The Straits Times
Published on Dec 10, 2012

Apple and Samsung: A defining rivalry in a changed mobile market


JAKARTA/SEOUL (REUTERS) - What a difference three months can make.

At the end of August, Apple Inc seemed on top of the world. Fresh off a resounding US$1.05 billion (S$1.28 billion) US legal victory over arch-foe Samsung, the company was gearing up to launch the fifth iteration of its iconic iPhone. Just a week prior, its market value had surpassed Microsoft and it became the most valuable technology company in history.

That was then. Since winning a landmark US patent infringement case in August, its stock has dived 18 per cent, wiping US$108 billion from its value. But the shares of defeated party Samsung have surged, rising 16 percent.

The dramatic reversal has sparked raging market speculation. Some pundits say concerns are growing about the seemingly inexorable advance of Google's Android, the rival software championed by Samsung. Others say fears about higher capital gains taxes have prompted investors made rich by Apple's stock-price growth to sell.