The Apple vs Samsung legal drama took a fresh twist today, as an internal Samsung email emerged in court advising the company’s UX executives to “learn lessons” from the iPhone rather than copy it.
The e-mail, circulated on March 2nd 2010 by Samsung chief designer Sungsik Lee before the original Galaxy S hit shelves in June 2010, instructs the company’s UX (User Experience) team to “learn the wisdom of the iPhone” rather than make something that looks exactly alike.
Lee wrote: “At the Lismore critique meeting yesterday, CEO Gee Sung Choi strongly pointed out Samsung UX’s mindset of “clinging to the past generation.
“This is being interpreted as an instruction to think about and decide all matters from the perspective of the user. The most representative example is obviously the iPhone.”
“Of course this must be distinguished from saying that we should do something simply because the iPhone did it that way, but he told us to make judgments based on user convenience, rather than through logical reasoning.”
From the context of the above, it almost sounds as though Lee is giving Samsung designers a subtle warning to tread carefully when taking inspiration from the iPhone, while reiterating the CEO’s ‘instruction’ for the company’s UX efforts to be more forward-thinking and user-centric.
“In the end, we must learn through the lessons of the iPhone that just providing every good feature isn’t the way to go about it. Although everyone would agree with this, we would face huge obstacles when putting this into practice,” Lee adds.
“I am not saying to make what is exactly identical to the iPhone, but I am saying to learn the wisdom of the iPhone, and recognize the standard of the industry which was set by them already.”
Clearly, Samsung knew the iPhone was setting a standard and it had to study it if it wanted to keep up and become the smartphone behemoth it is today.
The email comes hot on the heels of a Samsung internal document which compares every nook and cranny of iOS to Samsung’s TouchWiz UI and which Apple claims is proof that Samsung clearly infringes on its intellectual property.
However, Samsung defended the document as “typical competitive analysis”, something it says is done “routinely” by many other companies in the tech industry.
The email should go some way to prove Samsung’s innocence. However, Apple might argue that it is was sent only a few months before the Galaxy S was released, which still bears striking resemblances to the original iPhone.
Apple wants Samsung to cough up $1.34 billion in damages for loss of sales caused by the Galaxy S – and $2.45 billion in total for a multitude of accused devices.
See below for a full copy of the email: