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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Samsung’s Apple penalty: Small price to pay?

A billion dollars is a lot of money for Samsung to have to pay Apple for infringing on its patents.

It’s the largest surviving patent verdict in history, but I wonder if it will come to be seen as a relatively small price to pay for poaching from the world’s most revered gadget design shop. Even if there are additional costs beyond the $1.05 billion penalty set by jurors today.

The Samsung phones that infringed on Apple patents helped Samsung become the world’s largest phone maker in the heyday of the smartphone.

Samsung’s phone sales grew 29.5 percent from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012, when it sold 90.4 million units, according to Gartner. It sold three times more phones than Apple that quarter.

Samsung is expected to have overall sales this year of about $173 billion.

It also plans to spend about $43 billion this year on research, development and new facilities.

Plus another $1.05 billion for the research and development it “outsourced” to Cupertino. That won’t have a big effect on either company’s bottom line.

Samsung could have paid much more to license Apple’s research outright. The payout is less than half of what Apple thought its disputed intellectual property was worth.

I wonder if Samsung thinks it ended up getting a pretty good deal.

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