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Samsung to Apple: 'bring it on, bitch'

Well, well - this Apple/Samsung spat is shaping up to be one of the greats. It's only a week since Apple sued is Korean rival, saying its Galaxy S phone and Galaxy Tab tablets 'slavishly copy' the iPhone and iPad. And now Samsung has suud back, saying Apple has infringed five of its patents, though it hasn't gone into that much detail as to exactly what.

On the surface of things, it's hard to see Apple's point - the Galaxy S does look a lot like the iPhone, but only in the sense that all post-iPhone smartphones have looked quite alike - big screen, few buttons, etc. Apple probably doesn't seriously expect a court to force all other smartphones to be triangular in order to not infringe the iPhone. But a court could rule that Samsung has to give Apple a lot of money. Hence Samsung's counter-suit, which basically says 'you put up with a bit of dodgy from us, we put up with some from you. Do you really want to get into this?'

What makes this super-juicy is that Saumsung isn't just Apple's rival, but one of its key suppliers. In the weird world of tech, everyone makes parts for everyone else's stuff, and Apple spent nearly $6 billion on Samsung parts in 2010. The Korean manufacturer makes memory, storage and even some display parts for Apple, so if this gets really shirty, both companies could see their activities disrupted.

Our guess, though, is that it won't come to that. Instead there'll be a nice settlement and someone will make some extra millions. Hard life.

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