Apple vs. Samsung vs. Everyone Else: It’s The Fight For Second Place

There is an epic battle going on in modern technology that dwarfs the old Microsoft Windows vs. Apple Mac wars of the last century.

Today’s battle is about mobile computing. As it was in the PC wars of the 1980s and 1990s, Apple is right in the game. Microsoft is nowhere to be found in the smart phone and tablet wars.

In fact, if it were not for Samsung, Apple would be completely running away in the mobile computing arena. Apple controls about 75-percent of the industries profits, and Samsung controls the rest.

What of Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, RIM (BlackBerry), Motorola, Amazon, Google, and all the PC makers? They’re locked in a battle for leftovers and there’s not much that Apple and Samsung are leaving on the table.

Apple vs. Samsung is a battle for second place. Scrappy Samsung claims Apple’s iPhone wouldn’t exist if it were not for Samsung-owned wireless patents. Likewise, without the iPhone to be copied, Samsung phones would still look ugly, perform poorly, and remain cheap, plastic, throwaway items hawked to undiscerning customers by cell phone carriers.

There is much riding on these lawsuits between Apple and Samsung. The future of personal computing is handheld, not desktop, not laptop, not even ultrabook. Apple, of course, has plenty of patents as well, and in patent wars that are this complex, they often end up by horse trading patents and royalties.

Who has the edge? Who will win?

That’s unknown, of course, and the battles are likely to drag on for years as both Apple and Samsung jockey for leverage and position. Apple’s real target isn’t so much Samsung, as it is the Android OS that Samsung uses on its best selling smart phones.

I expect more settlements will occur with major players taking sides, even to the point of strange bedfellows; Microsoft and Apple collaborating to work against Google, Samsung, and friends. Samsung’s executives have an air of hubris, arrogance, and pride regarding their position vs. Apple.

It’s a strange battle in places. Samsung is likely to lose many tens of billions of dollars in revenue and profits as Apple moves it’s huge chip business to other suppliers. Apple is not inclined to feed a competitor, even if all that’s on the line is the second place finisher.