Apple Presents Internal Samsung Email As Evidence – Shows Sammy Willfully Copied the iPhone? Not Really…


Before I leave you guys for the night, I wanted to bring you one last piece of info from the dramatic Samsung/Apple patent trial. Critics are calling this the “nail in the coffin” for Samsung, after an internal email from a Samsung executive presented damning evidence against Samsung.

According to the memo sent to employees, Samsung’s head of mobile communications JK Shin was quoted as saying the differences in user experience from Samsung devices and Apple’s newly announced iPhone were like, “Heaven and Earth.” Something may have been lost in the translation but let’s take a look at the rest of his statement:

“Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide. Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.”

“I hear things like this: Let’s make something like the iPhone. When everybody (both consumers and the industry) talk about UX, they weigh it against the iPhone. The iPhone has become the standard. That’s how things are already.”

When it came to devices Samsung was already manufacturing,

“Do you know how difficult the Omnia is to use? When you compare the 2007 version of the iPhone with our current Omnia, can you honestly say the Omnia is better? If you compare the UX with the iPhone, it’s a difference between Heaven and Earth.”

Samsung had fought to keep this internal memo out of the trial, but lost after Sammy attorney John Quinn goofed and referenced the email  in a question to a witness. Remember, Apple’s claiming Samsung willfully stole the patented hardware and software designs of the iPhone for use in their Galaxy S. Apple also claimed consumers would mistakenly purchase the Galaxy S, thinking it was the iPhone and estimates accumulated damages upwards of $2.5 billion.

It can be argued that the email wasn’t exactly the smoking gun Apple was hoping for. Sure, Samsung acknowledged the iPhone’s existence and its critical acclaim. But never once did the email say, “We need to copy the iPhone’s look, and icons.” Samsung merely commented on what the iPhone was doing right, and that they needed to do something to imitate Apple’s success — not their patents or copyrights.

Samsung strategy head Justin Denison took the stand and attempted to downplay the language used in the email saying,

“Samsung does an excellent job of remaining very humble, self critical and maintaining a sense of urgency within its own ranks to drive hard work and innovation. We want to change so that it never rests on its laurels and becomes complacent. So you hear a lot of hyperbolic statements like ‘crisis of design’ and ‘heaven and earth.’”

When it came to claiming firsties on designs, Denison pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, Apple hasn’t always been first to market with new technologies (gasp!). According to Mr. Denison, Samsung pioneered voice recognition technology and larger smartphone displays. He argued that after 5 years of Apple’s “innovation” with the iPhone, if for some reason they finally decided to release an iPhone with a 5.3-inch display, you wouldn’t hear a peep from Samsung or their legal team. Only because this would now be considered an “industry standard” (thanks to Samsung) and it would only be a natural evolution of the smartphone. Not something anyone should lay claim to. Seems there’s only 1 company we know who plays ball like that.

[AllThingsD 1, 2]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. theres 3 noticable differences here, 1. the big white/silver samsung at the top, 2. the rectangle home button, & 3 touch menu button & back button.

    1. That’s not the point. There will always be differences but the point is if Samsung tried to copy the iPhone by making something incredibly similar.

      But going off what you said, you realize Samsung was the only Android OEM to remove the search buttons and include a huge physical home button on their devices. Everyone else had the standard 4-row capacitive Android buttons.

      Also, up until that time, Android 1.6 all the way through Gingerbread had a vertical scrolling app drawer. Samsung was the first to make scrolling horizontal…

      Why do you think Samsung did all of that?

      1. To answer your last question – that’s how Samsung felt it should be done. Samsung had lots of experience from Windows Mobile and custom skins for it. Galaxy S is more similar to Samsung F700 (pre-iphone, or the Omnia series (post-iphone) than iPhone. I think whoever thought of a green receiver to mean pick up a call should license that idea to all phone manufacturers everywhere. That must be Motorola or some other old company (not Apple).

        1. yeah color standards is silly. I think that Samsung needs to come with stock android and then let people skin their phones how they want. Kind of like people who make their Windows pc’s look like a mac through 3rd party tools. This is really the beauty of Android that makes this possible. You can’t stop people from styling their own device or shouldn’t stop them even though Apple does.

      2. All phones look similar to each other, in some respect. Should they sue one another?

        The G1 had 5 physical buttons the nexus 1 had three. The Android OS was designed to no have any design standards. And why should Apple have any claim to a single button design. That is the very height of senseless thinking.

        Samsung wasn’t the first to do Horizontal scrolling in Android. Why not just remain an iSheep and leave smart talk for the big boys.

        1. It clearly states above in the article that Samsung WAS the first to do so in android. All other android phones did vertical scrolling until Samsung did it. Yes more phones do it now but no other company started it in android.

          1. So apple owns a scrolling direction now?

          2. Please read my post again, I never said that. I didnt even mention apple. Trust me, I’m no apple fanboy. I own the Droid Razr Maxx which also does horizontal scrolling, but i was just saying Samsung was the pioneer for bring such a feature to android, probably because other companies thought they risked the chance of being sued by apple.

            Until Apple comes out with a worthy iphone, I will be a droid fan. But to be honest samsung is wrong for copying so many features from the iphone. They might as well just call it the iphone that runs android.

  2. I dont understand the imbeciles over at apple.. Do they really believe that those two devices are identical? Even if samsung were getting design cues from the iphone , they can’t sue because they don’t look exactly the same! Not a complete copy.. This company is ridiculous.. ugh. Just ugghh..

    1. The imbeciles at Apple? The only imbeciles are the people who actually believe Samsung did not copy many things Apple was doing. Every other OEM was able to distinguish their rectangular phone from the iPhone, but Samsung apparently couldn’t. They even designed their icons in the OS to mimic the iPhone icons, the Apple packaging, the chargers, and even going so far as to display Apple App Store icons in their retail locations. You and Samsung are imbeciles. Not Apple.

      1. I have no problem with accepting that Samsung took some design ques from Apple. Looking at the phones side by side though reveals plenty of distinct differences between the two. Distinct differences doesn’t mean copy. I personally don’t see someone confusing the two in the store but that could just be me.

        But let’s talk about Apple for a second the fancy new notification bar that Apple introduced in iOS 5 (could have the wrong version but you can figure it out)… you know what I think you could make the argument that Apple copied that from Google. The funny this is Google isn’t suing Apple and by implementing this in iOS Apple just made it harder technically for a user to differentiate a phone running iOS and Android

  3. The existence of the physical Home Button makes it a bit similar, because other Android phones usually do not have it.

    However only for the uninformed or those who blissfully ignore that Samsung Phones had this element before the iPhone too. It is parallel development, not copying.

    1. Don’t forget that the Samsung was the first with a custom UI that not only gave the icons square backgrounds, but made the app drawer scroll horizontally, page by page (instead of vertically continuous).

      All of these little things in of themselves aren’t much, I understand that. But when combined with each other, doesn’t exactly do much to help Samsung’s case.

      1. True

      2. And look how that became a standard with ICS and JB.. technology is always moving forward

      3. Stop being a stupid fanboy.

        1. > Moderator of Android blog
          > stupid [Apple] fanboy

          Something does not compute here.

        2. You should take your own advice, friend.

      4. Yes, there are certainly elements where it is rather likely that Samsung copied, like the icons and the sliver lining around the phone.
        But there are also quite a few things where Samsung was already doing it like this even before the iPhone, physical home button being one.

  4. I think Samsung might lose this case because of 2 reasons firstly. Judge Lucy Koh and secondly apples evidence are more appealing and true thus having a strong set of evidence the earlier post was a clear win for apple though I personally don’t like both but I kind of liked Samsung as it was android but the icons they copied. From apple was a clear sign

    1. Apple will win cause they bribed the judge to ignore any evidence samsung gives

      1. you have any proof of that? Or are you just trying to be funny? Because it isn’t funny.

        1. Stop giving Apple mouth hugs.

  5. When would Samsung point out one GLARING difference between the two phones?
    There’s a freaking Samsung LOGO plastered on it.
    Take a photo of the two phones, and put it as a ‘spot the difference’ challenge on a children’s magazine.
    If a two year old can spot it, then I don’t see Apple’s case anymore

  6. “If for some reason they finally decided to release an iPhone with a 5.3-inch display, you wouldn’t hear a peep from Samsung or their legal team.” – So true.

  7. If the judge uses an Iphone(almost a guarantee), would that make her decision biased? Lol. Food for thought

  8. Hey don’t go buy a TV anytime soon..They are all rectangle, black and most even have some buttons on the front! Imagine how pissed I was when I got home and realized I had a Zenith instead of a Sony!!

    1. You just showed the world your complete lack of brain power and critical thinking skills. Also, you aren’t funny, despite your TREMENDOUS effort to try and be so.

      1. Did you buy a Zenith and wanted a Sony also?

      2. I’m totally fine when people with other opinions (often Apple fans) want to comment on an Android fansite and present their own interpretation/opinion. But why come here just to troll and pick fights over peoples’ valid comments? It only makes you look childish. If you have a point to make, then make it. Otherwise, kindly shut up.

        1. Apple is obviously paying them to. No other motive would make an apple fanboy come to a phandroid site.

          1. I’m not going to lie, I enjoy reading Apple blogs to see what their perspective on some things are. But at least I’m not a douche and troll their comments.

  9. remember when apple tried to sue amazon for using the word “app” in their appstore.. I mean really? The average idiot could tell these phones apart. Apple can’t patent every stupid little thing they do for their phones.. After all this legal bs how dare someone call apple innovative. They create and warp technology in their image that works with their stuff.. whereas a company like sony creates bluetooth and shares with everyone..

  10. I usually can’t agree with Apple on these lawsuits but Samsung really did copy iOS with touchwiz in the Galaxy S. Icon backgrounds, a dock in the app drawer there’s no denying where they got those ideas from. But Apple can’t seriously think people would confuse the two there’s a huge Samsung logo on one!

    1. ” there’s no denying where they got those ideas from.”

      Windows 3.1

      1. Come on man be honest Samsung took stock android and made it look like iOS. I’m not saying Apple invented anything (they didn’t) but it’s pretty obvious where Samsung took their design cues from.

        1. And web browser’s have an address bar and they all have tabs. They also have favorites, stop, refresh, back, forward. The point is that certain elements become industry standard and everyone but Apple seems to get this. Maybe they do get this but the concern is they don’t and if they win against Samsung they go after everything Android when there are significant differences between the platforms and having both is a win for consumers.

          1. I completely agree with you. Some of the patents Apple have been using against android manufacturers like slide to unlock should never have been granted. What I am saying is that Samsung took stock android and basically made it look like iOS down to the layout of UI elements. Look at Chrome, IE & firefox they all have the same things you mentioned but each is uniquely identifiable.
            This is the only part of the case I side with Apple and I don’t think they would succeed if they sued other companies for copying their design. Samsung invited this trouble upon themselves.

  11. I can’t help wonder how so many clearly visually impaired people are able to read and contribute here. Its amazing.

    1. To an Apple fanboy design is everything. To most Android users functionality is everything. How something looks is not. So you shouldn’t be so amazed. I bet you drive a red Mercedes but never call it red but call it by the name of that Mercedes gives it.

  12. Why is it that anytime there is a comparison between iphone and a galaxy phone it’s always apple’s home screen with the galaxy’s app drawer. I have yet to go into one store and see the phone on the app draw rather than the home screen.

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