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Apple hits new record following big US court victory

Written by: Sapa
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012

Apple shares soared to a new all-time high Monday after the US tech giant’s big win in a patent lawsuit against South Korea’s Samsung, which saw its own stock tumble.

Google shares slipped amid concerns that its Android operating system used on mobile devices made by Samsung and others would come under greater scrutiny.

In early trade, Apple jumped 2.11 percent to $677.19, giving the maker of the iconic iPhone and iPad a record market value of $635 billion (508 billion euros), reinforcing its place as the world’s most valuable corporation.

Analysts said Friday’s court verdict ordering Samsung to pay more than $1 billion for patent infringement, which also opens the door to a ban on some Samsung devices, bodes well for Silicon Valley firm.

“We believe this verdict strengthens Apple’s already strong competitive position in the smartphone and tablet markets ahead of upcoming key product launches such as the iPhone 5,” said Michael Walkley at Canaccord Genuity.

Aaron Rakers at Stifel Nicolaus said the verdict “represents a strong validation of Apple’s intellectual property related to mobile devices”.

He said it “potentially triggers the right for the patent holder to demand profits the infringer has collected in the process of infringing those design patents, in addition to damages from lost profits and or brand dilution.”

Apple, which is widely expected to announce a new version of its iPhone in September and possibly a smaller version of its market-leading iPad, has been riding strong momentum.

Katy Huberty at Morgan Stanley said that “the bigger win for Apple is the competitive ramifications if other smartphone vendors experience lengthened product cycles and are forced to alter their software and hardware to ensure unique designs relative to Apple products.”

Samsung shares slumped 7.5 percent in Seoul, the biggest single-day percentage drop the electronics giant has seen in nearly four years.

Google shares dropped 1.6 percent to $667.29.

Google, which was not a party in the case but implicated because of its Android system used in Samsung devices, said in a statement that the patent claims will be reviewed on appeal and that “most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system.”

“We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that,” Google said.

Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Barclays, said he sees a “mild setback” for Google and its Android system.

“While we do not expect this verdict alone will significantly impact Android’s momentum, we believe that risk to Android exists if Samsung receives injunctions against the sale of its infringing products,” the analyst said.

US District Judge Lucy Koh has set a hearing for September 20 to consider enforcement of injunctions against Samsung devices. She will also hear Samsung motions to reduce or dismiss charges and Apple’s request for “punitive” damages, which could triple the award.

In one bit of irony, there were reports that US consumers were snapping up Samsung devices in anticipation of a possible ban.

This was pronounced for the Samsung Galaxy S III, which was unveiled this year as a rival to the iPhone, but was not part of the case decided on Friday.

“Customers rushed to buy Samsung Galaxy S III this weekend, with some stores reporting stock outs,” said Trip Chowdhry at Global Equities Research.