The technology sector has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the last few years. The tough competition in the sector forces companies to make compromises and push legal boundaries. This is the very reason that this sector has one of the largest number of lawsuits and infringement claims. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are the two most active companies in this regard, and are almost always in the news for their legal battles. The huge size and global presence of these companies makes them an easy target for accusers and their own misadventures.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is currently involved in dozens of infringement lawsuits all around the world to protect the unique identity of its iOS, iPhone, and iPad. Apple won a huge victory against its arch rival Samsung last year when the Korean company was fined a massive $1 billion for infringing on Apple patents. The decision also allowed for the damages to be tripled if the infringement was willful. This was considered a major victory for Apple in its war against other smartphone companies trying to sell high-end smartphones. More importantly, it was taken as the first major victory over Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android, the rival smartphone operating system that provides a user experience to rival that of iOS. Steve Jobs, the co-founder and late CEO of Apple had promised that he would conduct ‘thermo nuclear warfare’ against Android, and this was one of the first bombs dropped in that war.
Unfortunately, these days the bad news from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors just doesn’t seem to end. Last Friday a jury overturned the previous billion dollar award to Apple, slashing it by nearly 40% to $599 million. According to Judge Koh, the jury had made incorrect calculations on damages and a new trial was ordered to recalculate the damages. This new trial could means that the award of $450 million might be reduced or increased. The judge also said in her ruling that the court has found an impermissible legal theory on which the award for the 14 devices was based on. The market reacted negatively to the news, and the share price of Apple further slipped 2.5%. This is a major win for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), because the entire Android operating system had been put under the legal microscope after Apple’s victory over Samsung.
Microsoft’s European Troubles
The software giant has been involved in some of the most high profile litigations of the last decade. The company has already faced legal scrutiny both in US and aboard for engaging in anti-competitive behavior. The PC industry might be heading downhill, but it seems that the legal troubles for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are still not over. According to a recent ruling by a European court, Microsoft was fined $731 million because it had failed to offer a choice of web browsers to new Windows users. The company had promised the court that it would provide such an option back in 2009.