It seems the answer to the question "is our Samsung learning?" is yes. Having been smacked down in Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands, and likely anticipating future such humiliations, Samsung is looking to head off Apple at the pass with its latest smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus. The new phone, the first in the world to run Ice Cream Sandwich, was reportedly designed specifically to bypass Apple's patents entirely. At least, Samsung Mobile president Shin Jong-kyun confirmed this while unveiling Nexus on Tuesday, adding "Now we will avoid everything we can and take patents very seriously." I doubt he intended to indicate that Samsung has previously not taken patents seriously, but you never know.
Either way, it's a sign that Samsung is getting a little tired of constantly having to go down to the Courthouse, something Shin appeared to acknowledge when he said "I don't think there is much gain. What we are losing is the pride in our brand." That kind of honesty is rare, especially for a company currently suffering from a global legal bludgeoning. Unfortunately for Shin, Won-Pyo Hong, executive Vice President of Product Strategy used his time on stage during AsiaD to clarify Samsung's position. He says he has 'no idea' where the 'rumors' that Nexus was designed to evade Apple patents came from. When someone you presumably work with daily refers to an unambiguous statement you've made as a 'rumor', well, however you say 'ouch' in Korean.
Whatever the truth of the matter, proactively working to make a product free of the taint of the Macness doesn't guarantee that Apple's ravenous legal team won't cast a leering eye in Nexus' direction. Even Shin was careful to add that "We will see if [the Galaxy Nexus] will be 100 percent free.... I think it is just a start and [the lawsuits] will last for a considerable time". Maybe so, but with their recent Microsoft deal behind them, wouldn't it just be wonderful for the news-reading public if the fight continued? Of course, while partnering with the company whose founder may have just cured malaria is an important strategic move, it really lacks the PR cachet of a black turtleneck and brilliant song-selection in ad campaigns. So look for Apple to sue and win over Nexus sometime next summer.