The number one reason Apple is the world’s most valuable company is the phenomenal success of the iPhone.The iPhone defined the modern smartphone and redefined Apple as a mobile computing company. It accounts for 46% of Apple’s revenue and an estimated 66% of its profits.
The more successful the iPhone is, the more successful Apple is.
It causes a “halo effect,” getting people to buy more and more Apple stuff. Why would anyone buy an Android tablet if you own an iPhone? Thinking about buying a new laptop? Why not try out a Mac?
Therefore anything that undermines the success of the iPhone, undermines the success of Apple.
So, when Samsung started building phones that looked exactly like iPhones and supplying them to carriers where the iPhone wasn’t available, Steve Jobs and Apple took notice. While Jobs liked to say Samsung, and Google, stole the look and feel of the iPhone, there’s more to it than just stealing design.
These companies were trying to steal Apple’s oxygen. They are trying to kill Apple. Jobs even said so, telling employees Google wanted to kill the iPhone.
That’s business! Samsung and Google should do be doing everything in their power to unseat the world’s leading company.
Likewise, Apple should be doing everything it can to fight back against Samsung and Google.
The first, most obvious way to fight back to produce products that are better. Apple has consistently produced great software and great hardware.
The second option for fighting Samsung and Google is to go to the courts. And pretty much from day one Apple has been willing to do this. It is suing Samsung all around the world.
And the person leading this charge is Noreen Krall, who got a nice profile at Bloomberg.
Krall’s job is to understand the ins and outs of patent law all around the world. John Thorne, who used to run the intellectual property group at Verizon tells Bloomberg, “There is no historical precedent for what Noreen Krall is doing.” She has to figure out which lawyers to hire and how to deploy the company’s resources.
Krall’s was trained as an electrical engineer, so she knows how to get the geeks that grok technical details about how smartphones work to explain themselves in plain language.
Greg Papadopoulos, a former colleague at Sun says, “I call her Legal 2.0 for her ability to take legal strategy to another level … In many cases, the legal counsel is looking at a case purely through legal reasoning. You can’t do that. You have to understand the technology. She knows how to find the right people and she knows how to think about it.”
So far, Krall’s results have been a mixed bag. Yes, Apple won its lawsuit against Samsung in the U.S. But, it lost a lawsuit in Tokyo and in the U.K. She failed to beat Motorola in the U.S. and South Korea saw a split decision for Apple and Samsung. Further, Samsung’s sales have continued to grow, despite Apple’s legal assault.
The good news for her is that she’s just one part of Apple’s defence against Google and Samsung. If her legal war with Samsung falls short, the product people at Apple are still working on ways to beat Samsung with better products. If they do their job well, and patent it, she could be in court for a while.
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