NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It is tacit knowledge that Samsung is an imitator. They have perfected the art of recognizing a winner, then reproducing it. Not just the the product, but the entire supply chain.
Sun Tzu: "It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results."
Samsung has an advantage with Apple (AAPL) in that they partner in development and are a major supplier, so there's advanced knowledge, whether direct or interpreted, that can be used to tactical advantage.
Apple is aware of this reality in a manner that few of us can imagine. This is the art of war to its highest degree. Apple understands the nature of a spy, and they understand how to control information, even from trusted internals. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.
Sun Tzu: "Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate." The use of patents and other forms of intellectual property are part of an elaborate intellectual arsenal. Giants like Apple and Samsung use patents like smart weapons, sometimes for cover, other times full on frontal shock and awe. They have legions of highly skilled and disciplined legal eagles that skate over the complexities and nuances of IP law, bending, twisting, creating grand illusions that suit their needs. "The general who wins the battle, makes many calculations before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand." Apple was long ago aware of the Phablet form factor. Steve Jobs spent years designing and playing with phone and tablet prototypes of every conceivable form, gleaning over details. It was never about leading with one product. It was about creating product lines that were integrated in every conceivable way, from how they are used, to how they are distributed, to how they evolve. "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." When Apple came out with the recent message, told through a TV ad, about how the current four-inch iPhone was perfect for one hand operation. This provided a testament to its design and simultaneously a diversion to make it appear as if Apple was stuck and prepared to go down in the flames of arrogance. A supreme feint, designed to transfer the arrogance to Samsung. "If you know the enemy and you know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and you know Earth, you may make your victory complete." As important as the physical product is, the methodology is more important, the philosophy, that guides development. That's one thing that Samsung cannot copy, no matter how many Silicon Valley nerds they hire. It's the culture of simplicity ingrained into Apple, it's in the DNA. Steve Jobs put it there and it lives on.