Samsung’s Defeat to Apple May Be a Good Thing for NFC
Recently Apple has won a lawsuit against Samsung, which led to a potential import ban placed on Samsung. Yet it may be a good thing for mobile payments and NFC. Here are the reasons why:
First, the phones on the ban list are going or have been out of date. Although some are still on sale in carrier stores, very few of them are enabled with NFC. Fortunately, Samsung’s latest and greatest phones, such as the Galaxy S III, are not listed.
Second, Samsung has a big market share in the US. In this case, many carriers will have to clear their shelves of the phones listed in the ban. Customers may have fewer Samsung choices, but at the same time they are more inclined to buy the newer models, such as the upcoming NFC-enabled Galaxy Relay. Let’s think of it in another way: right now you have about 10 phone choices, 2 of which have NFC, so the probability of buying an NFC-equipped phone is 1/5; now Apple forces carriers to remove 4 of those 10 phones, which luckily to have no NFC, so now the probability rises to 1/3.
Yes, Samsung is being ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages to Apple, but they could reduce the amount they have to pay by setting up a buy-back or replacement program for their phones that are listed in the judgment against them. Although they may have to suffer some losses, if they replace the phones, they can get around issues caused by a patent suit.
Besides, this case may be in appeals for many years, so Samsung will more likely pay a great deal less than what was ordered — or possibly nothing.
Even though the judge may still ban the import of some phones into the U.S., the Galaxy S III will not be banned. Samsung is now offering its Galaxy S III through all the top carriers, and even through mobile virtual network operators like Virgin and MetroPCS. Samsung wants to get as many Galaxy S III phones on the market as they can, and into the hands of as many users as possible. At the end of the day, every single Galaxy S III sold creates another consumer with NFC mobile payment capabilities.
As a saying goes “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, it may also possible to see Google partner with Samsung. Apple has got a lot of enemies, so don’t be surprised if global giants like Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, and others jump in with negative image campaigns against Apple. That would benefit Samsung in turn.
So it’s possible that Samsung may laugh last. Samsung may already lose $1 billion from the lawsuit. If they must take that hit and lose that cash, why let it end up in Apple’s pockets if they don’t have to?