Snapshot Analysis: Storytelling in ...

Apple VS. Samsung

The verdict just came down in the Apple/Samsung legal skirmish.

Apple won ($1,051,855,000 in damages seems like a win to me).

Rewinding the tape, it’s interesting to look back at how Apple initially framed its case. It stands to reason that Apple’s legal team wanted to grab the judge’s attention right from the start in the complaint.

Let’s reverse-engineer that first paragraph of the complaint sentence by sentence:

Apple revolutionized the telecommunications industry in 2007 when it introduced the wildly popular iPhone, a product that dramatically changed the way people view mobile phones.

While we don’t use words like “revolutionize” to avoid the perception of hyperbole, it’s apparently OK in the legal world.

As a disciple of Alexander McCall Smith, I also found the adjectives overdone. I doubt if the judge was going to be more swayed by “the wildly popular iPhone” than “the popular iPhone.”

Reviewers, analysts and consumers immediately recognized the iPhone as a “game changer.”

Worth noting the contribution of Apple’s PR machine to the case in guiding reviewers and analysts to see the product as a “game changer,” a phrase which shows up over 17,000 times in a 2007 Google search on the query [“iphone” and “game changer”].

Before the iPhone, cell phones were utilitarian devices with key pads for dialing and small, passive display screen that did not allow for touch control.

Classic storytelling, contrasting the “what is” (iPhone at the time) with the “what was.”

The iPhone was radically different.

The use of a short line to break the cadence is a nice touch. But again, do we really need the adjective. C’mon fellows, show a little restraint. How would Steve Jobs feel about bastardizing the ad campaign this way?

Apple ad poster with Mohammed Ali

In one small and lightweight handheld device, it offered sophisticated mobile phone functions, a multi-touch screen that allows users to control the phone with their fingers, music storage and playback, a mobile computing platform for handheld applications, and full access to the Internet.

I suspect the attorneys overruled the editing function.

These features were combined in an elegantly designed product with a distinctive user interface, icons, and eye-catching displays that gave the iPhone an unmistakable look.

Once again the heavy hand of adjectives comes to the fore. It’s a pity because they take away from the one deserving adjective, “an unmistakable look.”

I think we can all agree the storytelling techniques in this document leave much to be desired.

Thankfully, if you’re Apple, their attorneys exhibited better court skills.

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