Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple v. Samsung: What the analysts are saying

August 27, 2012: 6:21 AM ET

Their assessment of the impact of the lopsided verdict ranges from $0 to $3.15 billion

FORTUNE -- Because the jury didn't deliver its verdict in the big Apple v. Samsung patent infringement suit until after the markets closed Friday -- and because Wall Street tends to take the weekend off, especially in the summer -- we had to wait a couple days to hear from most of the Apple (AAPL) analysts. But now their reactions to the verdict have started to pour in, and they're all over the lot.

Meanwhile in Seoul, Samsung's shares took their biggest one-day hit in four years, falling roughly 7.5% on the Korean stock exchange. In New York, Apple opened at $679.99, up $16.77 (2.5%) from Friday's close.

Excerpts from the analysts' notes below (newest items on top):

BMO's Keith Bachmann: Battle Royal. "Our View:

  • The $1 billion in awards would add approximately 1% to Apple's cash balance.
  • If Apple is able to obtain injunction so that Samsung is not able to sell devices in the US, Apple could see some share shift. Each point of share in the US smartphone market is about 1 million units annually, and each million units would add about $600 million in revenues, $300 million in gross profit dollars, and $0.30 in EPS. Not all Samsung devices will be impacted, and some of the most recent devices likely will not be impacted. Hence, actual share impact is difficult to judge.
  • We think Samsung will appeal the ruling, so we don't think the final chapter has been written.
  • We think it will be harder for Apple to win a similar ruling in international markets, though similar cases are pending in Europe and other regions. We note that a South Korean court had a different ruling, which determined that Samsung did not copy the design of Apple's iPhone and that Apple infringed on Samsung's wireless technology.
  • We think it will be important for Apple not to appear to be a bully to consumers. We would not be surprised to see the press take the view that the verdict lessons competition, and that Apple will need to promote the view that Apple was just protecting its innovation and IP."

Wedbush's Scott Sutherland: Battle Far From Over. "Payment of $1.05-3.15 billion not overly material to Apple, but a ban on certain Samsung products would be. Apple indicated it would file for a sales injunction against Samsung in seven days with a hearing likely planned on September 20th. Given Samsung has by far been Apple's strongest competitor in the smartphone market; we believe a sales injunction would be a meaningful positive for Apple. Furthermore, this would be a blow to Google's Android ecosystem, which has been the biggest competitor to Apple's iOS operating system."

Jefferies' Peter Misek: Key Takeaway. "We believe this is a huge victory for Apple... Minimum damages are set at $1.05B; however, we believe the actual award will be larger. Additionally, we expect there is a two-thirds chance of an injunction against Samsung products. Apple was asked to submit a list of Samsung products that they wanted covered under an injunction. While there is going to almost certainly be an appeal by Samsung, we believe the evidence and weight of the case are heavily in Apple's favor."

Barclays' Ben Reitzes: An Important Symbolic Victory. "While we realize the verdict will be appealed, we believe the ruling marks an important victory for Apple against Android. Competitors may now think twice about how they compete in smart mobility devices with the industry's clear innovator. If Apple forces competitors to innovate more, it could take longer for competitive products to come to market, and make it more expensive to develop them. As a result, Apple's pricing umbrella could be sustained longer while it should also sell more units over time. While unquantifiable, we estimate the verdict is then worth much more than $1.05 billion – and the iPad/iPhone business is worth more over time."

Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi: Apple, Google: Has Friday's Samsung Ruling Fundamentally Changed the Game? 

  • "We believe that Apple is in a platform war with Google and Amazon, and this verdict is a major victory for Apple vis a vis the Android ecosystem (OEMs + Google). We believe this is unambiguously negative for Google and the Android ecosystem as it provides further evidence that Android as well as design choices made by its OEM-users infringe on a number of 3rd party patents, including Apple's. The verdict could also be marginally beneficial to Microsoft, given that carriers and handset OEMs might look to incrementally support diversification (away from Android as an alternative to Apple) in their portfolios going forward.
  • "That said, we don't think it is a game-changing loss for Android. Given the rapid pace of innovation, relatively short product cycles, and global nature of the smartphone market, we think it is very unlikely that Apple, Microsoft or any third parties could strike a mortal blow to Android through litigation. Friday's verdict could be followed by a larger fine, and/or an injunction limiting the sales of Samsung products in the US (primarily the S2 handset and Tablet 10.1), but it is unlikely to have any immediate, direct effect on the sales of Samsung's latest and most important handset product, the S3, or on handsets or tablets from other manufacturers."

William Blair's Anil Doradla: Verdict Has Far-Reaching Implication Across Handset Industry. "For those who have been following the handset industry for some time, the verdict does not come as a surprise. Companies such as Samsung, who we categorize as fast- followers, have been viewed by the industry for their ability to quickly adopt the latest handset trends into their massive production supply chain rather than their ability to introduce fundamental innovation. From Apple's perspective, Samsung's market size position and its leadership in the handset world was something the company could no longer overlook, and viewing this as another 'imitation is a form of flattery' was not possible."

Wells Fargo's Maynard Um: AAPL Wins in Patent War. "In our opinion, the court system has been a key lever in a company's ability to gain a more favorable position over a competitor in negotiations (i.e., for patent royalties). We believe this is a strong first step for Apple in its patent war and believe Apple is likely to file for an injunction to stop Samsung from selling its infringing products in the US. However, regardless of whether an injunction is granted, we expect Samsung to appeal the decision and ask for a stay of an injunction, if one is granted. If Apple is successful to conclusion, we believe it could result in a significant royalty stream, all else equal in Samsung's share. US District Court Judge Lucy Koh can also award Apple treble (triple) damages for willful infringement." Raises valuation range to $740-$760 (from $640-$660).

Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig: Positive for investor sentiment. "We see limited near term impact on our iPhone unit forecast of 132/171mn and iPad unit forecast of 68/86mn in C2012/2013, as (1) Samsung's latest flagship product, Galaxy S III, is not subject to the case and (2) Samsung's tablets have limited market presence. Longer term, we expect many changes to user interface design in Android OS (e.g. tap to zoom, multi-touch scrolling, etc.) and hardware designs. It's also possible that Google could become more active in protecting its Android alliance partners with newly acquired IPs from Motorola Mobility." Raises price objective to $770 from $720.

Goldman Sachs' Bill Shope: Implications. "The appeals process is likely to be lengthy, and even if upheld, the cash award would add less than 1% to Apple's existing cash balance. As for a possible sales injunction, GS SEC analyst Michael Bang estimates this would represent less than 5% of SEC's 1H2012 smartphone shipments, or about 4.5 million units. While we believe that Friday's decision will have little impact on the near-term story for Apple, it does represent another victory in Apple's wide-ranging legal strategy in which the company is building a legal/IP moat around its already substantial platform advantage."

Credit Suisse's Keon Han (covering Samsung): What the judgment does not do. "(i) While about 28 separate Samsung handset models were covered under the jury verdict, the most critical product, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 1 were not included in the trial (AAPL likely to request a ban). Galaxy Note 2 is not launched. (ii) The jury award is monetary, not a ban on any products. The jury's decision itself does not shut Samsung out from continuing to release and sell its products in the US unless AAPL files for injunction (which is all but given) and this is granted. This would be a decision to be made by the judge, not the jury, with a separate hearing set for September 20th. Much like the redesign of Galaxy Nexus, we would expect Samsung to design around AAPL's patents enlisting GOOG's help. (iii) This is not a global trial and is limited to the US. There are still over 40 cases pending in 10 countries covering other AAPL and Samsung patents."

Janney's Bill Choi: Apple Wins Litigation Battle With Samsung. "The industry has become increasingly more competitive and patent infringement battles are coming to a head. We believe this favorable court decision for Apple represents a major win and could spark more legal battles against other vendors, all potentially slowing the adoption of Android... It is also important to note Samsung has superior component expertise (displays, NAND flash) and is usually a fast follower, with quick development cycles and multiple product refreshes, compared to annual refresh from Apple. Despite continued competition, we believe Apple is set to gain share with the iPhone 5 launch in September and has a strong ecosystem to capture upgrades."

Evercore Partners' Mark McKechnie: Apple pushing for sales bans on affected products. "Press reports indicate that Apple is pressing for sales bans of the affected products which include the Captivate, Epic 4G, Galaxy S and SII, Nexus 4G, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and others. The companies have scheduled an injunction hearing on September 20th. We cannot predict the outcome, but view an all-out sales ban as unlikely given an expected appeals process and the potential for 'work-arounds' from Samsung. We would also expect GOOG's legal team to spring into action during the appeals process."

Baird's Will Power: Where to from here?

  • "Appeals, negotiation possible. At a minimum, we expect Samsung to appeal parts of the ruling, though the findings could also precipitate further negotiations between Apple and Samsung.
  • "Injunctions likely. It appears likely that the judge could implement injunctions on at least some Samsung smartphones. Though older devices were the primary focus of the trial, we would expect Apple to push for injunctions on newer smartphones as well. The injunction hearing is set for September 20.
  • "Future products most uncertain. Now that several key Apple patents have been deemed valid, it could impact future Android-based products, perhaps forcing product and software work-arounds or new designs."

Oppenheimer's Ittai Kidron: Advantage Apple - Android on Alert. "Apple got a decisive win against Samsung on Friday as a US jury awarded it $1.05B in damages for IP-infringement. Apple will now seek a shipment injunction, while Samsung will appeal and introduce workarounds. This is a key win for Apple, but the war's not over. The immediate impact on numbers might not be significant (for Samsung and Apple's shipments) as the appeal could delay shipment disruption and as the impact is only in the US where Apple's share is already high. Beyond the court case, we expect a strong December/March with another record iPhone launch and the mini-iPad introduction." Raises price target to $800 from $700. 

Canaccord Genuity's T. Michael Walkley: Record $1.05 billion patent verdict enhances smartphone & tablet leadership position. "Following its record patent victory over leading Android smartphone OEM Samsung, we believe Apple has an even stronger competitive market position ahead of its iPhone 5 and other anticipated product launches. We believe Apple's industry-leading software ecosystem and its leading hardware expertise will underpin a strong multi-year product cycle for its key products."

Cowan's Matthew Hoffman: AAPL Wins Round One vs. Samsung. "Although the monetary damages awarded were less than Apple sought (~$2.5B), we nonetheless believe the verdict is a huge win for the company with respect to the mobile computing [intellectual property rights] landscape... We note Apple still faces major patent infringement battles against Motorola Mobility (Google), VirnetX and Samsung (outside the U.S.), among others. However, we believe the 8/24 outcome should help Apple's position in at least some of its ongoing litigation and enable Apple to better address new infringement allegations that are likely on the way. As a reminder, Google purchased Motorola Mobility in large part to acquire that company's extensive patent library (~24.5K patents and patent applications)."

Needham's Charlie Wolf: Apple drops a bomb. For Google, it's back to the Android drawing board.  "The bad news for Android licensees is that the three patents represent but a handful of the patents in Apple's arsenal. We anticipate Apple will assert many of these reportedly even more powerful patents in future cases against Android licensees. Google (GOOG) will be forced design workarounds of the violated software patents, which was the intent of Apple's lawsuit, not the monetary award. These workarounds are likely to materially degrade the Android user experience relative to the user experience on Apple's iOS operating system."

Topeka's Brian White: A Sweet "Thermonuclear" Victory for Apple. "We believe this verdict enhances the Apple brand as 'the innovator' in the smartphone and tablet markets at the expense of Samsung Electronics that some will now view as the 'imitator', while also providing a strong disincentive for future 'copying' of Apple products... We expect this verdict to have some impact on the growth of the Android ecosystem. Keep in mind, there are currently several other lawsuits between Apple and Samsung around the world. Samsung is the largest smartphone vendor in the world and the largest user of the Android operating system."

Global Equities Research's Trip Chowdhry: "Little or no money changing hands."  (Released last week, but unchanged after the verdict) "Whatever may be the jury verdict ... the most probable outcome will be a protracted negotiated settlement on cross licensing patents with all the parties involved namely: Apple, Samsung and Google, with little or no money changing hands."

Pipe Jaffray's Gene Munster: Ruling Unlikely To Meaningfully Change Smartphone Landscape. "We do not expect significant changes in the market... We believe that Samsung is likely to make software modifications to devices to work around the patented software features in question. For devices that infringe on design patents, we believe those devices may no longer be sold in the US; however, it does not appear that newer devices, including the Galaxy SIII are impacted. Net-net, we do not believe Samsung will see any meaningful interruption, likely only minor interruption, in device sales in the US... We do not believe further settlements are likely to hamstring Android in any serious way."

Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty: It's not about the money. "The $1.05 billion in damages the jury awarded Apple is relatively insignificant compared to Apple's nearly $120 billion of cash and investments. In our view, the bigger win for Apple is the competitive ramifications if other smartphone vendors experience lengthened product cycles and are forced to alter their software and hardware to ensure unique designs relative to Apple products."

RBC's Amit Daryanani: Creativity Wins Over Mimicking. "We believe the recent jury verdict in favor of AAPL (vs. Samsung) is a significant positive for AAPL as it establishes that Samsung had infringed on multiple AAPL patents... We note that the $1.05B of damages the jury awarded to AAPL are a "minimum number" and the eventual award depending on the judge's decision could end up being much higher."

Join the Conversation
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.

Email | @philiped | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.