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8/21/2012
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Samsung: 'Miniscule' Galaxy Nexus Sales Didn't Harm Apple

Samsung touts paltry sales figures as it tries to overturn a U.S. ban on Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung has employed an interesting tactic in its quest to have a temporary sales ban against one of its smartphones lifted: It argues that it sold so few Galaxy Nexus smartphones that it couldn't have possibly hurt Apple's bottom line.

"This is a product that, at most, captured 0.5% of the market," said Samsung lawyer John Quinn at a hearing in Washington, D.C. and reported by Bloomberg. "Nothing in the record here would support a finding of irreparable harm" to Apple.

Quinn argued that Apple has the largest share of the U.S. smartphone market, and that the "minuscule" sales of the Galaxy Nexus are no threat to Apple.

Apple believes the Galaxy Nexus infringes on a patent it holds for conducting a "universal search" on a device. The patent allows device owners to search the contents of their smartphone, the Web, and other sources from a single search bar. Apple calls this feature "the heart" of the iPhone 4S's Siri application.

The Galaxy Nexus offered a universal search bar when it reached the market, as did the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones.

[ It is going to be a busy fall for most smartphone makers. See Apple, Motorola, Nokia Plan September Fireworks. ]

"This was the beat-Apple strategy," argued Apple lawyer Mark Perry. "[The Galaxy Nexus] was the top of the line, Cadillac phone they trotted out to compete with the iPhone."

Google backed up Samsung with several statements provided to the court. Universal search, argued Google, pertains "at best, to a very minor aspect of the Galaxy Nexus phone's overall functionality which was never shown to drive sales."

Since June, however, Samsung has systematically removed the universal search function from the Galaxy S III smartphones sold by U.S. network operators.

"Samsung has updated the software for the Galaxy S III as a precautionary measure to ensure that U.S. consumers may enjoy using our innovative products without interruption," the company said in a statement. In other words, it nixed the universal search feature of the GS3 in order to prevent it from being banned.

How things will play out with the Galaxy Nexus remains to be seen. The patent case involving the universal search function--which is different from the courtroom trial still under way in San Jose, Calif.--isn't scheduled to begin until March 2014.

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