, 2 and 3, and even the Galaxy Note, unlike Motorola and HTC (Sony is now catching up to Samsung’s great prices).

    • Did you even read the whole thing? Man, you don’t have to agree, but for Lord’s sake, get a grip on respecting opinions.

    • Try reading the article next time.


      I think we’d be better off without you honestly.

      • tjsendel

        This article is missing one huge glaring thing…..the plaintiff hasn’t rested yet and the defense still has 20 plus witnesses. I am sure the picture will look VERY different. Why is it in every other country these ludicrous lawsuits are being tossed but ours? The EU and others see these for what they are – bad lawsuits. Granted they win occasionally but, overturned usually.

    • CIFchamp24

      Stop embarrassing Our community. You need to sack up and see two sides to things like a big boy.

  • jacker101

    Trader!!! Fire HIM!!

    • summit1986

      Do you mean traitor?

    • What is it he trades?

      • Pancake345

        I would trade Samsung’s stock before they lose 2.5 billion 😉

      • JoshGroff


    • Eric Franca

      You’re right! He definitely shouldn’t be trading on a website for Droid news! This aint no place for trading furs, sir! No one is in need of bear pelts round these parts.


      I might have something to trade. What is he offering?

      • JoshGroff


        • ERIFNOMI


          • He’s really good at splash, though.

          • ERIFNOMI

            “Good” is pretty relative in this case…

    • He definitely trades a lot. Solid trader. Really, a great, fair trader.

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    Samsung did copy them in case of the Galaxy S, and did it badly as well, as TouchWiz on the Galaxy S and other devices like the Galaxy Ace is one of the ugliest skins that ever existed. Samsung obviously is great at innovation under the hood e.g in their hardware, their displays, but software has ALWAYS been a very weak spot of Samsung’s, and it isn’t helped by simply copying someone instead of coming up with things on their own. Samsung right now is only good for their hardware, their software is messed up and heavily bloated (while it does add useful features), all while the other manufacturers like Motorola and Sony are lessening the amount of customization added on top of Android.
    Old resolution of mine strengthened again: Never buy a Samsung device unless it’s a Nexus. Samsung has no idea about good software, or even originality at that matter. Oh, and I’ve mistook an iPhone 3GS for a Galaxy S, despite having been a Galaxy S owner for a year. Call me stupid but its plain that they did copy its design.
    Now of course, suing just because another product looks like yours is stupidity, so I certainly am not vouching for Apple to win.

  • triangle8

    While you have some valid points, Apple has also copied android with notifications being a prime example. Android also took the webOS cards and put it in the ICS multitasking feature. There will be copying of the best parts of innovation. To ignore this is naive.

    • Copying is certainly going to happen, but Samsung didn’t just copy an idea, they copied a whole design language. Where HTC and others took ideas here and there, Samsung tried to copy in software and hardware design. I think it made a big difference.

      • triangle8

        So do you think the SGS3 is a copy of an iphone?

        • No, I think the GS3 is their first major in-house design. There is very little in common between even the GSII and GSIII in terms of design.

          • thislandisyourland

            My Epic 4G Touch looks -nothing- like any iPhone.

          • r0lct

            But your Epic 4G Touch also makes up a very small percent of the SGS phones sold. You can’t pick one minor variant and say that negates the rest.

          • thislandisyourland

            I was not the one generalizing, Ron was. He is claiming the SII materially copied the iPhone. My variant does not, and I have yet to see any variation that does, except for the glaring presence of a physical home button. Given that the SIII suffers the same fault, he really can’t fault the SII on that one, if the SIII is Samung’s “first major in-house design.”

          • r0lct

            Look at a pic of the internaitonal version of the SGS.

            Personally I think the SGS2 is a good example of influenced without copying. Obviously the SG3 is unique.

          • That guy

            yeah Because having a huge home button is only on samsung phones.

        • Abhijeet Mishra

          The talk is about Samsung copying Apple during the days of the Galaxy S. Their later devices certainly have changed for the better, and the Galaxy S3 is really really different (though not really good in design in my opinion). The Galaxy Nexus specially is an awesome design.

      • Rickerbilly

        Copy a look is ALL. iOS and Android are completely different. Hardware, different. Since when did every other manufacturer of products NOT copy another??

  • Michael Forte

    Here’s the thing about Samsung’s “copying” :did people really think they were buying an iPhone just because it may look similar? Does nobody look that it clearly says Samsung on the phone and box, and not Apple iPhone? TV manufacturers don’t sue each other even though TVs all look the same. To me, Apple just had their panties in a bunch because Android now has more market share and Samsung is a huge reason for that. The Galaxy S3 has sold very well, and it doesn’t look like an iPhone, so Apple can’t claim people thought the older Galaxy phones sold well just because they looked somewhat similar to the iPhone. Obviously it’s because they’re good phones.

    • No, people didn’t think they were buying an iPhone. That’s silly. But their minds, they saw the sleekness of an iPhone with an Android gift inside. You can’t patronize the people.

    • i agree with ya forte what about things that apple stole i io5 like notification bar that was a droid stable for years before last years io5 no one is suing them on that

      • txtom76

        i would also love to see Apple sued for stealing the notification bar idea…but unfortunately it won’t happen…Android is open source and that’s a great thing but that also means any company can use android…hell apple could use Android on their phones and google couldn’t do anything about it

        • 4n1m4L

          Pretty sure its open source with fair use. like what you make you can’t charge for and you must not make confidential, at least thats how doom went.

          • devator22

            That’s right, apple couldn’t profit off anything they take from android, or else they would break the open source licence.

        • Google has a pending patent for notification area. So google might sue apple as soon as they get the patent.

      • michael arazan

        the iphone 4s copied main features of android. Newsstand, notification features, speak to text, wireless sync, reminder, cloud sync, widgets, ota updates, voice control tab browsing, etc, etc.
        Also Android was created BEFORE IOS was ever around.
        Earlier Samsung phones do look to have copied apple, but to a point it sounded like they were trying to keep up with the status quo of the phone calls and the smartphone market. Even if a Judge does find ios was copied it should only be fined for 2 or 3 phones, not every phone samsung has created. 2.5 billion is stretching it, but 500 million may be a truer figure.

    • Nobody thought that. Apple is just mad about Touchwiz looking too much like iOS. Were I the judge, I’d tell sammy to knock that nonsense off and tell apple to STFU.

      • Dain Laguna

        this. why couldnt they come up with the galaxy s3 design from the get go? there is a reason the lawsuit doesnt involve the newer galaxy line.

        but i will agree with what others have said….apples phone has been around since 07, the galaxy s, the biggest offender, came out in 2010. where was this lawsuit then?

        • MFG

          Actually, NEXT year is the court date for Samsung v Apple concerning the Galaxy Nexus and the GSIII. That legal battle will also include Android…it’ll be a big one.

          • [email protected]

            They can’t touch my gnexus!!! Rooted on 4.1.1!!!!

    • I have always said Samsung copied Apple but no one ever confused the two. Samsung through the process I think just grabbed all the people unable to get iOS based devices. (Like for example teens with parents who would not let them)
      With iOS you are buying the name more than anything.

      • 4n1m4L

        Thats why i’ve stayed away from samsung(except my gnex). The home button feels too much like apple, and their efforts in their ui’s were WAY too much in the look, and not the feel. Thats why i like pure google, no skins bogging everything down.

        • RAWRR

          You do realize you can root and flash ROMs?

          I agree that pure google is better now, but 2.5 years ago? Not at all. Until gingerbread, unaltered android wasn’t the greatest. I preferred sense, and I know many people who did as well.

          I’m on a GS3 and am running AOKP Jellybean w/o any issues. Talk about pure google experience huh?

          Not hard if you learn how to actually use your device and root and flash.

        • dutersupy

          Yeah I hate Samsung but I would never give up my gnex!! Rooted runnin4.1.1

    • r0lct

      If they had an original design they would not have been seen by half the people that did most likely, epsecially among those looking for an iPhone. Stealing their design is what allowed people to even pickup the phone in those cases. They piggy backed on Apple’s marketing essentially by copying the design. That provided tremendous value to Samsung to mimic Apple that they weren’t entitled to.

      I would assume if you built an app and someone mimicked it (identical play store icon, in app graphics, etc) with a different name and it resulted in you losing sales you wouldn’t be too happy about it even though they “should be able to tell the difference” since the name was difference.

      • That is pure speculation. If samsung makes a phone and Verizon puts it on display or on their site, it’s being seen, period. There is no way to say that “this looked like an iphone design feature and this is why people bought the phone”.

        And btw, my Sprint Galaxy S (the Epic 4G) looked noooooooooothing like an iphone, it had a qwerty KB for pete sake…I don’t buy they obviousness of their copying. Nor do I think copying a bezel is something that should be protected. Given they didn’t design a silver bezel, there have been innumerable products with silver bezels LONG before apple decided to use them, that’s right, they didn’t design it, they decided to use it, that’s it.

        • r0lct

          See that’s where most people’s arguments fail, they pick individual pieces. The point is the design as a whole is what was copied. I am amazed at anyone who looks at the SGS and iPhone and can’t see more than similarity but outright copying. It’s actually the US carrier modifications that saved it from being even more obvious.

        • AlexKCMO

          I think the obvious is the European versions of the SGS which had the giant middle button. I can see the claim if i squint my eyes, but they’re unfairly making the comparison with the app drawer open as opposed to the home screen.

          I could see the point if Samsung threw MIUI on it and had a Slide to Unlock lockscreen. Middle button present, it would have been an iPhone with widgets.

          I don’t think the app drawer is enough to warrant a comparison.

        • balthuszar

          when the original Galaxy S came out on verizon(the fascinate) i went to a vzw store and asked to look at it, because i had heard how awesome their screen was…when i asked the vzw rep went “oh you mean the samsung iphone?”…and to my surprise, other than it saying samsung on the back and having android…it did look an awful lot like ios, and an iphone…i don’t believe people picked up a galaxy phone thinking it was an iphone, but i believe that people who wanted an iphone, but either a) couldnt afford one, or b) were on a provider that hadnt yet been fruited picked up the galaxy line because it was as close to an iphone as they could get until their respective carriers got the iphone

    • “TV manufacturers don’t sue each other even though TVs all look the same.”

      You got it. Tons of different products in tons of different markets look very similar all the time (TVs, microwaves, cars, computers, etc.). Apple is the only one complaining because they can’t stand competition.

      • r0lct

        There’s a difference between similar and making a copy.

        • Yea I mean you can’t deny that the s3 is a copy. The 4.8 inch display and the NFC chip are just dead steals from the iPhones on the market today. Not to mention the 4gLTE and the removable memory.

          • r0lct

            Great straw man. Too bad we’re talking about the SGS.

          • TheCheapGamer

            I think we need to sue at the time.
            Not when we are now two versions into said phone series.

          • r0lct

            They only recently received the patents, then it takes months to build a case.

          • disastrousrainbow

            What the shiz kind of point is this? Apple isn’t suing Samsung over features. Also, there’s a difference between the standard design of a TV versus the design of phone. Anyone holding an iPhone on one hand a Galaxy S on the other would simply have to be the most oblivious person in the world to not see the resemblance.

            As the models continued, Samsung started getting a design language of its own culminating to the S3 which no one is going to confuse with an iPhone. But everything prior? It’s pretty damn sketchy.

          • lansky

            This is copy cat game man! Everybody does it. What ever is selling at the moment others are going to try similar tactics. But that still doesnt change the fact that people bought a Samsung phone because it looked like iPhone. It doesn’t even perform like a iphone.

          • milanyc

            You’re talking about phone’s hardware features. We are benefiting from them. Sure. But the problematic issue happened mostly between 2010 and 2012, with hardware design, and more severely with software overlay on Samsung products. It’s a lawsuit everybody knew its coming…

          • iDevice4Me

            how long have you been following cell phone news? If you have been following it for the better part of 10 years you will know that apple is not the first company samsung has copied. Besides who said the S3 looked like the iPhone

    • wh1te_mag1c

      I agree with some of what you said, but if you think about it, the Galaxy SIII was ‘designed by lawyers’ as some people put it, so it was meant to be dissimilar to the iPhone as much as possible. And Samsung had had time to come up with an original design, so SGS3 features one. And they also had built up this momentum with the previous Galaxy phones, so it was only natural that the SGS3 sold like hotcakes (not to mention that it really is a great phone).

      I personally think that the TVs to phones analogy is not very valid, because phones are much more of a fashion accessory than TVs. I think a more apt comparison would be that of cars versus phones. In this particular case of Samsung vs. Apple, I think that Samsung has engaged in unfortunate copying. None of this makes me like Apple, but I can see their point of view at least somewhat.

      EDIT: I’m also not saying that Apple invented the smart phone or anything. But they surely didn’t copy another company’s look in the same way (even if they did add Android’s functionality to iOS more than a few times).

      • Diablo81588

        That massive physical home button definitely makes the s3 dissimilar to the iphone..

        • RAWRR

          Because a 4.8 inch screen with an oddly shaped physical home button is totally similar.

          Honestly, they look nothing alike. The physical home button is extremely differentiated from the iPhone one. The original Galaxy S and then the SII, not so much, but the 3, ya. They aren’t similar

      • dutersupy

        They made a iPod phone pretty much, who cares iOS will start losing a lot of business I have gotten like twenty friends to get androids! They love being able to flash new roms all the time. If you do get a Samsung make sure its a nexus or. S3! Sent from from my pimped out ltegnex running 4.1.1

    • Greg Sletterink

      The Galaxy S3 sold so well because of the reputation they built up from the previous 2 iterations that most definitely copied Apple in some way.

      • jacker101

        woopta ta dee fucken doo! That’s how Apple got where it is today!

    • Lansky

      Man I agree! I was a big fan of the iPhone too but they got bigheaded and they couldn’t be touched. Now that Samsung is cutting into their profits apple is bitter. I clearly switched over to android because apple has handcuffs on their software unless you jail break it which I get tired of doing eveytimes a new update you want is released.

      • Story of my life. thats exactly why i switched from iphone into Samsung (android) because Apple big headed and mind control with their marketing, their evil.

        They restrict you from doing anything. They want it to be done their way. The real money maker in Apple inc is the Marketing department!

    • I’m waiting for the iPhone 5, since Samsung stole Apple’s idea but put a bigger screen on it (S2, S3) , does the idea of the bigger screen goto Samsung even tho the design of the product came from Apple? I’ve got a feeling this legal battle is going to get really confusing really fast!

    • Thomas

      I wanted a sony tv, but i ended up with a panasonic because they looked alike….. (dooh) C’mon…. Apply dosent have high thoughts of peoples intelligence. ?

    • “Car manufacturers done sue each other even though they all have 4 Wheels”

    • Sumpter Carter

      Honestly, and it hurts me to say this as a strong Android supporter; Samsung did copy Apple. Case in point: earlier today I was walking through my local college and I saw a fellow student using a white cellphone. At first glance I thought it was a white iPhone, but as I walked past and thought a little more I did notice some differences. Point is, I wouldn’t have thought that had the student been using, say, an HTC Rezound or One X.

  • Michael Franz

    The simple fact is that its touchwiz that is to blame, just the homescreen UI. and honestly touchwiz was the reason i stayed away from Samsung phones. (except my beloved GNEX) But really touchwiz is so much liek iOS home screen its disgusting. You do not see HTC, motorola, or any others have a close UI. if Anything i think HTC has gone the right way by making it their own.

    Moto’s blur or whatever they call it now started off a huge mess but has gotten better, i still prefer stock android.

    This will damage the android name only for those who pay such close attention. yes samsung has a majority market share, but that is also thanks to great advertising, marketing and putting phones on all carriers.

    if HTC had the ONE X on all carriers, im sure their numbers would have been a lot better.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Oh, and great pricing. Samsung’s phones, specially high end ones are very well priced (when taken off contract).

    • Indeed. The touchwiz is the absolute WORST thing about Samsung. I hate iOS and am on Android for a reason. If I wanted my phone to look like an iPhone.. I’d just buy the real thing. Samsung tried to be a broke-ass iPhone clone and it worked like magic on the average joe who thought “I ain’t spending all them dollars to break my contract and move to at&t, but hey this looks like an iPhone and is way cheaper!! I’ma buy me on of these!!!”

  • If samsung is found guilty whats the worst that can happen a steep fine???

    • Apple wants a couple billion dollars in damages, but there’s nothing that can really be done to resolve the problem.

      • William_Morris

        What’s worse is if it’s willful infringement. The current damages is $2.5B. If the infringement was considered willful, the damages triple to $7.5B. That’s a HUGE chunk of change.

        • Superguy

          And it’s going to be appealed if Samsung loses. There’s at least 2-3 rounds of appeals before it’s over. It’s going to be years before anything changes or Apple sees a cent – if it indeed gets anything.

    • r0lct

      The design part there’s not much other than a fine. the software side is a different matter. That could require even more changes to Android and/or TW.

  • Ethan

    This is a very well thought out article. I do agree that Samsung (and likely most cell manufacturers) took ideas from Apple- they’d have to be crazy not to, considering how well the iPhone was (and is) selling. But that doesn’t give Apple a legal court case. The borrowing and using of an idea is acceptable (in some scenarios, including this) as long as it isn’t a carbon copy. If Samsung released the “iGalaxy”, that’s a different story, but simply taking a good idea and tweaking it to your framework and OS isn’t criminal or illegal, IMHO. Feel free to discuss/disagree/reply below.

    • Jeff

      Not only is it not illegal, it’s a good idea because it costs a lot less to mimic something than innovate. Welcome to Capitalism! The reason this is noteworthy at all is that the company doing the copying is actually outperforming the originator. If that wasn’t the case, then nobody would even care about this.

      As long as patents weren’t violated (which is what all these law suits and trials are designed to determine), kudos to Samsung for getting head by spending less and making more money. If they did violate patents, then the courts will rectify the situation with a slew of penalties.

    • But isn’t taking a good idea and tweaking just cutting all corners of invention and innovation?

      • Eric Franca

        Of course it’s cutting corners! That’s how most businesses get ahead in a market dominated by one innovator. Imitate and improve where possible. It’s common business practice: people love the way this thing looks, we’re going to make ours look somewhat like that so they like ours too.

        • RW-1

          There again lies the crux – unlike everyone else, Apple went to the busted patent office and decided that if anyone copied similary, they had a case of infringement.
          If we busted out software patents all together, like in Europe, then we wouldnt be discussing any of this, for Apple would not have any kind of case at all.

    • Ethan

      I think that all great ideas come from a single source. In this case, it may have been Apple. But Samsung isn’t out there selling fake iPhones- they’re their own products, with their own OS, their own community, etc. If this kind of idea-borrowing wasn’t allowed, we’d have exactly one car company, one airline, one fast food chain, etc. Innovation of ideas is great, but so is modification of an already great idea to make it even better.

  • Trevor

    Doesn’t every company do this in some way or another? You think playstation didn’t examine an xbox when it was released months before. They just weren’t idoits who made a paper trail like samsung. Doesn’t look good;… Hope this doesn’t end samsung in the phone arena

    • Jigglypuff

      You must mean Microsoft examined the Playstation? I do believe the Playstation has been around way before the XBox. Unless you mean the 360 and PS3 of course…

      • Trevor

        i meant the current stuff.

        • ERIFNOMI

          It takes years to develop a console. Sony didn’t wait for Microsoft to release a console then start developing theirs. Sony was late in part because of their poor decision to push the development of the CELL by putting it into a console. They had to do many redesigns to work around the CELL. For example, the original design was to use only a CELL for general computing as well as graphics all while being able to output to two HDTVs independently. Of course that never happened. They went to Nvidia for a GPU and it certainly can’t handle two monitors.

          The PS3 and 360 are actually two very different designs. From the CPU architecture (both PowerPC based in a sense, but similarities stop there), to RAM (shared vs independent RAM and VRAM), to the design of the case of the console, they’re very different. I’d say much more different than the PS2 vs Xbox, but the Xbox did come out some time after the PS2. That might have been a better example.

          • Trevor

            I don’t care!! I was talking about competing companies didn’t have to go into the whole story of consoles your over thinking what i said.

          • JoshGroff


            That’s pretty much the only thing that annoys me when it comes to grammar.

          • Trevor

            swype failed me.

          • JoshGroff

            That happens, lol.

          • Abhijeet Mishra

            What annoys me most is some people writing “would of” or “could of” instead of the proper “would/could have”. that just kills me every time I see someone writing it. 😛

          • JoshGroff

            That’s a close third after there, they’re, and their, but at least that I can deal with.

          • ERIFNOMI

            No, you weren’t thinking about what you said. You said playstation (Sony) examined the 360 before making the PS3 in the same way Samsung had a look at the iPhone before making the Galaxy S. These aren’t good comparisons at all. Samsung did take the iPhone’s design into consideration when making the Galaxy S, hence the similarities. Sony didn’t have time between the 360 release and the PS3 release to do this, hence the differences.

            I’m not saying YOU’RE wrong, but your comparison is not an actual representation of what happened in this case.

        • CIFchamp24

          They look nothing alike….

          • Trevor

            cool dude… bad exaple but ps3 was not going to let xbox (360) out do them.


      Bad example, but your point is right. This isn’t exclusive to phones.

      • WAldenIV

        For example, the iPad design directly copies a Samsung digital picture frame.

        • ERIFNOMI

          I don’t know if i should just accept this as a joke or explain that those products serve two different purposes. Though if it were the other way around, Apple would argue that because a tablet CAN display photos much like a digital photo frame they are, in fact, similar enough to warrant patent infringement.

  • teejaycard

    I clicked the link because I care but then I saw how long the article was and I started to care less…please don’t hate me. =-) Back to the television!

    • “If you’d have kept your mouth shut we might have thought you were clever… but you opened it and proved us all wrong.”

    • And yet you felt the need to comment…