Apple Had to Sue Samsung

When Oprah Winfrey was being sued by Texas cattlemen, she confided in Dr. Phil (whose legal consulting firm she had hired) that she might settle. His response:

“I said, I think you want to fight it to the bitter end,” said McGraw. “And when you do, I think the line at the sue window, the sue Oprah window, is going to get a lot shorter.”

Apple had/has to sue Samsung so the line at the “Copy Apple Window” would get a lot shorter.

I have been closely following Apple, and the personal computer industry, since 1993. Since the beginning, I have been dismayed by how much, and how brazenly, the entire industry copies Apple. From ideas to icons, from colors to keyboards, from products to presentation.

I kept waiting for Apple to fight it, wholesale. But they didn’t. At least directly. Since 2000, Apple fought the gross copying by not bothering with it and innovating and staying continually ahead. It was impressive (to say the least), but the copying just got worse.

If you have been following the Apple vs Samsung case, you know from internal Samsung documents that the copying was deep and intentional and complete.

Apple had to sue Samsung.

One more thing:

Enough with the “Competition is good” argument.

Competition and theft are different.

Just to be clear: they are not the same. There is no artist who is pleased when someone steals their work, when someone plagiarizes. Cars that look too much like other cars are not cool. They are embarrassing.

If you have ever been robbed, then you know the feeling. If you have been robbed, you do not thank the thieves.

When I was first married, my wife and I lived in apartments. One night, someone broke into my car (smashed a window) and stole all my tools (which were under some clothes). At no point did it cross my mind: “Hey, they stole my tools, that just means I have more mechanics to compete against. This is a huge win for people needing mechanics.”

Competition is good. It sharpens the competitors. It gives the customer/consumer choices.

Theft does none of those things.

It is one thing to play football against another team. It is another thing to steal their uniforms and plays. One is competition. One is theft.

It seems silly to have to explain this. But people have gotten swept up (as people are wont to do) in “It ain’t theft. It’s competition” nonsense.

There is a difference. And everyone knows it.



  1. Very well said and, by the way, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery… it is stealing. I’m sorry you went through that theft of your tools, I know how carefully you must have chosen each one. I’m glad Apple is taking action!

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