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This week in Apple v. Samsung: a 'holy war' for $2 billion

The trial began with Apple asking for $2 billion and executives taking the court behind the scenes of iPhone development

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Apple and Samsung were back in San Jose federal court this week arguing over more patents and another set of devices. Apple is demanding more than US$2 billion in damages, in the second case between the companies in California.

Jury selection began Monday with roughly 130 prospective jurors, who were whittled down to 10 people. Many are iPhone and iPad users and just one has a Samsung smartphone, but many have Samsung TVs.

The trial got off to a rocky start Tuesday with two of the 10 jurors dropping out -- one due to sickness and the other hardship. But the trial can continue with fewer, and the lawyers got down to business with their opening statements. Highlights that day included Apple's damages demand, which hadn't been made public before, and the disclosure of several internal Apple and Samsung documents.

Perhaps the spiciest was a 2010 email from Steve Jobs that listed "Holy War against Google" among the agenda items for a management retreat. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller later said that wasn't the theme for the meeting, only a note from Jobs to presenters.

The Samsung documents revealed something of the crisis that appears to have gripped the company when the iPhone went on sale.

"If you compare the UX (user interface) with the iPhone, it's a difference between heaven and earth," read one Samsung email from February 2010.

Apple documents showed it was also worrying about Samsung. One email, from Jobs, warned that Apple "is in danger of hanging on to the old paradigm too long" if it didn't innovate.

The first day-and-a-half of the trial was probably the most interesting for the jury, with Phil Schiller and Apple engineer Greg Christie taking them on an inside journey through the development and launch of the iPhone.

The court took two days off, then came Friday afternoon -- the moment when the talk, inevitably, turned to the drier topic of the patents themselves. Apple's first expert, computer scientist Andrew Cockburn, claimed, not surprisingly, that Samsung's phones had infringed on Apple's patents. Cockburn disclosed at the beginning of his testimony that he's being paid NZ$575 (US$494) per hour for his work.

Quotes of the week

"The total damages are high, but I hope you understand the reason the damages are high is because the scope of Samsung's infringement is massive." -- Apple attorney Harold McElhinny

"They put that number out there, in your heads, so that is the damages horizon you are thinking of. It's a gross, gross exaggeration and an insult to your intelligence." -- Samsung attorney John Quinn, reacting to Apple's demand

"You're going to hear Samsung point the finger at Google, but don't be misled about that. This case is not about Google." -- Apple's McElhinny in his opening statement to the jury

"It's an attack on Android. That's what this case is about. It's about Apple trying to limit consumer choice and gain an advantage over its competitors." -- Samsung's Quinn during his opening statement

"We wondered what could come after the iPod. We wanted to try and invent that future rather than let it happen to us." -- Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, recalling Apple's work developing the iPhone

"It was astonishing. We knew for at least one day we were a huge success and it had hopefully all been worth it." -- Greg Christie on how he felt on the day the iPhone went on sale

What's next?

Apple will continue building its case with testimony from experts. Among those expected next week are Thomas Deniau, an Apple software engineer; Todd Mowry, a professor in Carnegie Mellon's computer science department; and Alex Snoeren, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

The case will resume Monday morning and is scheduled to continue Tuesday and Friday next week, and those three days every week, through to late April. Jury deliberations are expected to begin immediately after the lawyers finish presenting their case.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com



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