No Korean Red Carpet for the iPhone 5
Millions of consumers, industry pundits, and Wall Street analysts aren't the only ones already eagerly awaiting Apple's (NAS: AAPL) upcoming iPhone 5. Apple supplier and patent dueling partner Samsung is already planning an offensive on the yet-unreleased device, according to The Korea Times.
Once the iPhone 5 is released on Sammy's South Korean home turf, it will meet a patently cold reception, at least from Samsung. The report quotes an unnamed Samsung senior executive claiming, "Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung's wireless technology related patents." The executive continues that "for as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents."
Translation: "We will sue if the iPhone 5 is a phone." I'm no telecommunications engineer, but I think it's safe to say the iPhone 5 will be a phone.
Irony abounds, as chances are good that Samsung will supply a considerable portion of the components used in the iPhone 5. We won't know for sure until it's released and torn apart at the hands of the determined technicians at iFixit, iSuppli, and Chipworks, among others. The current iPhone 4 attributes roughly 26% of its component cost to Samsung for critical parts such as flash memory and DRAM memory. Apple's custom ARM Holdings (NAS: ARMH) -based A5 chip, which is currently in the iPad 2 and logically should be included in the iPhone 5, is fabbed in Samsung foundries, although the next two generations are rumored to shift to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYS: TSM) .
The tally of pending patent suits between Apple and Samsung is upwards of 23, spanning around the globe from the United States to Europe to Japan, with no sign of slowing down. If successful, Samsung would be blocking a product that is built with its own ingredients. South Korean consumers would be collateral damage, since the iPhone is hugely popular in their nation.
With Apple's recent German victory and Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction, the current score count sits at Apple 1, Samsung 0, which reads more like a Brazilian soccer game than an escalating global patent war. Add Apple to your Watchlist to keep abreast as the skirmishes continue to unfold.
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At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Apple and ARM Holdings, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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