I was rooting for the little guy to win in the Apple vs Samsung trial. Yes, I mean Samsung. There I said it.
On dear. Apple vs Samsung
As much as I love Apple products and Jony Ive there was something about Apple’s ferocious global legal war that made it look like a rich, spiteful bully – almost a James Bond villain that wanted the world or no one would have it.
I know Samsung isn’t innocent, is a giant tech corporation that had more than a healthy interest in Apple’s successful designs, and tried to bully Apple back with nearly as much under-the-belt punching.
See also: Apple A-Z
It probably has factories belching toxic smoke into the air all over the world, compared to Apple’s pure-white labs quietly pumping out everybody’s favourite gadgets.
But every time I envisaged Apple in the courtroom it was of a mean, white-with-fury–faced man with his fists curled tight in his pockets and with a switchblade peeking out of his sock. I can see him smirking now, heading home to his almost-bare house where he lives alone.
Samsung was the slightly fat besuited gentleman who knew he was a bit in the wrong but just wanted his say in court.
Of course these images are entirely wrong. Entirely. Samsung did bad. And it did bad purely to make money. It cut corners. It cut whole buildings. It copied some of Apple’s gorgeous designs. Clearly it infringed on patents, and saved its own R&D money by following Apple’s.
Samsung can afford $1 billion, and deserved to pay for its sins. I’m not crying for it. So why my sense of unease?
Why on Earth was I hoping Samsung would win?
I didn’t desire a triumphant Samsung victory – just a little pat on the back from the judge and a Paddington-like hard stare at the Apple lawyers. Maybe a little humility in Cupertino. Ok, that's asking a lot.
To put it simply I didn’t like Apple’s bullying, mean persona. It doesn’t sit with my rose-tinted, fanboy view of the company.
From the moment Steve Jobs spat out his fury at Google’s Android platform I started to look at Apple rather differently.
"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” snarled a sick Jobs.
This seemed more like vengeance than justice.
I’ve followed Apple for years, used a Mac since 1986, attended every Steve Jobs Macworld Expo keynote between 1997 and 2006 – and even some by Michael Spindler. I’ve interviewed John Sculley and Gil Amelio, both lovely men.
I was once knocked down by Steve Wozniak rushing to bear hug Steve Jobs, and collided off a momentarily confused Jobs before hitting the floor. (He didn’t help me up.)
I share the same birthday as Jobs. I even have the same initials, for goodness sake. But I am allergic to apples.
I genuinely don’t know how to use a Windows PC. I couldn’t listen to The Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up for years after it was used to promote Windows 95.
I love Apple products. I sometimes even use my Apple TV. Jony Ive (born in the same month and county of England as me) can do no wrong.
But Apple vs Samsung changed something in me. Even though I should have been rolling out the bunting at the jury’s decision to kick Samsung’s butt, I felt a little sad and fearful that this will just make Apple even smugger and more vindictive – even less like the Apple I cherish in my heart.
I am thankful the US trial didn’t go on for years, although I’m sure now that Apple has tasted blood there’ll be more cases like it, and attempts to ban anything without an Apple logo on the back.
As I wrote earlier in a piece about Apple’s own naughty nicking (“Apple’s Stainless stealing”) this saga had the potential to become a digital version of Dickens’ Jarndyce vs Jarndyce – “This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means.”
Like Dickens I find the prospect of packs of lawyers drily arguing over things that should have no place in a courtroom quite depressing – distasteful, even.
I’ll pick myself up, maybe linger by the Samsung section of my local PC store, and, for a few days, put a tea towel over the SE 30 that sits behind my desk.
I’ll get over it. Heck, I might even start liking Apple again after a week or so – if it greets the jury’s decision with quiet agreement and gets on with creating wonderful technology and not stopping a little healthy competition every now and again.
But in the meantime… “Come on, Windows 8!”