Cook's 'values' memo shows Apple has lost its soul
When money is not enough
On the one year anniversary of his appointment as Apple CEO, Tim Cook must be partying especially hard in light of Friday's verdict against Samsung. But if his memo to staff about the verdict is anything to go by, in winning the case Apple has lost its soul.
The memo, leaked to 9to5Mac, shows Cook is in no mood to play nice with the rest of the industry. Here it is, in annotated form:
Today was an important day for Apple and for innovators everywhere. Many of you have been closely following the trial against Samsung in San Jose for the past few weeks. We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work.
We told Samsung we wanted a tablet tax of $30 per unit, based on the fact that we have enough patent filings in the tablet and smartphone arena to make life difficult. We control at least 75 per cent of the tablet market and have the world's sexiest smartphone. Bring it on.
For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy.
This is fair enough. Sir Jony and his team did something unique in making technology desirable. RIM made the smartphone necessary, and plenty of companies have chanced their arm on tablets, but Apple made both popular with a combination of hardware design and a user-friendly UI that really struck a chord.
As a result, Apple is now the most valuable company on the planet (in part thanks to the declining value of the American dollar), dominates the tablet market, and has the high-end of the smartphone sector locked down. It has also got the most lucrative apps market and reaps 30 per cent on everything sold. Is this not enough?
When IBM made the x86 PC platform popular and Compaq made it affordable, sensible minds decided neither could charge a tax on the development of the platform. Apple tried to gain the rights on the GUI system and lost that battle, but now it seems it will be doing this for tablet and smartphones. Not even Bill Gates stooped that low.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the jury who invested their time in listening to our story. We were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than we knew.
The jury, who were carefully screened to make sure no-one with technical knowledge got on the case, spent less than three days considering its verdict and faced a barrage of witnesses so intense the judge asked the Apple legal eagles if they were on crack.
Based on the evidence yes, Samsung copied both the design and the style of Apple's products, in the same way that Apple always has. The company itself got its start from copying the GUI system developed at Xerox PARC for a small licensing fee, making the billion dollars plus Apple wants to charge everyone else look shameful.
The jury has now spoken. We applaud them for finding Samsung's behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right.
The willful verdict sets down case law that's going to prove very lucrative. Yes, there'll be appeals, but in the meantime there'll be lots of opportunities for IP revenues to boost the bottom line and lock out any competition. Have you seen our stock price lately?
I am very proud of the work that each of you do. Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens.
We are coming for you next. ®
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