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Apple is freaking out over top-secret market research being used in patent trial [updated]

August 3rd, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Remember when Steve Jobs famously said that Apple (AAPL) did “no market research” to figure out what consumers want? Well, it turns out that wasn’t exactly the case, as new documents unearthed during the Apple-Samsung (005930) patent trial reveal. Network World’s Yoni Heisler writes that Apple is positively freaking out about the possibility that its extensive market research surveys of iPhone and iPad users could be made public, thus revealing the company’s special sauce recipe for attracting and keeping loyal users.

UPDATE: All Things D reports that Apple has now lost its bid to keep the market research secret and Samsung will be allowed to use it as evidence in the trial.

In particular, Heisler found a declaration to the court submitted by Apple VP of product marketing Greg Joswiak explaining why Apple’s customer surveys should remain sealed away from the public eye.

“The surveys reveal, country-by-country, what is driving our customers to buy Apple’s iPhone products versus other products such as the Android products that Samsung sells, what features they most use, our customers’ demographics and their level of satisfaction with different aspects of iPhone,” Joswiak wrote. “All of that information is set out in exacting detail in the proposed exhibits. No other entity could replicate this research because no other entity has access to the customer base that Apple has.”

Heisler also notes that Joswiak claims the market research reports are even kept under tight wraps within the company itself and are only revealed to “a small select group of Apple executives” and cannot be shared with anyone outside of the group without Joswiak’s express permission. In other words, part of the secret to Apple’s success is that it has been run like one of the Pentagon’s black ops teams.

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