Samsung's headache worsens as Apple blocks its tablets

Samsung has pulled its new Galaxy tablet computer from Europe's largest tech fair in response to Apple's patent claims...

by Dave Waller
Last Updated: 07 Oct 2011
The tablet and smartphone war between Apple and Samsung has claimed another victim: Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 7.7, which was due to be shown at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin. Samsung has been forced to pull the device, after a German court banned it from selling the kit in the country. 

That’s not the first time Apple has stepped in against its rival: in August it managed to impose a temporary sales ban on German sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. According to Apple, Samsung’s is a Galaxy not so far, far away: Apple reckons Samsung ‘slavishly’ copied the design, look and feel of the iPhone and iPad and infringed its patents. And now with the 7.7 boasting a faster processor than the iPad's, it only makes more sense to block the tablet before anyone swallows it.

So as General Jobs steps down from Apple command, the battle rages on. The two companies have been fighting legal battles in the US, Europe, South Korea and Australia since April. In Australia, Samsung has already been forced to delay the introduction of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 twice. Samsung has counter-sued Apple, saying it infringed Samsung's wireless patents.

All of which has become par for the course for Apple, as it becomes an increasingly dominant presence on the global tech scene. And it’s catching flak on other fronts too. Note the FT pulling its publications from the iPad, in reaction to the heavy-handed approach Apple was taking on getting cash from app subscriptions (now a 30% cut), as well as its ownership of customer data.

At least it’s found a winning method in the tablet wars – competitors can’t even get their wares on display. The IFA electronics fair is Europe’s largest, and so one of the most important showcases for companies looking to attract European consumers.

So where does that leave poor Samsung? Of course it’s vowing to keep up the fight – the stakes are incredibly high and too much investment has been ploughed into this to just lie down and take it. But it may be bracing itself for more pain: last week an executive at Lenovo, another company which, like Samsung, has now developed tablets for the Android operating system, claimed that while Samsung shipped 1 million seven-inch Galaxy tablets to stores last year, the South Korean company had sold only 20,000 of them. So while Samsung is building a name as the first rival to the iPad, that’s not necessarily translating to profits. It may take more than a tablet or two to cure Samsung’s ills…

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