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Will Microsoft be the ultimate winner in the Apple, Samsung verdict?

Much of the press and blog coverage following Apple‘s billion dollar judgement against Samsung has focused on what it means for Google and Microsoft. The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang in her post titled Apple’s patent victory spells changes in smartphones for consumers sums it up like this

Apple’s big court victory against Samsung on Friday is expected to trickle down to consumers, affecting the creation of future mobile technology and potentially raising prices for devices, analysts and patent experts say.

A jury’s decision to award Apple $1.05 billion after finding Samsung violated six patents will make rivals think twice about smartphones and tablets that too closely resemble Apple products.

Preston Grella at Computerworld in his post The big winner in Apple’s patent victory over Samsung — Microsoft says

Microsoft may be just as pleased as Apple with Apple’s $1 billion victory over Samsung for violating Apple patents. The core of the verdict could apply to virtually all Android devices, while leaving Windows Phone free and clear. It could well ultimately lead to big market gains for Microsoft.

One of Apple’s patents the jury ruled that Samsung violated was the arrangement of icons on the home screen. The Samsung arrangement is no different than the arrangement of other Android devices, so don’t be surprised if Apple goes after their manufacturers as well, and ultimately after Google. That’s because the icon arrangement is baked right into the Android interface.

The Windows Phone screen arrangement looks nothing like iOS or Android. It features very large “live” tiles that display ever-changing information grabbed from the Internet. So Apple can’t come after Microsoft for that.

Other patents that were infringed include certain scrolling, pinching and zooming actions, the tap-to-zoom and center features, and the bounce-back effect when you try to scroll past the end of a list.

Windows Phone uses some of those. So you might imagine that Apple would go after Microsoft for infringing on those patents. But Apple won’t. That’s because Microsoft has licensed a variety of iOS-related patents from Apple. As long as Microsoft doesn’t “clone” the iPad or iPhone, Windows Phone as well as Windows 8 tablets are free and clear. Clearly, Microsoft hasn’t done any cloning in Apple’s eyes, or Apple would have gone after Microsoft already.

Over at ZDNet Matthew Miller asks Will Nokia and Microsoft be the winners after Apple – Samsung verdict? Noting that

Microsoft’s Windows Phone looks nothing at all like iOS and this might finally be the way Microsoft gains some awareness for their mobile platform. Timing is actually great for Microsoft too with Windows Phone 8 announcements coming in just a week and a half in New York.

BusinessWeek’s post Possible Samsung Ban May Boost Nokia, Microsoft notes that

Some Android- equipment makers may turn to platforms such as Microsoft’s Windows 8 to avoid a similar trip to court, said Carolina Milanesi of the research firm Gartner Inc. (IT)

“I am sure that vendors in the Android ecosystem are wondering how long it will be before they become Apple’s target,” Milanesi said in an interview. “This might sway some vendors to look at Windows Phone 8 as an alternative, and for the ones like HTC Corp. and even Samsung, who have already announced plans to bring to market a WP8 device, how much stronger their investment should be.”

The consensus seems to be that the verdict may provide a boost to the Windows Phone eco-system and at the very least drive increased awareness.  The remaining question will be if consumers finally jump on board and give the Windows Phone platform a chance.  What do you think?

 

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