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Meanwhile European sales of iPhones are languishing.

When it comes to its war with Samsung Electronic Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930), Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has lost its preliminary injunction request in the U.S., lost its preliminary injunction request in Australia, lost in France, and scored a hollow victory in the Netherlands that required only minor modification on Samsung's part.  In short, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs' bid to spend all of his company's substantial fortune to "destroy" Android has stalled.

I. Germany Becomes Latest to Reject Apple's Legal Crusade

Now the situation for Apple has gone from bad to worse.  A German court has at last sided with Samsung.  After ruling that the initial Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringed on Apple's patented design by being too "minimalist", Samsung went and repackaged its device to look even less like Apple's iPad tablet.  An irate Apple begged German authorities to ban the new design, arguing that it should have exclusive rights to make modern tablets in Germany.

The presiding German judge flatly rejected Apple's request.  Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann ruled the new Galaxy Tab 10.1N did not appear to be in infringement and thus Apple would not obtain its requested preliminary injunction.  She states, "According to the court's assessment, the defendant has moved away sufficiently from the legally protected design."

The German judge informed Apple's lawyers that their company would just have to compete against Samsung on the market.

A final ruling on whether the new devices infringes of any of Apple's design or technology patents is coming on Feb. 9, but things aren't looking good for Apple in the one region where it still had some shred of a victory over Samsung.

Samsung, who, along with Apple, is under investigation by the European Union for patent abuse, expanding its countersuit claims against Apple in German court earlier this week.

II. Apple Struggles to Compete With Android in Weakening European Economy

Meanwhile, the lagging global economy is beginning to show signs of hurting Apple's sales.  As in the past, Apple's efforts to position its products as luxury devices has began to backfire, thanks to recent price drops on high-end Android smartphones from companies like Samsung.

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech broke down sales by region in a new report. Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director, says that the iPhone 4S bumped sales from 25 percent to 36 percent in the U.S. and from 21 percent to 31 percent in Britain, in a comparison of last year versus this year for the 12-week period ending on the last day of November.

But in mainland Europe, the picture was quite different, with the iPhone's stake dropping from 29 to 20 percent in France, from 27 percent to 22 percent in Germany, and by similar substantial margins in Italy and Spain.

Apple snobs
To its dismay Apple is finding that European users are less willing amid a recessionary atmosphere to pay their "Apple tax" to feel cool and superior. [Image Source: Samsung]

European GDP growth for Q3 2011 stalled to an anemic 0.2 percent, and is expect to kick back into reverse, slipping back into recession for Q4 2011 and Q1 2012.

So who’s the bigger winner in this weak market?  You guessed it -- Samsung and Android.  Comments Mr. Sunnebo to Reuters, "In Germany, Android achieved a dominant 61 percent share of smartphone sales in the latest 12 weeks, with the Samsung Galaxy S II the top selling handset."

Sources: Reuters [1], [2]





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