Motorola to Samsung: You nicked our idea

Technically Incorrect: The company tweets that Samsung stole one of its "cool features." The Twitterati pile on.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Harsh words. Hey, how about a lawsuit?

Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Honestly, sometimes these tech types behave like artists.

Fits of jealousy, tantrums of torment and, worst of all, accusations of thievery pepper their world.

This week, as Samsung launched its rather fine Galaxy Note 7, one of its rivals was not pleased.

Motorola hissied away on its Twitter account like this: "In what galaxy is it okay to steal competitor phones' cool features?"

Could the company possibly have been referring to the Samsung Galaxy? I think it could.

In case someone had no idea what the company was talking about, it added the hashtag #TheOriginalAlwaysOnDisplay.

I imagined Judge Lucy Koh steeling her patience for yet another lawsuit involving Samsung and alleged stealing.

Is Motorola right? Or, when it comes to stealing, aren't all companies doing it and telling themselves it's merely "borrowing" or "finding inspiration in"? (After all, the LG G5 has a similar feature.)

Samsung's phone really is always on, but you have to unlock it to get a peek at notifications. Motorola's version of the feature doesn't keep the display on, but when you get a notification the screen lights up to alert you. You can also wave your hand over the screen in an abracadabra manner to activate it.

Still, Motorola seemed to feel self-righteous about this.

Until, that is, people began commenting on its tweet and suggesting that old Nokia phones like the 808 PureView had this feature.

Then Windows phones became part of the discussion too. As one tweeter mused at Motorola: "HUH? @lumiaUS#windowsphones have had that feature 4 years. Question: why did YOU steal it? #glancescreen."

And then it appeared that pretty much everyone in tech was a thief. Some Twitterers pointed out that Symbian, an OS once favored by Nokia, may have had the original idea.

One comment put it like this, Symbian "was nokia, Lumia was nokia so the same company stole it from themselves lol."

Samsung politely declined to comment. Motorola didn't respond to a request for comment.

Such accusations, though, are unlikely to ever disappear.

Surely you've heard that Steve Jobs stole the idea of a mouse from Xerox? And where did Apple's brilliant idea of having a phone with a much larger screen come from? It can't have been Samsung, can it?

The winners might get the spoils, but the losers are still free to whine -- and if it so moves them, sue.

Democracy is a wonderful thing.