Geeking Out: Suing instead of innovating

By Jeremy Nobile | staff writer Published:

Apple and Samsung are butting heads again. In one of the former's largest lawsuits to date, Samsung is again accused of copying and implementing patented technology in their mobile devices that lawyers argue might've cost the rival tech giant at least $2 billion based of a $40 cost of every Samsung device using the technology Apple claims is exclusively theirs like search functions and that ground-breaking feature to activate your phone with a finger swipe. Now THAT has forever changed the way we communicate with one another.

Apple wants to protects its assets. Samsung, which has many devices powered by Google's Android technology, wants to compete. Together, both companies control the bulk of tech products that have become all-but-ubiquitous in the modern world. But I believe the bigger issue here is the future not of smartphones and tablets, but of innovation.

Computer and software companies have been copying each other for years, but lawsuits didn't seem quite as prevalent in the past, probably because the next best thing would be released several weeks later. And rather then dwell on who did what first, companies seemed more motivated to create their own names, brands and roles for technology in the life of average Joes. There's still a relatively high turnover in devices, but changing a screen size and headphone jack location isn't innovation, but an excuse to sell something new at a new-device price. Simply put, innovations in the personal technology market have become less, well, innovative. It's a shame companies can't be more interested in their own ideas instead of childishly pointing at the kid across the street and shouting "Stop copying me!"

I for one would rather see more imaginative experiments rather than more of the same (looking at you, Oculus Rift). Tech giants like Apple, Samsung and Google certainly have the financial backing to take risks; but that term, "risk," doesn't seem to resonate well with Silicon Valley's big businesses and their investors. I recognize taking something good and trying to make it better rather than reinventing the wheel, or in this case, the smartphone, can be a smart practice. But it's boring. The videogame industry has seemed to fall into a similar rut. But on the other side of that coin, instances exist of risks not paying off well -- the WiiU and its corresponding, arguably innovative tablet play, for example, is a creative idea with a terrible name that was poorly marketed and badly implemented, and it's a giant letdown.

Perhaps a defeat for Apple in this current case could spur them to pursue something as opposed to coasting on the successes of an aging idea. Innovation provokes our imaginations, challenges the industry and inspires others. That's what this case is about, and that's I believe it actually matters.

What do you think?

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