I made a comment in response to a blog post about the Apple vs Samsung case on Hacker News recently - that got a ton more upvotes than I thought it would have (and a few friends of mine encouraged me to write this post), so I thought I would post the jist of my thoughts here.
Apple wasn’t suing Samsung because they ‘copied’ one of their products. What Samsung has done is straight up IP (Intellectual property) theft.
There are many other companies that come out with many features in their products that Apple doesn’t sue. See Windows, Safari vs Chrome, iPod vs Zune, Adobe Premiere vs Final Cut Pro, most “ultrabooks” vs Macbook Air, etc. The issue here is that Samsung, HTC, et al. essentially have done what many manufacturers in China have done (and are still doing).
They acted like a hardware manufacturing partner - then using the inside knowledge they gained of the intimate architecture of the products, they reverse engineered them and competed directly.
That’s like you hiring a web developer to build your startup - and both of you build it to traction, and once you take all the risk and prove the market, (s)he leaves and builds a direct competitor using his insider knowledge. It’s the most insiduous kind of ‘IP stealing’ that exists.
So Apple’s response is perfectly rational.
If you had that done to you, and your ex-developer (in fact, he is still managing your codebase) is making a ton of money off of your ideas and IP in your market, I am sure you would be pissed too. The money is just sprinkling on top…and a definitive statement to other “partners”.