Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Samsung's 'Beat Apple' files: Are these the smoking guns?

August 5, 2012: 6:18 AM ET

Just before their weekend break, the jury got a peek at Samsung's internal documents

Samsung internal "direction for improvement." Click to enlarge.

FORTUNE -- The tech reporters covering the big Apple v. Samsung trial last week feasted on the testimony of two senior Apple (AAPL) vice presidents and their carefully selected secrets from inside One Infinite Loop.

But it was Apple's grilling of its final witness Friday -- Samsung's chief strategy officer Justin Denison -- that most interested me.

His testimony gave the jury its first peek at the "Beat Apple" files.

Asked under oath whether Samsung tried to emulate any Apple products, Denison, according to CNET's reporting, said that was not the case.

That gave Apple's lawyers the opening they needed to start introducing a series of internal Samsung documents with titles like

"Beat Apple response"
"Lessons from Apple"
"Why you should care about Apple"
"Recent Apple analysis project"
"iPhone 5 counter strategy"

The jury was shown Samsung-created slides with side-by-side comparisons of iPhones and Samsung phones still under development with specific "directions for improvement." These often involved lifting design elements from Apple -- double tapping to zoom into a portion of the screen, say, or adding three-dimensional lighting effects on icons to give them the "luxurious feel" that the iPhone managed to achieve.

In one case, Samsung's user interface designers were advised to remove the "strong impression that iPhone's icon concept was copied."

We know from the release of court documents two weeks ago that Apple has a whole drawer full of this stuff, some of it pretty devastating.

My favorite: A survey of Best Buy customers returning the Samsung Galaxy Tab to the store. According to Samsung's own market research, the most common reason customers wanted their money back was that they bought the Tab thinking it was an iPad.

See "Root Cause" memo below. For a preview of what else is in the Beat Apple files, see Dieter Bohn's summary at The Verge.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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