News Column

Apple Stock Hits New Highs After Samsung Verdict

Aug. 28, 2012

Jeremy C. Owens, San Jose Mercury News

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Apple (AAPL) stock zoomed to its highest prices of all time Monday as the Cupertino tech giant filed for the ban of eight Samsung mobile devices in the wake of a monumental, $1 billion court victory against its Asian rival.

Despite reaching new heights just last week -- when Apple set a record for highest market capitalization without adjusting for inflation -- a San Jose jury's Friday ruling that Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad for its popular mobile devices pushed the company to more records -- highest price, highest closing price and highest market capitalization.

Apple's victory against Samsung, which sells mobile devices that use Google's (GOOG) Android mobile operating system, could lead to bans of some Samsung smartphones and tablets in the United States. Apple on Monday submitted a list of eight devices it seeks to ban as a result of the verdict, mostly older models: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail. Judge Lucy Koh will consider arguments for and against product bans next month.

The federal court jury ruled that Samsung had "willfully"

copied Apple's iPhone and iPad in order to create its line of products after a long, intense battle in the United States front of a global legal war. While a South Korean court issued a split verdict between the companies Friday, the San Jose jury was definitive: Samsung's counterclaims were shot down, and legal experts say the jury's finding of willful infringement enables Apple to seek to triple the possibly unprecedented damage award.

Apple's boon from the trial is unlikely to end there, however, as other hardware manufacturers that use Google's software could be forced to avoid popular design features rather than endure their own punishing legal fights. Apple sued many of those companies after its late CEO, Steve Jobs, vowed to go "thermonuclear" against Google for what he described as "grand theft" in copying Apple's iPhone operating system, according to the company co-founder's posthumous biography by Walter Isaacson.

Google observed the trial carefully, issuing a statement Sunday evening that doubted Apple's patent claims as they relate to Android. "Most of these (patent claims) don't relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent Office," Google said in a written statement.

"The mobile industry is moving fast and all players -- including newcomers -- are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don't want anything to limit that," the statement concluded.

Samsung moved past Apple to take the lead in smartphone sales last year, and increased that lead in the second quarter of 2012, according to a recent study. The end result for consumers could mean "a slower design cycle," "fewer devices," and/or "higher prices," experts told this newspaper Friday.

While the Samsung verdict does set "a precedent for the future of mobile-device design," according to Canalys analyst Chris Jones, it is not the only reason for Apple's rising stock price. Analysts and investors -- as well as consumers -- await the introduction of new devices, with the highest level of anticipation for a new iPhone and a reported smaller iPad. AllThingsD, a technology blog owned by The Wall Street Journal, reported over the weekend, based on anonymous sources, that Apple would introduce the two devices in separate announcements: an iPhone event in September and an iPad event in October.

Apple opened Monday at $679.99, 2.5 percent higher than Friday's closing price, and moved as high as $680.87 in the first half-hour of the trading session. At that record price, Apple's market cap -- the total worth of all shares in the company -- is $638.3 billion, yet another record.

Apple shares closed Monday's session at $675.68 -- a record closing price -- after a gain of $12.46, or 1.9 percent. Google fell 1.4 percent to $669.22 and Samsung's trading day ended with a 7.5 percent descent on the Korea Stock Exchange.



Source: (c)2012 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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