When is spying on your competition’s customers…

…spying on your competition?

 http://www.fastcompany.com/3030772/how-samsung-used-social-media-to-hack-the-iphone?partner

 Part of Samsung’s defense against the suit Apple brought against them for patent infringement dealt with how they got the information about certain aspects of the “user-experience” people were having with their iPhones. Apple tried to argue that Samsung had “reverse engineered” or “hacked” various iPhone components in order to use patented information without compensation, regarding that “user experience”, and several specific patents regarding “look and feel”.

 Samsung, in its defense revealed, in an unprecedented way, that they never actual “reverse engineered” or “hacked” any physical Apple products – they simply ‘data mined’ the online comments of Apple customers (performed by an independant research firm) to find out what customers liked and didn’t like about their iPhones. They then created their own products informed by that publicly available information. This was taken to the point where there were periods of time when Samsung had a better handle on problems and gripes Apple customers had – often in real time after Apple product launches – than Apple did. They then leveraged that to get a head start in getting their own “Apple customer informed” product to the market first.

While the suit has scores of other aspects to it, this particular issue was at the heart of a large chunk of Apple’s case that Samsung “stole” information from Apple’s products and used it without paying royalties in their own products. By demonstrating that information about how the Apple instantiation of several of their patents “didn’t work” in the perception of customers – gathered through publically available data, Samsung argued, by definition, its implementation was “discernable and distinct” enough on its face because customers perceived the Samsung alternative to indeed “work better” and could not be considered to be “the same” as Apple’s (deficient) intellectual property.

 Apple and Samsung have re-opened settlement negotiations… (based on a lot more than this single issue) 

 As to relevance here – is there a way to “game” this?

Either in the sense of “game-ify” the “perception competition” (make it a ‘game’ to the customers to share their perceptions);

or in the sense of representing the perceptions of various elements within involved populations of the “strategic messeging” of the antagonists and the effect thereof…and the ability of each side to “reverse engineer” the perceptions of those populations and exploit that in the “next round” of strategic comms. What role does cyberspace operations have in all that (or is mining online data inherently a “cyberspace” operation? If so it seems an aspect that crosses with “information operations” and “strategic communications”, and a bunch of more mundane marketing stuff…

This could be of considerable relevance to our next Presidential election (if not sooner…)

P.S. another day that ends before I get back to the Fleet Power rules… 😦

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About Paul Vebber

"If you read about something, you have learned about it. If you can teach something, you have mastered it. Designing a useful game about something however, requires developing a deep understanding of how it relates to other things."
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