Apple vs. Samsung: The truth shall set us free

Apple must admit Samsung didn't steal iPad design, says U.K. judge. Cringely predicts more tech confessions will be exposed

The Apple/Samsung fight is about to get entertaining, and by "entertaining," I mean really nasty. Exhibit No. 1: Last week, a U.K. court ordered Apple to admit, in newspaper advertisements and on its website, that Samsung did not steal the iPad design for its line of Galaxy tablets.

That whirring sound you hear is Steve Jobs spinning at 5,400 rpm in his grave.

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I'd imagine Tim Cook would rather munch on broken glass than paste that statement anywhere on But unless the Appletons find a way to overturn the decision of Judge Colin Birss, then that historic event shall come to pass.

To be fair, Birss probably should also force Samsung to post his pronouncement that the Galaxy tab is "not as cool" as an iPad and, thus, couldn't be a copy.

Having used both a Galaxy tab and an iPad extensively, I can say they're more alike than not. Then again, I could say the same thing about most toasters, coffeemakers, and microwave ovens.

Actually, there are far bigger differences between the interfaces on microwaves than there are between any of the dozen tablets I've tried. Really, how many ways can you make a touchscreen device in that form factor? Not many. And as Apple v. Samsung -- or, if you prefer, Samsung v. Apple -- is revealing, there are only so many ways you can design a smartphone, leading to Samsung's claims that Apple was just copying Sony when it created the iPhone.

Tech companies come clean

Thankfully, deciding who copied whom isn't my job -- that's up to multiple juries in different countries. But I quite like the whole truth-in-advertising concept. I think it's an excellent precedent for the rest of the tech industry. Imagine what it would be like if the biggest companies in the digital realm were forced to say what they actually believed.

Google: "That whole 'Don't be evil' line? Really just an April Fools' joke. We never thought anyone would take it seriously. Kind of like Orkut."

Facebook: "Actually, we don't give a damn about your privacy. Don't like it? We hear MySpace is relaunching."

Microsoft: "At this point we could quit the tech business and just sell cupcakes, and we'd still make $23 billion in annual profits. We totally own you. Haven't you figured that out by now?"

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