Apple’s Battle for Tablet Market Dominance Is a Sign of Concern

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Apple’s recent court victory in the US, which temporarily bars the sale of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 in the country, is more of a sign of concern then of superiority.

Apple was scrambling for the court order over claims was “slavishly copied” from its iPad. The major concerns surrounded the design and feel of the Galaxy tablet. Since a patent can allow an owner to exclude others from the market, Apple sought a ban in the form of a preliminary injunction.

But why is Apple fighting so furiously to maintain the current status quo? Well, according to research firm DisplaySearch, the worldwide tablet market is estimated to reach $78.7-billion this year, up from $44.9-billion in 2011. Apple’s fight for dominance is a billion dollar fight.

Initially the judge hearing the case didn’t want impose the temporary sale ban on grounds that it didn’t matter if Samsung infringed the design patent because Apple’s patent was likely to be found invalid on the grounds that it was an obvious design based on earlier tablets. This is why she refused in December 2011 to grant Apple an injunction. The latest ban was only granted after an appeal from Apple.

And one can see the judge’s initial concerns in this matter. If one looks at earlier models of similar products (the 1194 version of the Fidler Tablet and the 2003 version of the Hewlett-Packard Compaq TC1000 tablet), the iPad is a rehashed version of tired and tested designs.

Samsung has appealed against the order, but has almost no chance of winning because appeals courts are very reluctant to disturb a temporary order. The company could also file for an emergency stay but that would likely fail as well.

Although this is a major blow for Samsung in the US, the ban only applies on sales in that market. Samsung is still free to sell its Galaxy 10.1 in every other market. The publicity surrounding the US sale ban will certainly not hurt Samsung’s global sales.

This is also only a further installment to the ongoing battle between the two global giants. Apple tried a similar tactic to stop the US release of the Galaxy SIII smartphone, which it failed to do. So Apple continues to lose ground in this market and while Tim Cook did well initially when he took over from Steve Jobs, is this a sign he is now struggling to fill the void?

And there may be warning signs that it can start to lose ground in the tablet market as well. At its recent I/O conference, the world’s biggest the world’s largest Internet-search company Google announced the launch of its Nexus Tablet which will, along with Microsoft’s upcoming tablet offering, challenge Apple for supremacy in this market.