Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) best hope to keep from losing substantial market share to Samsung in the United States is to block the distribution of the South Korean firm’s new Galaxy S III. The Samsung smartphone has sold out during its debut in the UK and is anticipated to do as well in the U.S. The Galaxy S III will be sold by all four major carriers in the America — AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless, Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile. These carriers have nearly 300 million customers among them.
Apple has asked the Northern District court of California to block the sale of the Galaxy S III because the device is built in a way that violates some of Apple’s intellectual property. Samsung and Apple have been involved in patent disputes around the world, as each asks courts to do the work that open market competition usually does — determine which products will do well in the market and which will not.
Apple’s court actions appear desperate because, to some extent, they are. Apple will not release its iPhone 5 until later this year, while the Galaxy S III will reach the U.S. market within a few weeks. The Samsung phone is a marvel of technology. Its screen remains bright as long as customers are looking at it. The S Voice feature competes with the iPhone 4S Siri feature. The phone has a 4.8″ HD screen and runs on the new Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.
And, most critical of all, the Galaxy S III uses the 4G superfast networks, which have become state of the art for smartphone buyers. The major carriers have recently promoted this technology as much as they do any single smartphone.
Apple made a mistake. It will be late to market with a 4G-compatible smartphone just as demand for these products has reached an extraordinarily high level. Apple’s chance to keep share at the top of the smartphone market may indeed rely on whether it can block the Samsung S III, even if temporarily.
Douglas A. McIntyre