Federal Judge Cuts Damage Award to Apple

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages awarded to Apple Inc. by $450.5 million for 14 Samsung products including some products in its hot-selling Galaxy lineup, saying jurors had not properly followed her instruction in calculating some of the damages.

This is significant for many reasons, one of which is Samsung had been expected to pay 1 billion dollars in damages to Apple.

Judge Koh also found errors that pertain to how and when Apple notified Samsung about allegedly violating patents with iPhone and iPad. And she ordered a new trial.

Samsung is thrilled.

No comment from the royal palace of Apple.

The more I read this article the more I liked Judge Koh. And I’m by no means an expert.

In December, Koh refused to order a sales ban on the products the jury found infringed Apple’s patents. She said Apple failed to prove the purloined technology is what drove consumers to buy a Samsung product instead of an Apple iPhone or iPad. Samsung says that it is continues to sell only three of the two dozen products found to have infringed Apple’s patents.

What drives customers to buy a Samsung product over Apple is a little more complicated than what Apple allegedly claims. I stay away from Apple products because I don’t like the general concept of control Apple has always wanted to promote and maintain with its products and how it views the Internet as a whole.

You can read more here.

What really bothers me about all this is the jury’s original verdict. Things have changed in the past ten or fifteen years. People aren’t the same as they used to be. I know people who would die for Apple and they don’t even know why. If you ask them they draw a blank…and these are people who most of the time can’t even afford an Apple product. They’re all so political, but yet when you ask them a specific political question that goes deeper than what they read on facebook or twitter they either don’t know or get the answer dead wrong. And to trust something as complicated as this to a jury that I would bet didn’t understand half of what happened during the trial truly makes me wonder about how the legal systems works.

On a much smaller scale, I’ve seen a few other cases that ended in ways no one would ever have predicted. And it’s going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

E-Book Pricing: DOJ/Publisher Settlement Approved

When I saw this tonight I wanted to post something fast.

For those who have been led to believe this is about e-books putting bookshops and print books out of business you might want to read the facts a little closer.

As I see it, this is more about collusion. Period.

A federal judge has approved the U.S. Justice Department’s settlement with a trio of electronic book publishers accused of conspiring in a price-fixing scheme orchestrated by the late Steve Jobs.

Among other things, the agreement requires the publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — to abandon the pricing system that they had conceived with Apple before it released its iPad tablet in 2010. The change is supposed to come within the next week.

You can read more here at Bloomberg Businessweek.

Apple Awarded 1.051 Billion by Jury

It seems Apple is involved in a legal battle almost everywhere I look these days. I’ve only been following this one from a distance, but I have to admit I’m a little surprised…knowing how Apple tends to do business from reading about their past records. Steve Jobs himself made comments about stealing ideas and concepts and laughed them off with a quote from someone I can’t name now. I read that in his bio and it was one of the things that stuck with me…along with how peculiar he was when it come to food, how poorly he treated people, and how he regarded his own daughter.

The jury in the landmark Apple-Samsung trial ruled mostly in favor of Apple, including awarding Apple $1,051,855,000 in damages. Samsung, on the other hand, was granted a total of $0 in damages.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the jury came down on both of the companies. Remember, there are plenty of devices at play here — on Samsung’s side alone, there’s the Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Exhibit, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, Nexus S 4G, Gem, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Replenish, Vibrant, plus every carrier’s version of the Galaxy S II.

■The jury found no infringement by Apple on any of Samsung’s utility patents.
■The jury found that Samsung infringed on patents for ’381 “bounce back” scrolling functionality on all devices.

You can read more here.

Frankly, when I read things like this it worries me about how jury members think and process information. I was stunned recently by more than a few high profile murder cases, and I can’t help wondering if jury members are different now than they were twenty or thirty years ago.

This part scares me the most, especially the part about them not coming from technical backgrounds:

The verdict came in shockingly quickly, as the jury was only in deliberation for three days. The jury worked one hour late yesterday and reached a decision at 2:35 PT today. Over 700 individual decisions had to be made by members of the jury, which does not come from particularly technical backgrounds, on their complex worksheets.

Android, Small Tablets, and Apple

Here’s an interesting article from CNET that discusses the rumor of a small tablet kind of/sort of iPad from Apple. But with android tablets working so well for so many people is it really necessary for Apple to compete in this market?

I’ve posted about how much I love my Nextbook tablet more than once. For me, the Nextbook tablet was the alternative to an iPad…because I have three dedicated e-readers, an iPhone, and three working computers. I’m not even counting Tony’s notebook, his computers, or the two laptops. We work at home; we need to have backups at all times.

So the last thing I needed was to spend over five hundred dollars on an iPad that may or may not become obsolete within the next two years. For me, tech devices aren’t a hobby and they aren’t toys. I need to think about performance as well as cost at all times. I opted for the Nextbook tablet instead, mainly because it was cheaper and because I knew it wouldn’t be around for more than two years. I simply just assume nowadays that new devices will be launched and I’ll wind up looking for the next best deal. And I’ve been more than satisfied with the performance and the speed of the Nextbook. I even love reading on it. And it’s evident I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I (and presumably millions of other people) have been using the 7-inch Kindle Fire since late last year. It’s a great deal for $199, offering the basics that satisfy a lot of non-techie consumers: a good e-mail app, fast browser, Kindle reader, good movie viewer (I quit Netflix and went with Amazon’s service). And it has a good display, to boot.

Then, of course, we have the $199 Google Nexus 7, which got an Editor’s Choice rating from CNET Reviews.

I’m curious about this one myself. At this point, I don’t need it. But if I did it would probably be in my top ten choices.

Which brings us back to Apple. It already offers the 9.7-inch $399 iPad 2. Does Apple need to go lower, smaller than that?

I will admit that if Apple did come out with something very different from smaller androids I would seriously think about buying one. Although I’ve never been a huge Apple fan because of their philosophy, I have to be honest about the fact that I do prefer the quality of my iPhone over all other devices I own. As I said, I’m happy with my Nextbook. I would do it over again to save the money. But when I switch from using my iPhone to my Nextbook it’s a lot like switching from a well made luxury car to a basic economy car. In this sense, you get what you pay for. But then again we don’t all need well made luxury cars to get from point A to point B.

Apple Wanted Readers to Pay More for E-books?

I’ve posted about the DOJ lawsuit before, and about literary agents writing letters because they feared a settlement would be “onerous” to publishing as we know it.

And now I’m linking to an article by Manufacturing.net that talks about how Apple allegedly wanted readers to pay more for e-books.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote noted in her written ruling that Jobs had made statements that agreements between the publishers and Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, Calif., would cause consumers to “pay a little more” and that prices would “be the same” at Apple and Amazon.com.

The judge noted that Jobs told the publishers that “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.”

I’m sure there’s more to come from all this. And it sounds as if Judge Cote isn’t buying any of it.

DOJ Lawsuit with Apple: The Simple Version

I wanted to post something simple about the DOJ’s lawsuit with Apple. I’ve read so much, and so many complicated articles, I thought this one seemed to nail it in a basic sense. There’s also a poll I thought was interesting, especially because I’m with the majority of other people who took the poll. The law is the law and no one is above it, not even Apple, regardless of personal opinions.

This is important because it can change things down the line. The link I found is from the LA Times. As far as explanations go, this is one of the best I’ve seen so far. You can get there from here.

Seth Godin, Censorship, Allromanceebooks.com, and Apple

(Update: I received an e-mail from Allromanceebooks.com with an explanation as to what might have happened. They were very gracious and took the time to explain everything in detail to me. Evidently, it’s something to do with the way the book was tagged. Which I understand. I will post more soon. I’ve always supported ARe for their excellent product descriptions, and it’s nice to know they care enough to get back this soon.)

Late last night I went over to Dystel & Goderich to read a few blog posts to take my mind off the fact that ARe banned one of my books for no valid reason I can see, and I found a blog post there about censorship with a link to a great article written by Seth Godin.

Although Seth Godin’s situation is quite different from mine, it’s still the same thing in a general sense. Apple is allegedly refusing to carry his book for their own reasons, which are explained in detail in his article.

In my case with “Skater Boy” it’s not only unfair because my book doesn’t fall under any of the targeted categories that are being banned, but also because it’s implying I write books with these taboo topics. In other words, I have never written about incest, bestiality, and the other taboo topics that are all being banned right now. I’ve never read them either. I don’t even read BDSM books. I respect those who do. But it’s not for me. (Not to mention the fact that ARe took down “Skater Boy” this week, and left up an anthology where the same story was published a few years earlier under the title “In This Our Day.”)

And the sheer fact that I don’t have the choice anymore bothers me intensely. As a reader, I don’t like other people making these decisions for me, nor do I like having my freedom taken away. I’m an adult and I feel capable of making adult decisions without anyone’s help.

Anyway, check out Seth’s article about his experience. It’s very interesting.

There’s been a long history of ubiquity at the bookstore. With a few extreme exceptions, just about every book is available at every bookstore if you’re willing to order it. Universal availability feels like part of the contract we make with bookstores-we expect them to sell everything. In the digital world, this goes triple, because there’s no issue of shelf space to deal with. Read more…