Electronics giant in talks with US mobile carriers to get away from patent claims
Samsung Electronics chairman
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics is moving to fight back against Apple by strengthening its partnerships with American mobile carriers to develop new technologies to get away from the U.S. firm’s claims on design.
The world’s biggest smartphone maker is in talks with major telecom carriers on Apple’s home-turf such as Verizon Wireless about modified designs in Samsung Galaxy devices. It is also closely partnering with Microsoft (MS) to cut its dependency on Google Android, according to officials Wednesday.
“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,” said an official from the company’s telecommunications division.
On the legal front, its lawyers are making preparations to counter nearly every patent issue which nine jurors found in favor of Apple.
Officials said Samsung has been preparing “all measures for all scenarios” to fight Apple in 50 patent disputes in 10 different countries.
Earlier, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee granted full authority to Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung to take charge of one of the biggest technology patent disputes in history.
“Be well prepared to cope with it,” Lee was quoted as saying in a media briefing by the chief communications executive Rhee In-yong at Samsung headquarters in downtown Seoul.
Lee was briefed about the details of the verdict by Choi, Tuesday. “The chairman calmed down and slightly closed his eyes after he was briefed. But he didn’t say anything further,” another executive said. Choi, who is also the head of Samsung’s strategic planning office, wasn’t available for comment.
“Samsung was defeated in California, however, the fight isn’t over yet. The company briefly suffered from a 7.5 percent plunge in its stocks after the verdict, but the company has the capability to recover from a one-off injury. What really matters is the leadership of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee is being put on the test as Samsung is in crisis, at least for the time being,” said Kim Sang-jo, a professor of economics at Hansung University.
A day after Apple said it was going to seek a complete sales ban in the United States for eight Samsung devices, the Korean tech giant shot back with a short statement; “We will take all necessary measures to ensure the availability of our products on the U.S. market.”
On Dec. 6, the judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the four-week trial, will hold an injunction hearing to determine which, if any, of the products should be banned from U.S. store shelves.
Samsung confirmed that it will immediately sue Apple if the latter releases products using advanced long-term evolution (LTE) mobile technology. LTE has been emerging as the top standard in the global mobile industry.
According to data from Thomson-Reuters, Nokia ranked top with 18.9 percent in terms of the number of LTE patents, followed by Qualcomm with 12.5 percent, Samsung Electronics with 12.2 percent and Ericsson with 11.6 percent.
At the IFA technology exhibition, which will run through from the end of August to early next month, Samsung will unveil a new device that uses MS software, according to officials.
The ATIV Tab is the first tablet PC to run on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Lee Seung-yeon, the spokeswoman for MS Korea, declined to confirm this.
Samsung has been the undisputed flagship carrier of Google’s Android mobile operating system. But the court defeat by Apple was an alarming development for Google, which sees Apple widening its battle front against Android makers. Google apparently doesn’t want the Samsung setback to drag the whole fleet down and is now distancing itself from its most critical business partner.
“The court of appeals will review both the infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system and several are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent Office,” Google said in a recent statement.