Despite securing a huge victory in its patent fight against Samsung just last week, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be tempted to start the entire process over again, this time with action against AT&T Inc (NYSE:T).
The United States’ second largest mobile service provider will open a new retail outfit tomorrow in Chicago, along that city’s Magnificent Mile. Without a doubt the 10,000 square foot operation will owe a great deal to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in its design and the philosophy informing the staff.
A press release from the carrier details the layout of the store. It will contain an App Bar, a Street Smart area demonstrating the firm’s partnership with the Nissan Leaf, and sections demonstrating AT&T’s devices in their functions as entertainment, security, and household control devices. A video of the store is below.
This is, of course, not really grounds for a lawsuit, and it seems unlikely that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would attempt to pursue such action with a partner like AT&T Inc (NYSE:T). It is, in fact, more surprising that, given Apple’s success in the last five years, more firms have not taken to copying the iconic retail operation that forms a front for it.
AT&T is not the first to do so. Samsung has, for some years, been operating retail stores that appear modeled on Apple’s. Many larger operations, while not able to completely transform, have managed to make some of Apple’s minimalist design cues their own, and get involved in the kind of customer service that has brought Apple to the top.
This week a jury agreed with the Apple legal team, and protected its patents from what the court now sees as infringement by Samsung. If this ruling holds up, it is likely similar cases against other handset manufactures will be taken by Cupertino’s legal department.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been shown able to protect its product. The same will probably not be true of its retail operation. Quality products are only one of the pillars that has led to the company becoming one of the most successful of all time. Quality of service, and sales in its retail outlets form a second.
Apple’s sales strategy is clearly not immune to copying by other major retail outfits and mobile device sellers. If any of those seeking to emulate the philosophy see the kind of bump in their sales that Apple has, it may lead to more and more stores aligning with the fundamentals of Apple’s designs.
This would surely lead to a watering down of the company’s brand in the United States and across the world, forcing the company to search for new and innovative ways to sell their products. If there is one thing Apple is good at, it is setting itself and its products apart from the crowd.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s success has turned the crowd’s heads, and now they are following the company in a pack. More dramatic twists and turns certainly lie ahead at the company, but retail, an area usually slow to change, due to limits of time and capital, might form the field of a decisive and continuous battle.