Upon introducing the iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs famously stated:
We’ve been pushing the state-of-the-art in every facet of design… We’ve been innovating like crazy for the last few years on this and we’ve filed for over 200 patents for all of the inventions in iPhone. And we intend to protect them.
Over 4 years later, it’s safe to say that Jobs’ statement served to foreshadow Apple’s current legal entanglements with Android.
Apple is currently staging a full out legal assault against Android. It’s currently embroiled in Android-related litigation with Motorola where it asserts that their Android handsets infringe upon 24 Apple patents. Then there’s Apple’s lawsuit against HTC where Apple recently won an ITC judgement. And of course, there’s Apple’s mega-important lawsuit against Samsung where Apple alleges that Samsung’s Android phones copy the look and feel of Apple’s iOS products.
The amount of legal manpower behind each of these actions is immense and Apple is working diligently to slow down the tremendous growth of Android any way it can. With Samsung, for example, Apple is seeking an expedited trial in its attempt to secure a preliminary injunction against a slew of allegedly infringing Android-based Samsung products.
Last week, released its earnings for the June quarter where it recorded an all-time high in quarterly revenue where more than 50% of that revenue can be attributed to Apple’s iOS products. That said, Apple will use every legal avenue at its disposal to protect its intellectual property and stymie the growth of Android which has discernibly eaten into Apple’s smartphone marketshare over the past 2 years.
Echoing this sentiment, Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi recently wrote in a note to investors that Apple will “push its legal claims hard and unrelentingly” as it pertains to the iPhone and its efforts to “upend the momentum of Google’s Android.”
Sacconaghi writes that any Android-related victory Apple experiences in the court system will have a direct affect on the company’s bottom line.
Should Apple prevail in forcing Android to rework some of its functionality, resulting in market share shifts, it could have huge, positive financial implications for Apple: we note that a 10 percentage point shift in smartphone market share from Android to Apple (the current run-rate smartphone market share is 46% for Android vs. 18% for Apple) in 2013 is worth an estimated $30B+ in annual revenue and $10+ in annual EPS to Apple.
Sacconaghi currently has a price target of $510 for Apple shares.