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Regardless of Latest Verdict, Samsung Has Already Won the Battle With Apple

It's not about money changing hands, it's about market share.

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The jury is still out on the latest Apple-Samsung patent trial, but Samsung has already won the larger battle.

A chart Apple used during the current case shows why.

When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, Samsung’s U.S. smartphone market share was about 10 percent. By mid-2010 it had dropped to about half that level. By 2013, Samsung had more than rebounded, nabbing nearly a third of the U.S. market in some quarters.

For all its legal victories, including a roughly $1 billion verdict in the last patent trial, Samsung has continued to grow its share of the smartphone market, both in the U.S. and globally.

Apple’s best shot to slow Samsung’s growth through legal action would have been if it were able to get some injunctions that kept Samsung products off the market or at least forced them to change some of the features Apple claims were illegal copies.

The company briefly got some preliminary injunctions in 2012, including against the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Nexus phones. However, most of those injunctions were overturned on appeal, while the Galaxy Tab ban was lifted after a jury decided that product didn’t actually infringe.

Apple had a second chance to get sales of some Samsung products halted after winning its last trial. However, Judge Koh declined to award any permanent injunctions after the jury verdicts in the previous case.

At this point, the worst-case scenario for Samsung is that it might have to pay Apple a couple billion dollars some years down the road. While that’s a significant chunk of change, it pales in comparison to the amount of market share that Samsung has gained in recent years.

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