Samsung vs. Apple: The Illogical Argument

Apple and Samsung have been working together for years, and many of the components in the iPhone are built by the huge electronics manufacturer. But as it turns out, even though they both work together, they’re also suing the pants off of each other, and now the battle has gone to the airwaves.

You’ve probably already seen the commercial, but just in case, here it is. It’s called TheNextBigThing, and you should probably go watch it real quick. Once you have, go ahead and meet back here after the jump and we’ll talk it out.

The Basis of the Argument

I could ramble on for hours about the situation between Apple and Samsung, but instead of getting into the minutiae of the whole thing, let me sum it up as easily as possible.

Apple released the iPhone in 2007, introducing a full touchscreen interface that up until that point had only been done with a stylus and a physical keyboard. The Samsung line of phones were really made up of flip phones and similar offerings back then, but once the iPhone came out, well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say.

But really, all I need to do to make Apple’s point here is to show off one of Samsung’s phones. This is the Samsung Vibrant sold by T-Mobile:

Looks like a refreshing design to me.

Looks like a refreshing design to me.

So … yeah.

Anyways, now Samsung is suing Apple, Apple is suing Samsung, there are patents and other stuff involved … it’s just complicated. But the basis of it is that Apple feels that Samsung is outright copying the design of their physical hardware, and when you look at stuff like the picture above, it’s hard not to see that argument.

Going On Attack

Samsung has, admittedly, a pretty cool lineup of cell phones on the market today, and the big one is the Galaxy S II. It’s got a bigger screen than the iPhone, and a lot of other features that certainly fit into a consumer modelled phone. Look, love it or hate it, the iPhone isn’t for everyone, and I can certainly accept that. Some people want the bigger screen and all that comes with the S II, whereas I figure that I’d rather have a phone that fits in my pocket instead of carrying around a chalkboard on my hip — that’s just my preference.

But let’s get back to that video, because that’s really what set off the firestorm among Apple fans this past week, mostly because it points out all of the stereotypes that people have about those of us who choose to buy an iPhone. We’re pretentious, we buy things blindly, we wait in lines for hours for what is (in Samsung’s opinion) an inferior phone to what the competition is offering. Oh, and we’re all hipsters — although I’d make the argument that it depends on if you consider my 66-year-old father to be hip, because he’s currently on iPhone No. 3. I don’t know if I could make that leap (sorry, Dad).

Not Quite So Different

In my house, I currently have three Samsung products that set me back probably around $4,000 or so. I’ve got a refrigerator, an LED TV for the living room and an older LCD TV in the bedroom. Oh, and there’s the older DLP, but that one needs a new bulb so until I get around to selling it, it sits in the corner.

I love my Samsung products. Why? I buy them because they’re well put together, are aesthetically pleasing, functional and last a long time (no knock on the DLP either, I could buy a new bulb and have that TV up and running tomorrow). I genuinely love their stuff, and I recommend them to all of my friends. In fact, my not-sure-if-he’s-a-hipster Dad just bought a new LED TV and he loves watching his AppleTV on it.

But the reasons that I buy Samsung products are the same reasons I buy Apple products. It does seem a bit like comparing oranges to … umm … apples here, but I buy my Apple stuff because they’re well put together, aesthetically pleasing, functional and last a long time. There may be other reasons as well, but basically, they’re the same. I buy Apple stuff and Samsung stuff for the same reasons.

Meaning, I’m both Apple and Samsung’s customer — and more importantly, their fan base.

The Problem With Pointing The Finger

As a fan of both company’s products, when I see a commercial that says that my decision to purchase an Apple product is flawed, well I start to question whether it’s really that I’m wrong in my decision, or if the other company is just a bunch of jerks.

I’ve waited in line for three different Apple products (iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and the original iPad), and I don’t regret losing any of the hours that I did to do so. I enjoyed it — it was a little adventure for me really, and something I was really happy to do. I made that decision on my own, so I don’t like it when someone tells me that I’m a sheep or fool for doing so.

I also don’t like being told that because I’m a line waiter, that I’m pretentious or a douche in any way. Or that I can’t accept the fact that there’s something “better” out there. And frankly, I don’t like being made fun of.

So what does this do for me, the guy who is loyal to both companies?

Well, here’s the thing. Apple generally doesn’t go on the offensive against the competition, and even when they do (see the Mac vs. PC commercials), they’re more in a kind hearted way that’s more fun than anything. I like that.

Samsung has decided to pull out the canons and blast Apple, even though they haven’t had anywhere near the success in this market that Apple has. Does that mean I’m going to stop buying Samsung products? Well no, not necessarily. But what it does is plant this little seed of doubt in the back of my head that just nags away. It shows me a flaw that I didn’t previously see, which makes me start to question my decision making process. They don’t want me to start doubting that, it’s the entire reason I buy their stuff.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

There’s another whole part of this thing that just irks me. The iPhone 4, the most successful iPhone to date I believe, runs the A4 processor. Know who makes it? Samsung. They also make the flash memory.

Whoops.

Whoops.

Now, if I’m in the marketing department at Samsung, and I decide to target the hardcore Apple followers who buy their products on launch day, aren’t I just cutting off my nose to spite my face? I mean, if Apple sells a metric ton of iPhones, and they use my (as in Samsung’s) products to make that happen, aren’t I profiting too?

I don’t know man, that just seems dumb to me.

Final Thoughts

Apple versus Samsung will never be Coke versus Pepsi or Chevy versus Ford, but not for lack of trying on Samsung’s part. They’re going to push the Galaxy S II as much as possible, and then six months from now they’ll have something else new and exciting that will be “so much better” than anything Apple ever produced. But I’m still going to get the next iPhone on launch day, and that’s just not going to change.

But one change could come, though. There’s been a lot of talk recently about Steve Jobs and how he finally cracked the TV, and how to make it better. The rumor is that Apple is prepping a full TV for next year, and if that happens, it could mean a big hit to people who manufacture televisions. You know, people like Samsung.

Still, Samsung makes one hell of a fridge, I’ll say that for sure.