Apple's Schiller: Samsung made my job a lot harder

The head of marketing for Apple says Samsung's infringing products caused customers to question Apple's design skills.

Phil Schiller, head of marketing for Apple, talks up the iPad.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET) 
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Samsung's devices that looked like the iPhone made it "much harder" for Apple to differentiate and sell its devices, Apple's head of marketing, Phil Schiller, on Friday told a court here.
Schiller, speaking in a retrial for damages owed by Samsung for infringing Apple patents, said Apple's marketing would have had even more success if Samsung hadn't released similar products.

"This was an incredibly important time," he said. "As this [infringement] has been occurring, it's harder for us to get new customers and bring them into our ecosystem."

He added that Apple's marketing strategy revolves around "the product as the hero," highlighting features and capabilities that differentiate its devices from all others on the market. But Samsung's devices caused consumers to "question our design skills in a way they never used to," Schiller said.
Apple v. Samsung redux: What you need to know (FAQ)
Schiller added later during his testimony that copying one feature is as damaging to Apple as copying 50. He noted that creating designs and features that differentiate the company is Apple's entire business.

"At the end of the day, there's a cumulative effect of doing all of this that's incredibly damaging," Schiller said.
Samsung gained huge market share in smartphones because it copied Apple, Schiller added. That's also why Samsung flourished while other Android makers such as Motorola floundered, he said.

"There is a difference," Schiller said. "One is copying. The others are not -- as much."

The comments come on the fourth day of a retrial for damages that Samsung owes Apple for infringing on five of its patents. A judge in March vacated about $450 million of an original award. Samsung is still on the hook for $600 million, no matter what happens in the retrial.

Schiller first took the stand in the retrial against Samsung on Thursday with only 11 minutes left in the session. That gave him just enough time to introduce himself and talk briefly about his role at Apple, the development of the iPhone, and the event introducing the device.
He told a court that the iPhone was a "bet-the-company product," and that now the entire company works on it in some way.

Schiller spent most of his time on the stand Friday dodging questions from Samsung attorney William Price. He couldn't remember whether Apple did surveys on the strength of its brand, he said he wasn't aware of some of the early pioneers in multitouch technology, and he demurred on questions about patent specifics.

Samsung, meanwhile, tried to show that even Apple responds to rivals -- such as with the iPad Mini -- and that it's not illegal to replicate designs as long as they're not infringing on patents. Schiller, however, argued that the iPad Mini, Apple's 7.9-inch tablet, wasn't designed in response to competition such as Samsung's smaller tablets.

"We were not trying to respond to competition," Schiller said. "We were simply trying to make our product better."

Outside U.S District Court in San Jose, Calif., the scene of the Apple v. Samsung trial.
(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET) 
He also echoed comments from the trial last year, saying he was shocked when he saw Samsung's Galaxy phones.

"It looked exactly like the iPhone, so much so people might confuse it," Schiller said.
Schiller wrapped up his testimony at about 11:25 a.m. PT Friday. Apple said it may call him back to the stand later, if needed.

Court kicked off Tuesday with jury selection in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The trial is slated to last about six days before the case is turned over to the jury -- composed of six women and two men -- for deliberation.

Judge Lucy Koh on Friday said witnesses likely will wrap up testimony Monday. The two sides likely will present their closing arguments Tuesday.

Earlier this week -- Wednesday -- involved opening arguments where Apple asked for $380 million in damages, and Samsung said it only needs to pay $52 million. Apple witnesses who have taken the stand in the case since Wednesday include a couple of experts on touch-screen technology, an Apple executive in charge of components and materials procurement, and a few Samsung executives via deposition videos.

The bulk of the session Thursday included questioning of Julie Davis, an expert accountant hired by Apple to determine just how much Samsung owes the company for infringing on its patents. She testified that Apple lost sales due to Samsung's infringing devices. But even if the jury decides Apple didn't lose a single sale because of Samsung infringement, damages should be $287 million, Davis said.

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

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