T-Mobile sides with Samsung over Apple, warns of damage to holiday sales

T-Mobile USA became the second U.S. carrier this week to side with Samsung in its long-running patent dispute with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), arguing that a ban on Samsung devices will harm consumers--and its holiday sales. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) filed a similar legal brief in the case on Friday, and argued that Apple's attempt to get a preliminary injunction against Samsung devices will harm its LTE network and U.S. consumers.

In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, T-Mobile said that the public interest will be harmed if the injunction is allowed "in the midst of the critical holiday shopping season." T-Mobile does not want the court to block the sales of Samsung's Android-powered GalaxyTab 10.1 or its Galaxy S II smartphone--both of which T-Mobile plans to sell.

T-Mobile has a special incentive to stop the injunction. T-Mobile CMO Cole Brodman said this week that 75 percent of the devices T-Mobile has sold this year have been smartphones, and 90 percent of those run Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform.

"At this late date, T-Mobile could not find comparable replacement products for the 2011 holiday season," T-Mobile said, adding that its marketing campaigns "prominently feature" the devices and that it has already ordered its holiday inventory. "These investments cannot be recouped easily," the company said. The court is expected to hold a hearing on the preliminary injunction Oct. 13.

In a separate statement, T-Mobile said that while it respects intellectual property rights, "a preliminary injunction is a drastic and extraordinary measure, and the courts should pay particular attention to its public consequences."

Verizon argued in its brief that banning the sales of Samsung LTE devices such as the Droid Charge and the GalaxyTab 10.1 with LTE would harm its customers and would slow LTE sales, and thus mobile broadband adoption.

Apple and Samsung have been locked in an escalating patent battle since April when Apple accused Samsung of "slavishly" copying the iPhone and iPad. Since then, the patent battle has spanned from the U.S. to Germany to Australia. Apple became the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume in the second quarter, and analysts said Samsung was not far behind it in the No. 2 spot. Samsung provides chipsets for Apple's smartphones and tablets, which makes the dispute that much more awkward.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this CNET article
- see this IDG News Service article

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