Apple Wins, Samsung Benefits, Canonical May Lose Bet

Carl Weinschenk
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One critique of journalism that I offer is that topics are covered when they make dramatic news but ignored when more subtle things occur. Indeed, it makes sense to look back on the progress of recently covered topics. More specifically, it is a good idea to follow up on an important step in the Apple/Samsung patent fight and the Ubuntu Edge.

A Win for Apple Benefits Samsung

I recently covered the news about a patent battle between Samsung and Apple that threatened sales of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. The fight focused on how the devices receive and transmit signals. The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled for Samsung, and a ban against importing the devices and most sales was to take effect yesterday.

Reports I read on the topic said that the only way to stop the ban from taking effect were stays from President Obama or U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Commentary suggesting that this stay was unlikely to be granted proved inaccurate. According to his letter explaining the action, Froman blocked implementation of the decision due to feared impact on competition. US News & World Report states that the administration was reluctant to provide patent holders with what in some cases would be “undue leverage,” according to a quote from a letter explaining the decision.

Though it lost this case, Samsung may end up benefiting, according to commentary from Bloomberg Businessweek’s Susan Decker. Put simply, the logic that Froman used in this case favors Apple—but plays to Samsung’s advantage in others:

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman’s Aug. 3 decision on Apple found that a product ban wasn’t appropriate because the patent at the heart of the dispute was part of an industry standard and was supposed to be licensed at reasonable terms. Froman’s conclusion is expected to affect several pending cases at the U.S. International Trade Commission, including Ericsson AB and InterDigital Inc. (IDCC:US)’s claims against Samsung for infringing patented network standards technology.

Betting on the Ubuntu Edge

A second story that deserves follow up is the introduction of the Ubuntu Edge by Canonical. The device combines true desktop and mobile device functionality by running both Android and Ubuntu operating systems. ZDNet’s Jason Perlow and Matt Baxter-Reynolds provided a back-and-forth on the efficacy of this approach.

The other interesting thing about the Edge is that Canonical aims to crowdsource the project on Indiegogo. Indiegogo participants set goals and make a choice. One option would be to raise the full projected amount or, if they fall short, get nothing. A second option allows participants to keep whatever portion is raised even if it falls short of the goal. The attraction of the winner-take-all approach is that the percentage slice taken by Indiegogo is less.

The follow up to my previous post is that Ubuntu Edge chose the all-or-nothing route and may have made a mistake. The campaign, which began on July 22 and ends on August 21, has a goal of $32 million. As of the morning of August 6, about $8.3 million had been raised. Thus, at roughly the halfway point in the campaign, only a bit more than one-quarter of the funds have been raised. It is fair to point out, however, that funding tends to pick up in the final days of a campaign.

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