Apple manages to keep tabs on Samsung in Germany

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An employee of Korea Telecom compares a Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet to an Apple iPad tablet in Seoul. Photo - Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters

SamsungElectronics Co. will have to stop all promotions of its latest tablet computer inGermany afterApple Inc. won a second injunction to block the country-widesales of the Galaxy Tab.

The injunction came as one of the world’s largest electronics shows gets under way across Europe.

BlogFoss Patentsreported this weekend the 7.7 inch device, which has been on display earlier, now bearing a sticker that read “Not for sale inGermany.”

It also noted that Apple obtained a new temporary injunction for the new tablet, citing striking similarities between the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and iPad 2. German court imposed a temporary ban on Galaxy Tab 10.1 and warranted a court-order onSamsung for contempt of the 10.1 injunction.

Last month, a court in Dusseldorf gave Apple the preliminary injunction on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The ban, which initially applied to nearly allEuropean Unioncountries, was later limited to Germany as the court said it didn’t have any jurisdiction over other nations.

Apple claims Samsung ripped off its technology and design details from the iPad to develop the Galaxy Tab. Samsung has denied those allegations.The Korean manufacturing giant is Apple’s closest rival in tablet computers.

James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, told media thathis company had to pull the newly-unveiled Galaxy Tab 7.7 out of the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin after a Dusseldorf court granted Apple’s request on Sept. 2 to ban sales and marketing of the product.

Chung told Bloomberg he couldn’t confirm if Samsung has received the court order.”Samsung respects the court’s decision,” Chung added, admitting his company believes it “severely limits consumer choice in Germany.”

Samsung intends to pursue all available options, including legal action, to defend its intellectual property right, Chung contended.

Samsung and Apple, maker of the iPad, are involved in legal disputes across three continents, as Apple – also one of the biggest customers of the South Korean manufacturers chips and displays – claims Galaxy devices copied its iPhone and iPad. Last month, the Dusseldorf Regional Court granted Apple a temporary sales ban on the earlier Galaxy Tab 10.1 model in 26 out of the 27 European Union member countries.

According to an estimate by Strategy Analytics,the August ruling that got scaled back to only Germany on jurisdictional grounds, can cost Samsung sales of as many as half a million units this year.

APPLE TARGETS RELEASES

Samsung announced the launch of this Tab 10.1 in February this year.Competition in the tablet market is cut-throat with ApplesiPad commanding an estimated 80% market share, while other competitors are hard-pressed to come up with products that can compete with both price and features dictated by Apple.

Samsung hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with how many Galaxy Tabs it has actually sold, nor has the company offered any comment to address Lenovo executives’ claims. Samsung first said in early December 2010 that the seven-inch device, the company’s first foray into the tablet market, sold around one million units, with executives insisting “faster than expected” sales attributed to the tablet’s popularity.

Samsung ended up increasing the sales figure to two million units in early January. But on a company quarterly earnings call in late January, Samsung vice president Lee Young-hee explained that Samsung’s sales figures didn’t represent the number of consumers that actually bought the device. The figures of one, then two-million devices sold weren’t indicative of the number of Galaxy Tabs that consumers actually purchased. Rather, these “sell-in” figures represented how many Galaxy Tabs the company had itself shipped to retailers worldwide.

Andrew Barrow, director of consumer products and pricing for Lenovo Western Europe, said he believes that 20,000 units sold is the more likely answer for Samsung’s total Galaxy Tab sales. He didn’t give any reasoning of his estimation in an interview with The Guardian, nor did he suggested how many tablet devices Lenovo plans to push to the market for the company’s recent launch of its first tablet, the IdeaPad K1.

MENA MARKET

A report released recently by Morgan Stanley states the tablet market is poised to be bigger than expected with 2012 tablet shipments to touch 100-million in the best case scenario. Samsung is set to lead this segment with the recently announced Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9. The new tablets are based on the Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) operating system that features superior multi-tasking, enhanced user interaction and navigation capabilities. The tablet is also popular for its speed, light weight, customised user experience, an entertainment hub and enterprise ready applications, giving consumers more possibilities on the go.

Mr. Ashraf Fawakherji, General Manager, Telecommunications Group at Samsung Gulf Electronics said, After achieving strong results in 2010, we anticipate continuing the year with a strong demand for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 devices in the Middle East specifically as more consumers in the region require immediate connectivity and portability. We have achieved record growth and popularity from the Galaxy Tabs particularly because our products are catered towards Arabs and are fully equipped with Arabic content and Arabic lifestyle applications, specifically in the UAE market, he added.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 hit the UAE market in late July.

Sources: Ibtimes, Smarthouse, Bloomberg, Tablets-planet, Pcmag, Albawaba

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