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Scott Forstall testifies: live from the Apple v. Samsung courtroom

Scott Forstall testifies: live from the Apple v. Samsung courtroom


It's Scott Forstall's turn to take the stand at the Apple v. Samsung trial, and we're covering it live.

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Scott Forstall
Scott Forstall

Phil Schiller finished up earlier this morning, and now it's time for Apple to call its third witness: Senior Vice President of iOS Scott Forstall. The company has accused Samsung of copying several of the operating system's features, so we're sure he'll have plenty to say. We're in the courtroom covering the trial live, so let's get going (all times in Pacific Time):

11:54 AM Forstall has taken the stand and introduced himself. He's covering his educational background to warm things up.

11:57 AM Forstall is asked how he met Steve Jobs, and delivers an anecdote about how he interviewed for a job at NeXT when Jobs burst into the room. Jobs eventually informed him he would be getting an offer — and that it was expected he would accept the offer.

11:59 AM We're running through the genesis of OS X. "So, the goal of an operating system is to run all of the machine. Basically, drive the machine. And we wanted an operating system that could last for another 20 years. The operating system that Apple had at the time didn't have those legs."

12:01 PM After a brief start, the court is breaking for lunch. We'll be back in one hour.

1:12 PM Judge Lucy Koh has arrived, and Forstall's back on the stand!

1:15 PM Forstall's talking about the origins of the iPad. In 2003 the team was wondering it could make "a beautiful tablet without a keyboard, without a hinge, where you have to fold it like a laptop." In 2004, they had a conversation about phones, and they all felt they hated their phones. "Could we use the technology we were doing with touch that we'd been prototyping for this tablet, and could we use that for a phone... So we took that tablet and took a small scrolling list... We built a small corner of it as a list of contacts.... You could tap on the contact, it would slide over and show you the information... It was just amazing. We realized that a touchscreen of the size that would fit in your pocket would be perfect for these phones."

"Steve gave me a difficult constraint"

1:17 PM Forstall on how he recruited what was then the iPhone OS software team: "So this was a real challenge. Steve gave me a difficult constraint, and that constaint was -- he didn't want, for secrecy reasons, for anyone outside of Apple to work on the user interface... So I had to find people within Apple to work on that. But he told me I could move anyone within the company to that team."

1:18 PM Forstall describes how he would begin by bringing "superstars" into his office and tell them "We're starting a new project. It's so secret I can't even tell you what that project is. I can't tell you who you will work for... What I can tell you is that if you accept this project you... will work nights, you will work weekends, probably for a number of years."

1:19 PM On the internal drive behind the iPhone, Forstall says "We wanted to build a phone for ourselves. We wanted to build a phone that we loved; that was really a computer in your pocket in some ways."

1:20PM He says the iPhone posed a risk to Apple based on sheer resources alone. "We actually moved out the release of other projects because of the people we took off the projects and put onto this [the iPhone]."

"We put a sign on the door that said 'Fight Club'"

1:22 PM Forstall reveals that Apple took over an entire building on the Cupertino campus to develop the iPhone, locking it down with security card readers. They would use colors for product code names — as we heard earlier, "Purple" was the name of the original iPhone — and the development building for the device was called the Purple Dorm. "Very much like a dorm, people were there all the time... It smelled something like pizza, and in fact on the front door of the Purple Dorm we put a sign up that said 'Fight Club'... because the first rule of that project was to not talk about it outside those doors."

1:31 PM We're now diving into some of the iOS utility patents. First up is '163: the tap-to-zoom patent. Forstall describes that the idea for it came to him while using early versions of the iPhone. "I remember as we built the iPhone I spent a lot of time using the early prototypes myself. I would use them to send all my emails, to browse the web. Basically anything I could do on the prototype I would do on the prototype instead of the computer." He then challenged the team to implement the double-tap feature that we saw when the iPhone was announced in 2007.

1:39 PM Forstall is asked if implementing the feature is difficult; he says absolutely. "'Understanding that structure, and the structure the user cares about is a challenge." The intelligence behind centering the content is also difficult, he says. "Center it where it makes sense, but don't go beyond the edge of the document because there's no reason to do that."

1:40 PM Forstall answers affirmatively that he thinks the feature is a standout element — and notes that it was featured in an ad as well. We're now being treated to the iPhone ad where a user browses the New York Times.

1:40 PM That's all from Apple for now. Samsung counsel Kevin Johnson steps up to question Forstall.

1:41 PM Johnson starts by referencing deposition testimony that indicated Forstall was concerned about the iPhone processer speed when put up against competitors — including Samsung's phones. "I had concerns that I wanted to be as fast as possible, yes."

1:45 PM Johnson asks Forstall if he remembers looking at a Samsung phone with a clickwheel control during the design process: the SGH-E910. He does not. Johnson introduces an email from Tony Fadell that was sent to Jony Ive, Steve Jobs, Jon Rubinstein, and Forstall in which Fadell describes his own impressions of the SGH-E910.

Steve Jobs on a Samsung design element: "This may be our answer"

The email chain reveals that Jobs then forwarded the email to Ive again, writing that "This may be our answer — we could put the number pad around our clickwheel."

1:48 PM Another email from Fadell to the team, forwarding a press release for a new Samsung phone. Johnson is suggesting this is "another example" of Apple executives copying Samsung.

1:50 PM It's an email bonanza. A 2008 missive from Apple's Zhang Haining states this his team will be buying several competing phones to compare their feature sets. Forstall frames this as comparing dropped call performance (Haining is in the radios unit, he says).

1:53 PM The jury is now being shown an Apple teardown of the Samsung Galaxy S that covers all hardware and software elements of the product — including a reference to The Vergecast favorite TouchWiz. Johnson is again trying to infer that Apple explored Samsung devices just like Apple's accusing it of doing. He's spending time covering Swype and several features not available on the iPhone, however, which seems run counter to his overall point.

1:58 PM The copies of the exhibits Forstall has in hand apparently don't match the ones being shown in the courtroom. He appears to be getting impatient.

Eddy Cue: "I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one"

2:00 PM Wow. Forstall is shown a 2011 email from Eddy Cue, in which Cue forwarded an article about a journalist dumping their iPad for a 7-inch Galaxy Tab. Cue writes "Having used a Samsung Galaxy [Tab], i tend to agree with many of the comments below... I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time."

2:07 PM Johnson asks if Apple invented the touchscreen. Forstall says he doesn't know the full extent of Apple's patent portfolio — and just like that, Samsung's done with cross-examination.

2:09 PM Apple counsel brings up the Steve Jobs "number pad" email: more specifically, a later phrase where Jobs says "they really screwed this up" with regard to a certain element of the device's design.

2:11 PM Forstall is asked if we'll see any evidence in this trial that Apple, or Apple executives, instructed anyone to copy Samsung designs. "I never directed anyone to copy anything from Samsung." Why not? "We wanted to build something great, and we thought we could build something better than anyone had built. There was no reason to look to them on this."

2:13 PM And that's it for Forstall!