Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Apple skin

Cheers and jeers are in order. Only not in that order.

Jeers goes to Samsung, whose ultra-slim "Skin" cell phone, it has been discovered,
plagiarized icons from Apple's Macintosh software, along with Microsoft. Samsung has recalled the phones, but has not explained how this could have happened.

Above is a picture of the offending icons: the Samsung icons are in the left column, while the corresponding original Apple icons (including the MS Messenger icon) are in the right column.

To any Macintosh user, that the Samsung icons are a rip-off is plain as day. In the "message" section, we see an icon that looks an awful lot like the icon for Macintosh's TextEdit software. In the "telephone book" section, the Post-It-looking icon is straight out of Stickies, a memo pad-like program found in OSX (Operating System 10, the current Macintosh OS). It even includes a fictitious "555" telephone number.

The magnifying class looks suspiciously like that found in Sherlock, Apple's in-computer and on-line search engine program. Even the Microsoft Messenger icon was likely lifted from the set of icons one would find in Macintosh OSX.

Samsung replied at first that the icons were "inspired" by Apple, as in the way Dan Brown was inspired by those two historians whose names no one knows and who haven't made any money off their own DaVinci theories.

But the Apple community in Korea (note that the explanations of the symbols above are in Korean) kept hounding Samsung, pointing out that the icons were pixel-by-pixel identical. This was not inspiration, this was flat-out stealing.

This is the Apple user community, not the corporation. And that's where the cheers comes in.

This is a group of people who found some corporate wrongdoing and went after it—even though it was against a Korean company in favor of an American one. Now, of course, it could be that fanaticism for Apple trumps nationalistic sentiment for a Korean corporation, but whatever the case, it is Koreans who went after this wrongdoing by other Koreans. Echoes of Dr. Hwang.

As for Samsung, shame on you. How long did you expect to get away with this? Maybe someone there thought that with so few Macintosh users in Korea (thanks to some bad decisions by Apple back in the 1990s, Mac users are still mostly confined to Korea's printing industry) no one would notice your designers had swiped Apple's colorful icons.

But come on, you're a major player on the world stage! Just what the hell was going on there?


  1. The Samsung product designers didn't even bother changing "milk" and "eggs" as if a Korean would jot down an English grocery shopping list.

  2. They would if they were practicing their English.

    And if they were trying to eat an "American diet" in order to speak English better.


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