In an odd turn of events, Samsung has announced that it will no longer continue its patent war against Apple in the European markets…sort of.
According to the New York Times, Samsung has dropped actions to ban Apple products in a number of European countries including France, Germany, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.
It’s not clear yet why exactly Samsung decided to drop the actions, but analysts have, of course, theorized. And here’s where it gets muddy.
According to the Times, Samsung may have simply decided the lawsuits were distracting from good sales, especially of the Galaxy S3, which just passed the iPhone 4S “to become the world’s best-selling smartphone.”
Or Samsung was trying to clear some of the lawsuits to make it easier to come to an agreement with Apple. According to rumor, the two have been in behind-the-scenes negotiations.
Or (and this is an interesting one), Samsung dropped the cases because the European Commission (EC) is undertaking a formal antitrust investigation into Samsung’s licensing practices.
“The scope of what was withdrawn precisely matches the area in which the European Commission has been investigating,” German patent consultant Florian Müller told the Times. “It’s not just that the plot is thickening; in my view, there can be no other plausible view than that there is pressure from Brussels.”
Interesting. Regardless, there will be fewer appearances in court in 2013 for Samsung and Apple. There will still be appearances (I honestly can’t even keep track of all the lawsuits flying around between these two), but does this mean the war is waning?