Profit is Samsung's best revenge against Apple

Like a petulant pubescent, Apple again apologizes to Samsung -- but no backsies, no slouching, and no whining this time

In chronological years, Apple may be 36 years old, but it's still a rebellious teenager inside. The controversy over the company's "apology" to Samsung could lead one to believe Apple spends most of its spare time chillin' with its homies, spray-painting graffiti, and shoplifting cigarettes.

Weeks after it was ordered by a U.K. court to state on its website and in newspaper ads that Samsung did not, in fact, infringe on iPad designs, Apple instead buried a six-paragraph statement inside its U.K. site that was anything but apologetic. Four of the six graphs went on to talk about court judgments in other countries that were favorable to Apple.

[ Read between the lines in "Apple to Samsung: Sorry you're not as cool as we are." | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld's Tech Watch blog. ]

Worse, Apple used JavaScript to make sure the link to that statement was always below the bottom of the screen, no matter what size screen or device the page was viewed on. If you didn't scroll down, you'd never see it.

With teenagers, this is known as "soft refusal." They say they're about to take care of what you've now told them at least 10 times to do -- in a minute, OK? But you know they're going to mess around until you finally give up and stop hassling them.

Unfortunately for Apple, the U.K. court system doesn't give up so easy. A three-judge court of appeal decided Apple's behavior was so lacking in integrity (read: juvenile) that it ordered the company to pay all of Samsung's legal fees on an "indemnity basis." That means Apple is on the hook for everything, from yellow notepads and pencils to lattes for the legal assistants, almost entirely at the discretion of Samsung.

The panel, whose decision was made early this month but finally published last Friday, had several other choice statements about Apple's behavior, none of it complimentary. According to Groklaw, the group called Apple's first pseudo-apology "false and misleading," "illegitimate," and "calculated to produce mass confusion." Essentially, Apple not only failed to apologize as ordered, it lied outright in its published statement. The panel's conclusion:

The reality is that wherever Apple has sued on this registered design or its counterpart, it has ultimately failed. It may or may not have other intellectual property rights which are infringed. Indeed the same may be true the other way round for in some countries Samsung are suing Apple. But none of that has got anything to do with the registered design asserted by Apple in Europe. Apple's additions to the ordered notice clearly muddied the water and the message obviously intended to be conveyed by it.

Apple did, finally, remove that JavaScript code. And it replaced its petulant six-paragraph statement with a terse (though also not apologetic) acknowledgement of the court's ruling. As I write this, Apple's U.K. home page now contains the following text in a relatively large font:

On 25 October 2012, Apple Inc. published a statement on its UK website in relation to Samsung's Galaxy tablet computers. That statement was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. The correct statement is at Samsung/Apple UK judgement.

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