Samsung's loss Friday in a U.S. lawsuit brought by Apple Inc. has set an amber light before the future of the Google-backed Android operating system.
More than a year of courtroom fights between Samsung and Apple mean more than just patent disputes between the arch-rivals in the world's smartphone and tablet computer markets.
Also at issue is Apple's claim that the Android operating system, which runs on Samsung's smart phones, illegally copies software and design from its flagship products -- the iPhone and iPad. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs is on record stating he would seek to destroy Android.
Certainly, Apple's win has far-reaching implications throughout the industry, affecting in particular Android's dominance in the lucrative smartphone and tablet computer businesses.
In the second quarter of this year, seven of every 10 smartphones sold around the world utilized the Android system.
Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea has played a leading role in Android's popularity. The company sold close to 50 million smartphones from April until June, half of the total worldwide sales of Android phones, according to market survey firms.
That is the reason Google provided legal advice and other help to Samsung in the lawsuit, industry sources said.
"In that sense, Apple did not target Samsung alone in this case. It is staging a fight against Android," a source said.
Chances are high that Apple, emboldened by this triumph over
Samsung, will seek to put pressure on other makers of Android phones such as Taiwan's HTC and South Korea's LG Electronics.
Although Android may stay alive, its users could face a huge amount of royalty payments, which could herald the fall of Android smartphones.
Such a crisis for Android would provide an opportunity for Windows Phone, a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft.
Nokia, a Finnish phone maker, has already stepped up efforts to recover its market share with a new smartphone model using the Window Phone system. (Yonhap News)