In Friday's title fight between the two smartphone heavyweights, the bout most certainly went to Apple. Courts in South Korea and the United States, finalized their rulings on one of the most siginificant patent infringement cases to date and while both sides were found in violation of the law in South Korea, Apple was handed a decisive victory in the U.S. Samsung was forced to pay $1.05 billion for patent infringement on several features of Apple's mobile hardware and software designs, a serious blow to the worlds largest smartphone manufacturer. While Samsung's loss is surely Apple's gain, the biggest winner out of this is actually Microsoft, whose Windows Phone operating system and Nokia built smartphones don't look or feel anything like an iPhone. Because Samsung will have to redesign its products in compliance with the lawsuit, Microsoft has yet another window to bring Windows Phone into the foreground of the smartphone conversation.
Based on reporting from the Associated Press and the New York Times, there were two court rulings on the patent infringement claims between Apple and Samsung. The first was from courts in Seoul, South Korea who ruled that each company had infringed on some of the other's technologies. All told Samsung lost the right to sell only one product, its Galaxy S II smartphone, while Apple lost the rights to sell the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1st Generation, and the iPad 2. On face Apple seems to take the bigger loss, but the bans only apply in South Korea, Samsung's home court and a relatively small market as far as Apple is concerned.
The more important case was in the United States and Samsung lost on nearly every count. Internal strategy documents indicated that Samsung did in fact glean ideas from the design of Apple's mobile operating system iOS, the iPhone and the iPad hurt Samsung's counterclaims on infringement from Apple. The jury found that Samsung had infringed on several features of Apple's iOS like that "pinch and zoom" gesture or the "bounce back" when reaching the end of a menu and even the overall design of the iPhone itself. The Korean smartphone giant was assesed a $1.05 billion dollar penalty for its violations, a small sum for Samsung, but certainly a symbolic win for Apple over Google's Android OS.
Microsoft comes out ahead primarily because Windows Phone is markedly different than Android or iOS. In the Apple/Samsung case, Samsung was found in violation because its lines of smartphones and tablets were too similar in design and function to Apple's, a legal precedent that provides Windows Phone with a fair amount of breathing room.