The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung are resulting in lots of interesting material being brought to light; without them, we might never have seen the numerous iPhone and iPad prototype designs that have recently been published. The two companies continue to spat over just what evidence will be exposed as a result of the trial, and the latest to come to the forefront are the results of some confidential user surveys that Apple’s been fighting to keep out of public view.
Despite claims by Apple that it doesn’t use market research to develop products, it’s nonetheless been surveying its own user base for years and compiling statistics and analysis on that data. Samsung wants that info brought into evidence, but Apple’s been resisting. While it capitulated on survey data that comes from non-Apple users, it considers the special access it has to its own user base to be a valuable holding, and doesn’t want information generated as a result of that relationship exposed to the public.
The information contained includes data on “what is driving our customers to buy Apple’s iPhone products versus other products such as the Android products that Samsung sells, what features they most use, our customers’ demographics and their level of satisfaction with different aspects of iPhone“.
Unfortunately for Apple, the judge overseeing the proceedings has denied Apple’s request to keep the documents under seal. Apple will have a chance to appeal the ruling, but for the moment, it’s looking like they’ll enter the record and give us all a chance to see just what Apple users have been telling the company.