Does Apple's $1 billion courtroom defeat of Samsung

reflect diminishing U.S. innovative prowess?



Apple vs. Samsung: More Proof that American Industry has Lost its Edge (JoongAng Ilbo, South Korea)


"It isn't entirely wrong to assert Americans discovered, invented and created almost every cutting-edge technology. They were great builders - but not such good defenders. ... Without deep self-reflection and a dedication to innovation, a strategy of relying on past supremacy will fail to save the American economy."


By Sunny Yang


September 5, 2012


South Korea - JoongAng Ilbo - Original Article (English)

The Samsung Galaxy smart phone: Did the decision last week by a U.S. court that the company infringed on Apple patents go too far?


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Samsung suffers market fall after court ruling, Aug. 27, 00:01:48RealVideo

It was hardly surprising: In a legal battle over smart phone technology, a jury in San Jose, California, delivering a one-sided verdict in favor of Apple over Samsung Electronics. This is the “American style” of doing things when their interests are threatened. In every economic and business battle, this is the yardstick Americans stick to. Anything Americans aren't leading reflects something evil and dangerous.


When Apple embarked on its legal crusade against smart phone rival Samsung, we were reminded of the trade friction over semiconductors 30 years ago between the United States and Japan. The clash over memory chip technology was one of the first head-on industrial battles between the manufacturers of two countries - and it later developed into a U.S.-Japan trade conflict.


The , which in 1985 represented American chipmakers hit by a drop in sales, filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative accusing Japanese chip makers of unfair trade practices. Micron Technology sued Japan's DRAM chipmakers for “predatory” business practices and below-cost product dumping.


Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and National Semiconductor also ganged up on Japanese companies, filing an anti-dumping suit against Japan's EEPROM chip makers. The following year, citing the plight of American industry, the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped punitive countervailing duties of between 21.7 percent and 188 percent on Japanese chip imports.


Japan half-heartedly signed a semiconductor trade deal in which it promised to boost the American share of the Japanese market by up to 20 percent. When, for obvious reasons, American chip sales failed to pick up the following year, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution demanding that the government take punitive measures against Japan for failing to honor the 1986 agreement.



Washington pounded Japanese electronic imports with punitive tariffs, imposing as much as 100 percent duties on Japanese televisions. Interventionist trade actions on the part of Washington to contain Japanese electronics producers continued until the mid-1990s.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


Anti-Japanese sentiment peaked during the battle against "outperforming" Japanese semiconductor producers. In a poll by The Washington Post and ABC, 70 percent of respondents feared that if the U.S. administration didn’t act quickly, the Japanese would buy up all of America!


U.S. media went in anti-foreign frenzy. Americans went on to employ antidumping and punitive tariffs in similar trade wars in which Korean companies often fell victim. But in the new mercantilist war, Korean companies are being targeted with a new, more advanced weapon called the "patent." The strategy, however, remains more or less the same.


The victor of the U.S.-Japan semiconductor war was neither of the two. It was Korea. Intel and other U.S. firms pulled out of the overly competitive memory chip business and Japanese companies, weary from their lengthy battles with the United States, slowly gave up the fight. Korean manufacturers went on with innovation and efforts to cut production costs, in the end becoming the market leader.


During ancient China's warring states period, an adviser in the Jin Dynasty told the emperor of a winning strategy to capitalize on a lengthy war between the Han and Wei states: “When big and small tigers fight, the small one will die and the big one will be wounded. If you hit upon the big tiger still recovering from the earlier fight, you can win over both states.”


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Wen Wei Po, Hong Kong: 'Where is China's Steve Jobs?'

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Le Monde, France: From Mac to iPad, Jobs Rode Imagination to Power

Asia Times, Hong Kong: iSad in Damascus: Syria Reclaims Jobs

Estadao, Brazil: Jobs Embodied Spirit that Still Makes America Great

Yedioth Ahronot, Israel: Steve Jobs: Rabbi's Inspiration

Der Speigel, Germany: German Editorials: The Passing of Steve Jobs

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The Hindu, India: Jobs - The Inimitable iMan

The Montreal Gazette, Canada: Steve Jobs was a World-Changer

Adelaide Now, Australia: Steve Jobs Earns Place in History

Daily Mail, U.K.: Dying Jobs Left Plans For Years of New Products


Building a country and defending one are two different things. It isn't entirely wrong to assert Americans discovered, invented and created almost every cutting-edge technology. They were great builders - but not such good defenders. If they hadn't been so self-indulgent with their pioneering work and endeavored to innovate and remain on top of the market, the latecomers would never have dared jump into the fray and attempt to outperform them.


But somewhere along the way, American cars and semiconductors became mediocre and failed to appeal to consumers. Blaming competitors for their underperformance hasn't helped American industry before - and won’t help it now.


One newspaper article asked whether Apple, having lost its drive to innovate, can survive and win by simply appealing to American patriotism. Without deep self-reflection and a dedication to innovation, a strategy of relying on past supremacy will fail to save the American economy.





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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Sept. 5, 2:29am]




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