Fast Company

Samsung's iPad Cloning Ways

As 2011 winds to a close and 2012 begins, we do a little bit of Fast Company drumbeating. We predict a lot of stuff around here. Sometimes we're wrong. But we also nailed a few things this year. Back in March we clocked that Samsung's new Galaxy tablet was just a leetle too Apple-like...

In March we wrote "Samsung's Anti-iPad 2 Policy: Clone the Heck Out Of It" just as soon as Samsung revealed specifications for its updated Galaxy Tab Android-powered tablet lineup: "In terms of specs, they're pretty much clones of Apple's offering" was our spiky suggestion. We argued you could say it was good for consumers, as the newer Tabs were among the first aggressively priced (i.e. equaling the iPad!) high-spec Android tablets. But we noted the wholesale tablet cloning meant "In other words, Samsung has thrown in the towel on innovative tablet design, and has realized it has to match Apple's successful design and pricing recipe (to the extent it's even tweaked its design plans) to capture any meaningful market share." This after Samsung adjusted its Galaxy Tab 10.1 design to be thinner, after Apple wowed everyone with its super-skinny iPad 2 reveal.

We could have gone further. Apple agreed with the cloning allegation, and took Samsung to court not only about the Tab but the Galaxy smartphones too, in the U.S. and all over the world. Apple, to reinforce its position (and because it has really expensive lawyers), pressed the courts with accusations that Samsung "slavishly" copied not only the look and feel of its iDevices, but also replicated their trademark packaging and even their adverts.

The court battles have raged all year, and there have been victories on the Samsung side--but on the whole, Apple's seemingly on top, and several courts agree that Samsung's a copycat. Even where Samsung wins small victories, Apple's ready with deeper claims of cloning, this week alleging Samsung even copied iDevice case designs.

Will it continue in 2012? Apple's about to reset the bar with the iPad 3...

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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