The unthinkable has happened. Google has removed the Samsung Galaxy Nexus from the Play Store after Samsung lost its appeal to stop the injunction against the phone which was granted in Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung. The injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is based on Apple’s 8,086,604 patent which targets Android’s universal search capabilities.
The Court is persuaded by the evidence in the record that the '604 unified search functionality drives consumer demand in a way that affects substantial market share. Even accepting Samsung's argument that the intelligent voice-recognition aspect of Siri, as advertised, also contributes to consumer interest in the iPhone 4S, Apple has shown that the '604 Patented feature is core to Siri's functionality and is thus a but-for driver of demand for Siri. Accordingly, the Court finds that Apple has adequately established the requisite causal nexus between Samsung's alleged infringement of the '604 Patent and Apple's risk of suffering irreparable harm.Google
In order to make the injunction stick, Apple has posted a $95.6 million bond which will not be refunded if the final outcome of the patent dispute does not go in their favor.
While this is devastating news for most Android loyalists, it appears Google is already working on an update which would “fix” the issue and should allow sales of the handset to resume sometime next week. The update is expected to tweak Android’s search functionality by removing its local search capabilities. This would remove the handset’s abilities to search through contacts or applications on the device and will limit search functionality strictly to Google web searches.
Since the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was pulled from Google Play, the handset’s status has changed from “Coming soon” to “Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ (soon with Android 4.1, Jelly Bean)” which leads us to believe Google will be working overtime to incorporate the fix into Android 4.1 and make sure the phone is back on its virtual store shelves by next week.
For now, Verizon, Sprint and third-part retailers are still listing the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on their sites. Hopefully Google will be able to push out an OTA update which “fixes” the universal search functionality before the injunction has a negative effect on sales of the Galaxy Nexus. We’ll do our best to keep you updated on the issue as best we can.
Do you think Apple’s universal search patent (#8,086,604) will hold up in court? Personally, I could live without Android’s universal search capabilities, but I’m sure there are many who would hold a grudge against Apple for quite some time if they are granted this victory.