Apple's Apology Anethema

After the disclosure that the recently deposed head of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone development refused to sign a letter apologizing for the buggy map app in the new iOS 6, should we be surprised at Apple's general disdain for the mea culpa?

Another example of Apple's reluctance to admit a mistake comes from across the pond. Last week, Apple posted on its U.K. website a notice that was supposed to state Samsung's design for its Galaxy Tabs did not infringe upon the design of the iPad.

Apple did not post that message out of a new found camaraderie with its South Korean rival. No, a British patent court last July -- instead of banning the sale of the Galaxy Tabs in the U.K., as requested by Apple -- ordered Apple to make it quite clear Samsung was not a design copycat.

Gee, thanks for the compliment
Ironically, Judge Colin Birss disarmed Apple's argument for design rustling by saying the Samsung Tabs were not iPad clones because the Tabs were just not as "cool" as the iPad.

Apple appealed, of course, but lost that case, too, and so finally had to publish its "apology." However, instead of making it crystal-clear that Samsung was not guilty of design thievery, the last paragraph really muddied things up:

However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.

Samsung cried foul, and a U.K. court of appeal agreed, giving Apple 24 hours to put up a new post.

"I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this," Bloomberg reported Judge Robin Jacob saying. "This is a plain breach of the order."

Apple's request for a 14-day period in which to post a revised statement was met with scorn and dismay.

"I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can't put this on" their website, said Judge Jacob. "I just can't believe the instructions you've been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?"

This was seconded by Lord Justice Longmore: "We are just amazed that you cannot put the right notice up at the same time as you take the other one down."

Sometimes it seems Apple can accomplish the impossible, but one thing it just can't seem to do, apparently, is say, "my bad."

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Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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