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Samsung: The iPhone is like ‘heaven’ and we’re stuck on Earth

For those who haven’t been following the news from San Jose, California, Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930) are suing each other. Again. We’ve seen a number of daggers tossed from each camp — most of them came before the trial even began — but an internal Samsung memo presented as evidence on Monday could be among the most damning documents we’ve seen Apple’s lawyers present thus far.

On the same day Apple’s design expert made a pretty strong case that Samsung ripped off Apple’s iOS icons, Apple presented an internal memo sent in 2010 by Samsung mobile boss JK Shin. As pointed out by AllThingsD, Shin doesn’t hold back in the memo, writing that the user experience on Samsung’s devices in 2010 still paled in comparison to the UX on Apple’s first-generation iPhone. He calls the difference between the two experiences “a difference between Heaven and Earth.”

“Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off,’ ” Shin wrote in the memo. “All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide. Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.”

Following Shin’s harsh memo, Samsung’s devices began to adopt a strikingly different user interface and user experience — one that Apple argues is a blatant iOS ripoff. Apple has argued in the past that Samsung knew it was copying the iPhone and iPad but did it anyway, and Shin’s memo certainly doesn’t help Samsung defend against that stance.

“When everybody (both consumers and the industry) talk about UX, they weigh it against the iPhone,” Shin wrote. “The iPhone has become the standard. That’s how things are already.”

He continued, “Do you know how difficult the Omnia is to use? When you compare the 2007 version of the iPhone with our current Omnia, can you honestly say the Omnia is better? If you compare the UX with the iPhone, it’s a difference between Heaven and Earth.”

Shin’s full memo can be downloaded here in PDF format.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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