Samsung’s week has gone from bad to worse. First it had to absorb the embarrassment of seeing its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone treated like mere bargain bin fodder by major carriers who showed little faith in its sales potential – and now Samsung has been found guilty of stealing Apple’s designs and technologies by yet another jury. At least the previous billion dollar punitive judgment has been scaled down to a more palatable $120 million.
But Samsung still has to be reeling from this week’s one-two punch. The trial was never about monetary damages, but instead was all about Apple’s attempt at settings precedent for getting Samsung’s mobile devices summarily banned from the market. This ruling furthers Apple’s goals in that attempt. But of greater concern is the fact that Samsung’s phones don’t appear to be drawing the interest they once did.
Samsung never announces quarterly sales numbers for its Android based devices, so aside from unreliable analyst estimates, there’s never been a concrete way of determining whether the hype surrounding devices like the Galaxy is being met by actual sales. Samsung consistently reports growing overall revenue, but that number includes other products like televisions and refrigerators.
The only way to accurately gauge Samsung’s smartphone sales, then, is to look for real world clues. And even as the company has tried to position it’s new Galaxy S5 as a desirable premium device, Verizon has read the market differently. It’s already giving away Galaxy S5 units to customers, something it would never consider doing if sales were strong enough to match the hype. But at least Samsung now owes Apple about $880 million less than it did when the week started.