updated 08:42 pm EDT, Tue August 7, 2012
Report could bolster or hinder Apple's claims by interpretation
According to a Samsung survey conducted at Best Buy locations in 2011 and released in the smartphone trial with Apple today, Apple's claims of customers returning Samsung products because the customer thought it was an iPad may be in doubt. The survey of Galaxy Tab returners found that market confusion accounted for only nine percent of returns, with the remainder for technical issues or device failures.
The study was conducted at 30 Best Buy stores in New York, Los Angeles, and Florida to determine the reasons for return. Browser crashes, lack of screen sensitivity, and Wi-Fi connectivity issues accounted for 25 percent of the returns. Screen lag, short battery life, and sync issues accounted for another 17 percent. The Honeycomb operating system learning curve caused ten percent of the returns, with nine percent returning the device after mistakenly thinking they were buying an iPad.
The survey only addressed the stated reasons for the return, and was not backed up with analysis of the returned unit. Additionally, what customers replaced the Galaxy Tab with after the return and credit was not tracked. Apple was relying on "Samsung's own documents, which tell an unambiguous story" to prove Apple's claims of market confusion, and to some extent, this survey does accomplish that, with one customer in 11 returning the tablet for no other reason than it wasn't an iPad. Whether those customers had been truly confused by the branding or merely misunderstood 'iPad' to be a generic term for any tablet is not made clear in Samsung's analysis.
Apple's suit began against Samsung last year for violation of several patents in the Korean manufacturer's Android devices, including the frequently referenced "data tapping" patent, that converts phone numbers and URLs embedded in a text to contextually be used as application-specific links. Samsung has lost every one of its 12 summary judgement requests, and Apple has won one of its three requests. Opening arguments and initial witnesses have been called, with the trial scheduled to resume tomorrow in California.