Jury foreman in Samsung case questions how Google affects Apple’s motivation

Tom Dunham was the jury foreman in the case.

Mr. Dunham said the jury was curious about how Google affected Apple’s motivation in this case. Samsung’s smartphones and tablets use Google’s Android operating system. Apple hasn’t sued Google directly, but has sued Samsung and other device makers that use Android.

“If you really feel that Google is the cause behind this, as I think everybody has observed, then don’t beat around the bush,” said Mr. Dunham, whose job at IBM was to oversee developers expected to file patents. “Let the courts decide. But a more direct approach may be something to think about.”

His comments suggest that Samsung lawyers succeeded with arguments that Samsung was merely a proxy for Apple’s real target: Google and its Android operating system. Apple’s lawyers insisted that Samsung—and not Google—was the defendant in this case.

To support its point, Samsung presented evidence of an email sent by former Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs saying that Apple should wage a “holy war” on Google.

Straight from the horse’s mouth. I don’t pretend to understand all the complexities of this case, but didn’t this start out to be about wholesale copying of a groundbreaking user interface?

  • Kip Beatty

    Google isn’t selling anything. They gave software to companies like Samsung who then, more or less, cloned the iPhone and made billions. Samsung was also the most egregious in its cloning efforts.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    Google didn’t design a phone and UI to look exactly like Apples! Samsung did!!

  • famousringo

    Yeah, then Apple could demand a share of Android’s profits.

    Oh, look. There aren’t any.

  • JohnDoey

    This is classic Computer Nerd Blindness. The jury foreman knows that there is such a thing as software and such a thing as hardware, and so he is assigning liability for the software to Google and the hardware to Samsung. That is not how the law works. Samsung shipped a combination hardware+software product with features that infringe on Apple’s patents on their combination hardware+software product. Samsung made a lot of money by simply copying Apple instead of doing their own work. The software on a Samsung phone may include elements of Google Android open source software project, and it may include the Google Play closed source software, but it also includes Samsung software, and Samsung took on the liability for all of the software.

    The really pernicious thing here is that this jury foreman considers that Google’s authorship of some of the software on a Samsung phone effectively launders that software for Samsung. In his mind, the software can be stolen from Apple and sold by the hundreds of millions by Samsung and Samsung has no liability. That attitude means that all a hardware maker needs is a 3rd party to launder their stolen software. It means that inventions that take place in software have no value.

    And Google does not just make Android. Google also sells combination hardware+software phones, but they only sell about 0.01% of the number of phones as Samsung, and Google’s phones were/are not the blatant copies that the Samsung phones were. Google is well down Apple’s list.

    Understand that when Google saw the first Samsung Galaxy phone in 2010, Google (the copyist, the cloner) told Samsung “you need to make the Galaxy look less like a copy of the iPhone — it is too blatant, Apple is going to sue you,” and Samsung didn’t listen because that is exactly what Samsung was trying to do, and they knew they would suffer very little financial penalty because they know how to drag the court case out, they know how to pay giant marketing fees to tech blogs and news media to propagandize that it was really Samsung that invented the iPhone, that Apple is being unreasonable, and doesn’t software want to be free anyway and so on. The fines Samsung has to pay are probably less than 1% of the money they made on infringing phones. That is much cheaper research and development than paying a bunch of designers and engineers to come up with original work and then marketing that work and making it popular. So much easier to pay 1% in fines and get all Apple’s work for free.

    Ultimately, the best way for Apple to hurt Samsung is to replace them as a supplier and foundry, which Apple has been gradually doing. Samsung’s phone profits are going down now (their high-end users are switching to Apple and their low-end users — which make up about 80% of their users — are switching to the cheaper generic Chinese brands) so they are going to need their parts and foundry business more and more, even as Apple is moving away from it more and more. The A8 may even be manufactured by Intel, according to some rumors.

    The only thing that Samsung did not count on is that iPhone/iPad are real PC-class computing devices — they are not “phones,” they are just marketed as phones — and Samsung (and Google) do not have PC-class software (OS and apps) to compete long-term with iPhone/iPad. That is why people don’t switch from iPhone/iPad to Samsung, they only go the other way. iPhone/iPad replace hours of Windows PC’s and Mac use. Ultimately, Samsung’s copying play may not work in this case. Notice that Android boosters promote the idea that Android is like Windows in 1995, but Android turned out to be like Windows today, without the Microsoft profits for Google — Android 2014 is Windows 2014, it is no surprise.

    • collider

      Wow, that is a fantastic summation, @JohnDoey:disqus.

  • Yep, take the fight to the one you’re really mad at.

    As to why it started, no. Jobs didn’t wage war on phone manufacturers. They deal with copy cats all the time [look at MacBook clones, etc they never sue]. This was about Android, plain and simple, but they, rightfully so, added other areas of “infringement” after Samsung wouldn’t acquiesce and pay licensing fees.

    • lucascott

      The catch is that Google allows the OEMs to tweak, add etc. So one would have to do a thorough breakdown of basic Android to say if the issues are there or in the additions Samsung made certainly if it was in the basic version you would think Samsung would have filed that defense from day one

      • Agreed but many of the claims were against native Android features.

        Sammy had plenty of other stuff to target but Apple’s fight was with Android, clearly.

    • Sure tje MacBook Air and MacBook Pro form factors and aesthetics have set the bar, but their case would be thin at best (see what I did there).

      A laptop is a laptop is a laptop. Apple would have to sue over the use of a black inset keyboard, gigantic multi-touch trackpad with integrated buttons, aluminum bodies, and a form factor that could easily be argued was just the natural progression of laptops.

      The majority of Apple’s business is the iPhone, so I am sure they would prefer to focus on protecting that product line.

      • Nice on ‘thin’. 😀

        Trade dress. That’s the argument here. A phone is a phone but when the phone is made to look like an iPhone…OMG. Apply the same to HP with their MBP clones.

        I do agree they were protecting their nest egg too. I think they saw the writing on the wall about competing with lower tier devices and wanted to protect that by sending a message, as Gruber states.

  • lucascott

    A jury foreman rally should not be volunteering opinions about a case he served on. Not even sure if his action was legal.