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Plan B: Samsung To Alter Devices After Apple Victory

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Plan B: Samsung To Alter Devices After Apple Victory

After a disheartening loss to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in a patent trial last week, Samsung faces the possibility of having many of its devices pulled from the shelves, should an embargo against them be successful. The company still hopes to get the jury’s decision in that case thrown out on appeal.

A hearing has been scheduled for the 6th of December in which attorneys for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will make the case for a complete ban on eight Samsung handsets that were affected by the verdict. Those include the Samsung Galaxy S, several models of the Samsung Galaxy S II, called the The Galaxy S Showcase, the Droid Charge, and the Galaxy Prevail.

The Korea Times reported yesterday on comments from officials at Samsung giving vague details about a partnership with US carriers to combat the ban. The official stated “Samsung has been in talks with major U.S. carriers to jointly develop modified design technology. This will be effective, though we can’t unveil more details for the time being.”

Those alterations would only need to be brought to the market if Apple’s petition for an embargo on the handsets is upheld by the court. Samsung is already trying everything it can to combat last week’s decision. It is unclear what direction the alteration to the handsets might take at this early stage, or whether its products could be kept off of the shelves for long by a court ban.

Another weapon at the Korean firm’s disposal, and one they are openly threatening to use, is the catalog of 4G LTE patents at its disposal. The Korea Times article reported confirmation from Samsung that there would be an immediate lawsuit if Apple were to release a phone utilizing the data framework.

Apple’s latest iPad, released last spring, makes use of LTE, and analysts almost universally expect the company to release the iPhone 5 equipped with the technology in the coming months. If the firm chooses not to make use of the new technology, it risks falling far behind Android models in connection and download speeds on mobile networks.

Such a rollback in relative quality could result in a backlash from consumers. It is unlikely that Apple will risk disappointing its fan base by giving credence to threats from Samsung. LTE technologies are an area in which the Cupertino firm appears weak, while more experienced handset manufacturers, such as Nokia, hold most of the cards.

A third strategy, floated by the newspaper, involved not fighting the charges or working around them. Samsung may see this as impetus to extricate it from the battle altogether. Apple’s quarrel is not really with Samsung, but with the Android operating system, a war begun by Steve Jobs during his tenure at Apple’s helm.

For the first time, there may be a real alternative, in terms of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Despite a colored history between itself and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), there is no longer the kind of animosity that once existed between the two.

By hedging its bets and dividing its products between the two operating systems, Samsung might be securing its future, with one system or the other. Those decisions will become apparent in the coming year, what is more important right now is the impending decision on the product ban.

By floating the possibility of a design change Samsung has pointed to an exploit in the enforcement of patents. The firm’s shareholders will hope that this exploit will allow the firm to continue its sales with as little interruption as possible, in the event of a court mandated ban on its devices.

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Paul Shea

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