Court battles and app challenges as Steve Jobs steps down – A big month for Apple

It’s been a busy month for Apple, which won a major court ruling, lost its figurehead Steve Jobs and was faced with grim predictions over the future of its app business.

The verdict in a German court was a huge victory for the technology giant, as a judge ruled that rival Samsung could not sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 computer in the country.  Presiding judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann agreed with Apple’s claim that the device had copied the iPad, stating there was a “clear impression of similarity” between the two products. However, the ban was only limited to Germany despite a previous decision that it should be Europe-wide.

Although the ruling will have likely been a cause for celebration at the California-founded firm, it came during a difficult few weeks which saw founder Steve Jobs stand down as Chief Executive. However, Jobs will be staying on as the chairman of the board, but will take a less active role in the day-to-day running of the company. Shortly after the announcement, shares dropped by 5 per cent.

MEC View: Whatever role the mercurial Jobs takes in the future, it appears one of the biggest challenges for the firm will be keeping its grip on the app market. A recent study by Ovum forecast that Android downloads will overtake Apple by the end of the year, with the total number of downloads rising by 144 per cent.

With so many big changes for the company – both in terms of its top level personnel and its grip on the tablet and app marketplace – it will be interesting to see how it manages to stay at the top of its game. As always though, you can never rule out the emergence of a new product that changes the way we look at consumer technology and, with rumours of a new incarnation of the iPhone on everyone’s mind, the last quarter of 2012 could yet prove to be very interesting for the firm.

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