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Friday, 31 October 2014

Love story

Apple means (almost) never having to say sorry

Being Apple means (almost) never having to say you’re sorry. The tech giant apologized to customers for releasing a flawed maps application. But it bristled at a UK court order that the company publicly admit as false its accusation that Samsung Electronics had infringed on the iPad. Now the British judges are demanding strict compliance.

It’s in Apple’s DNA to resist contrition. Two years ago, for instance, its late chief executive, Steve Jobs, famously avoided apologizing for faulty signal reception on the iPhone 4 until he was specifically asked whether he was sorry. His successor Tim Cook seemed to signal a new era in September, when he issued a mea culpa to customers for glaring errors in the maps service. Cook even suggested iPhone users convert to Google Maps.

But change doesn’t come easy to Cupertino. Software head and Jobs protégé Scott Forstall, the leader of the team that designed the maps app, flat-out refused to sign the official apology. Though he paid with his job earlier this week, this culture of defiance seems to persist.

Last month, a British court of appeal affirmed Apple’s loss in a lawsuit claiming Samsung’s Galaxy tablet violated the iPad’s registered design. Echoing a lower court’s statement that the Galaxy was simply “not as cool” as the iPad, the judges ordered Apple to publicly acknowledge the defeat by running advertisements and posting a notice on its website.

Apple complied - to a degree. It created a tiny link from its homepage to a statement mentioning its loss but also citing victories in similar lawsuits against Samsung in Germany. The appellate judges were incensed. They ordered the company to remove any mention of the other suits, admit that those statements were false and put the link in a larger font. In a last bit of chutzpah, Apple said it couldn’t comply in less than 14 days. The court gave it 48 hours.

Apple and Samsung have been challenging each others’ patents and other intellectual property in scores of cases around the world. So it’s hardly surprising that Apple would play hardball after one of its few legal defeats. But if anyone had any doubt, it also appears that Cook has as little appetite for humble pie as Jobs.

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Context News

A British court of appeal on Nov. 1 ruled that Apple must comply with an order requiring it to run advertisements and a statement on its website that rival Samsung had not infringed the iPad. The order was imposed last month after the Silicon Valley-based firm lost its claim that the Korean company’s Galaxy tablet infringed on its registered design.

In response to the original order, Apple had posted a tiny link from its homepage to a statement acknowledging its loss in court but also citing other lawsuits against Samsung that have gone in its favor. The UK court found the statement deficient, ordering Apple to increase the link’s font size and eliminate the references to other cases against Samsung. After Apple insisted it couldn’t make the changes in less than 14 days, the appellate court ordered it to do so in 48 hours, according to the Guardian.

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