Apple VP Phil Schiller Described iPhone as a 'Bet the Company' Product

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller told a jury on Thursday that the iPhone was a "bet the company" kind of product. The marketing executive testified in the retrial for damages in a patent infringement victory trial against, where he said that all of Apple works on iPhone today in one way or another.


Apple SVP Phil Schiller

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller

Apple and Samsung are re-arguing the damages portion of a guilty verdict that found Samsung guilty of willfully infringing on several of Apple's design and utility patents. The original jury awarded Apple US$1.05 billion, but the judge struck down $450 million (later reduced to some $410 million), and ordered a retrial for that portion of the damages.

In coverage of the retrial, CNet reported that Mr. Schiller took the stand with just 11 minutes left in Thursday's session, essentially just enough time to be introduced to the jury. He also began painting the picture of what a big investment Apple made in figuring out how to do a touch interface correctly.

"There were huge risks [with the first iPhone]," Mr. Schiller said. "We had a saying inside the company that it was a 'bet the company' product...We were starting to do well again in iPod...Then here we're going to invest all these resources, financial as well as people, in creating this product."

In a separate article, CNet reported that Mr. Schiller argued that copying one feature was as damaging to Apple as copying 50, saying, "At the end of the day, there's a cumulative effect of doing all of this that's incredibly damaging."

"This was an incredibly important time," he said. "As this [infringement] has been occurring, it's harder for us to get new customers and bring them into our ecosystem."

Throughout the trial Apple has argued that figuring out how to make a touch interface intuitive was very difficult, and that by copying Apple's patented inventions, Samsung was able to skate to billions of dollars in revenue and profits. In the damages retrial, Apple has been arguing that it is entitled to damages for lost profits, as compensation for profits Samsung earned, and for royalties.