Vindication for Steve Jobs: Apple Punkslaps Samsung

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL) victory over Samsung in its patent infringement case comes as no surprise.

In fact, I was so sure about the eventual verdict that I spent little time following the case.

Samsung will likely appeal. The terms of the outcome could change over time. Various people will say various things about the implications of this narrowly focused, but still epic trial. While it kept the tech geeks entertained, all that matters to investors is the bigger picture.

And that bigger picture might (hopefully) incite true change in the tech space once and for all.

First, Steve Jobs put it all to rest when he introduced iPad 2 in March 2011. He foreshadowed the verdict via his brilliant copycat slide. Before anybody says anything about what happened in Silicon Valley on Friday, they should remember that Jobs built Apple and, without him this company can never be the same. The jury vindicated Steve Jobs one year after he handed the CEO reigns to Tim Cook. How incredibly fitting.

Jobs included several companies other than Samsung on that brilliant slide. For example, he also punkslapped Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Research In Motion ( RIMM) .

It remains to be seen if anybody else broke the letter of the law while trying to "compete" with Apple. But as things go in the apparently innovative tech sector, most everybody made a mockery of the spirit of the law.

As I argued in July 2011 over at Seeking Alpha, one of the few smartphone and/or tablet-producing companies that doesn't copy Apple lock, stock and barrel is Amazon ( AMZN):
I went bearish on RIM partially because of the company's apparent inability to do anything other than put out cheap imitations of Apple products. And, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted when introducing iPad 2, RIM is not alone ...
Using this type of logic, I should chide Amazon for the same, yet I do not ... A couple of differences exist between an innovative company like Amazon playing copycat and the old guard or beleaguered companies like RIM and Motorola doing likewise.

Practically every smartphone and tablet produced since the iPhone and iPad did nothing other than cheaply imitate Apple. Steve Jobs produced products that people love. The so-called competition could do nothing other than hope to pick up Apple's scraps with cheap knock-offs. Clearly, it didn't work.

As Samsung gets embarrassed in court, don't forget about the other offenders. RIM and HP look equally as bad with inventory write-downs and strategy shift after strategy shift.

It's a strange irony: As usage of mobile devices goes through the roof, much of the industry sits in disarray. If it did not promote Android as an open system, Google ( GOOG) would likely qualify as part of the larger mess.

Amazon stands as one of the few companies not rendered inferior by Apple. That's because Amazon has a strategy other than trying to leach off of Apple's magic. Jeff Bezos is smart enough to know that he cannot compete with Apple on hardware sales. As such, he did not put out Kindle Fire because of Apple; he put it out because of Amazon.

Bezos introduced an innovative strategy to drive his company's core -- e-commerce sales. It just so happens that one track he took as a means to this end is a mediocre knock-off. That's something for which Bezos gets little credit. Much like Jobs often did, Bezos took something that already existed, tailored it to his needs and furthered his company's supremacy.

It would be fantastic if the Apple-Samsung verdict spawns similar innovation. Tech companies need to conceive ways to not simply attempt to replicate, but utilize their peers' successes to drive their versions of triumph.

In a perfect world, the most dynamic firms will take it a step further by introducing products and services we never could have imagined until they put them in front of us. Set by Jobs, that's a lofty and potentially impossible bar to reach. But, as not only the Samsung results, but Apple's overall dominance proves, Silicon Valley has no other choice but to reach for it.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.

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