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30 March 2014

Apple wins in college

Apple and Samsung, the two rival tech firms of today, are battling for consumer loyalty in both the global marketplace and the courtroom.

Since Apple initiated litigation in spring 2011, both companies have released scores of products. Samsung has just released the Galaxy S5 smartphone, which serves to highlight the underlying ideological differences in the companies.

Some deplore Apple’s restrictions and lack of customizability, but I consider it an advantage. Overall, Samsung’s entire development strategy seems to model this principle: see something that’s working in the market, take the idea and try to make it cheaper and better.

While copying is by no means a new concept, it disrupts the integrity of the market and drives down quality. Samsung’s smartphones are loaded with unnecessary software and gimmicky features that are supposed to lure in customers but instead make their phones harder to use.

On the other hand, Apple has always prized originality from the point of view of the user. Apple designs with quality in mind, both inside and out, and consumers have indicated that this aspect of technology is important to them.

As an avid iPhone and Mac user, one might say that my unabashed support for Apple is biased. However, in the not-so-distant past, I was once an owner of PCs and a litany of Samsung products.

Comparatively, both experiences have put me on the side of our generation. Though the Android operating system takes up most of the market share worldwide, U.S. college students prefer iPhones by an overwhelming majority.

Regardless of which company you support, the only thing that remains clear is that the real winners between the two are the lawyers. Indeed, there have been so many trials and counter-suits that at the end of the day, nobody is looking out for the people who actually use the products.

Hopefully once the dust settles, the tech industry will return its focus to innovation rather than competition.

Ravi Jain is a freshman majoring in chemistry.