Apple defeat more than just a financial blow for Samsung, say analysts

As Samsung continues to lick its considerable wounds from Friday’s patent trial verdict, analysts predict the Korean firm may struggle to keep its conveyor belt of product launches running smoothly, allowing Apple to cement its industry dominance.

Apple was awarded a huge $1.05 billion (£670 million) in damages after the California jury found Samsung guilty of design infringement on a number of Apple products, but the ramifications are likely to go well beyond the financial pay-out alone. Analysts say Apple’s bid to impose a ban on Samsung products, and the need for the Koreans to steer clear of design patents held by the Cupertino firm, could hit Samsung’s future releases and strengthen Apple’s stranglehold on the industry.

"While a ban would likely increase Apple's leading smartphone share in the US market, we believe this verdict could lead to Samsung also delaying near-term product launches as it attempts to design around Apple's patents," said Canaccord Genuity analysts in a note, reports Reuters.

Other experts say Samsung has paid the price for following market trends rather than introducing them. "The verdict does not come as a surprise," William Blair & Co analysts told Reuters, adding that the win would ease Apple’s concerns about Samsung’s growing market share. “Companies such as Samsung, who we categorize as fastfollowers, have been viewed by the industry for their ability to quickly adopt the latest handset trends...rather than their ability to introduce fundamental innovation."

Mark McKechnie from Evercore Partners offers some consolation for Samsung, however. Though he believes Apple will push hard to restrict the firm’s newest line of products, he said an all-out sales ban on popular devices like the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S2 and S3 phones is unlikely.

In an interesting sub-plot, Reuters reports that the trial’s knock-on hit to Android has already benefitted rival companies. Windows Phone maker Microsoft saw a 1.2 per cent rise in its shares in premarket trading yesterday, while struggling Research in Motion were dealt a welcome slice of good news, with stocks of the BlackBerry manufacturer up seven per cent.