Monday Grok: Samsung out-lawyers Apple, Galaxy goes on sale

Monday Grok: Samsung out-lawyers Apple, Galaxy goes on sale

Just don't bundle that new shiny tablet with Telstra

At last, Samsung gets to sell some Galaxy tablets. Of course, that doesn't mean anyone will buy them. But at least now, with just under a fortnight left until Christmas, it has a fighting chance. More to the point, Apple, for now, has to fight its battles at the cash registers, and not in the Federal Court.

There are more legal shenanigans to come, of course. As to the guts of the case — whether the Galaxy is just a bit too much like the iPad — arguments will be heard again in the new year. But it was always about the timing, and that thin sliver of opportunity before the window closed on the product selling cycle.

For those who still care enough, provides a timeline of how we arrived here. Ultimately, Apple may win the battle but it has lost this war because, by the time the courts decide, consumers will have moved on to the next shiny bauble. Or, as the Herald puts it, if "Apple was granted special leave to appeal against the decision, the Samsung tablet would most likely never have seen the light of day, as, by the resolution of the case, it would have been overtaken by newer products."

Samsung wasted no time getting its ducks lined up after the judgment. Retailers such as Harvey Norman will start flogging the boxes today with prices starting at $579 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and rising up to $729 for 16GB 3G-enabled device. Meanwhile, overseas, the war goes on. In Germany, where the local beaks weren't so friendly to Samsung's plight, the company will start selling modified versions of the Galaxy, while elsewhere in Europe, the company is still trying to get the iPhone 4S pulled from the shelves.

The stuff of nightmares

Imagine discovering dozens, hundreds or even thousands of your customers' details sitting on a publically available Web server, just waiting to be pirated by a mafia, and only providence spared your company from major embarrassment, and your customers from potentially serious fraud. It's the kind of discovery that IT managers dread, but not as much as the conversation with their bosses that follows.

Spare a thought then for the poor Telstra manager, almost certainly some middle ranking communications flack with no personal culpability, who had to manage the news that a slab of the company's customer details were available on the Web for exploitation by any nasty little scammer who happened to stumble across it in Google's search. What’s even worse for Telstra, is it didn't discover the error itself, but rather had to rely on a sharp-eyed Whirlpool user to spot such an error.

Whirlpool, for the uninitiated, is a telco discussion forum that almost single handedly sustains the IT publishing industry in Australia. It does this by driving huge amounts of referred traffic to websites when its users find favour with a particular hack's scribbles. All hail the glorious Whirlpool. All. Hail. Whirlpool.

The information available on Telstra's website was extensive, according to the SMH. "Anyone who visits the page can search Telstra's customer database based on the customer's last name, account number, sales force ID or reference number. They are then presented with detailed information outlining the customer's account number, what broadband plan they're on, what other Telstra services they're signed up to and notes associated with the customers' accounts including in many cases their usernames and passwords. There are also other details about technician visits, SMS messages sent to private mobile numbers and credit check details." The page even came with a warning that the data must not be used for any purpose other than to review the status of a customer's bundle order.

Telstra's response was the only one available to it. It disabled the website, informed the Privacy Commissioner and told the media it valued its customers’ privacy. But, just not enough to secure the information in the first place. There, but for the grace of God....

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments, and, he assumes, a Telstra Bundle Customer. Perhaps Google can confirm that last point for him. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham. Or, refer this column to All. Hail Whirlpool... just don't tell the advertisers.

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Tags data securityTelstrasamsungapple ipadsamsung galaxy

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