Good artists copy but Great artists steal: Apple Versus Samsung (Picasso or Jobs ? )

Good artists copy but Great artists steal: Apple Versus Samsung (Picasso or Jobs ? )

So let’s get the quote thing straight: It was Picasso that came up with the quote.


“Good artists copy but Great artists steal” -Picasso

N O T  Steve Jobs. But around the web (and for our category “Forums All Kind of talk)  the geek fight of Apple users Versus Samsung users goes and goes and some seem to know how to handle google and a book better than others (in the quote department).

Picasso truly embodies this quote, as he did in fact “steal” ideas from his colleague, Braque. Though Picasso is probably best known for establishing Cubism, Braque was always a step ahead of Picasso. However, Picasso was much more of a prolific painter than Braque, so Picasso would work through a concept that Braque had come up with much faster than Braque himself. For example, Braque was the first one to begin using faux-bois (fake wood pattern) that was so crucial in the development of synthetic cubism, but it was Picasso who used it to attribute a different meaning to the pattern and further the idea of synthetic cubism. So it is undeniable that Picasso was a savvy artist, to say the least. Not to mention all the African Art that Picasso supposedly invented.

Merely copying isn’t particularly creative work, though it’s useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work, and it may even revolutionalize the “stolen” concept.

But note that there’s a difference between flat-out plagiarizing and meditating very creatively on an earlier artist. See below for a good example of the latter:



But the fun around the web on this discussion goes on and on :

“Hello.” shut up.. in fact Jobs said “good artists copy, great artists steal” the phrase was not originaly from him, but is the form that he thought.

Some products like ipod are inspired from Braun products , What do you say about?

Apples copied to app clock a iconic Swiss watch, What do you say about?

Apple copied too, Its the fact.

Linkhak on 04.30.13 4:38p


It’s a matter of degree. First, Apple didn’t “copy” any Braun products. Ive is a student of Ram’s design philosophy; he adheres to Ram’s principles of design and endorses the notion of simplicity as honest design. Rams has praised Ive for his work at Apple, so on that point you’re essentially wrong.

That Apple copied the Swiss clock design (not a watch design) is true, but this is a good illustration of the degree to which Apple may copy and its competitors copy Apple. Apple copied the design for a clock face, which is subsequently licensed. But Samsung copied Apple’s entire UI, and published a 120+ page document dedicated to the task.

We measure things in terms of degree. The degree to which Samsung copied Apple is exceptional, and far above any amount that Apple has ever copied from any company..

bobrovsky on 04.30.13 5:24p

It’s not the case that Samsung has made its products better. The hard work has been done by Google, which has steadily improved Android as a viable iOS competitor. Samsung’s hardware is subpar in many respects: lower quality screens (pentile), lower quality material construction, and so on. Samsung’s software has been universally assessed as poor, and its design language is muddled.

In any event, since Samsung hasn’t ever created or contributed meaningfully to the development of a product category, the comparison between Samsung and Apple is very inappropriate. The issue here is one of degree. Apple has certainly taken an iterative approach, but Apple has been primarily responsible for setting the course of multiple product categories. Conversely, Samsung has undertaken wholesale duplication of Apple’s products without making any iterative improvements.

Unfortunately Apple failed in its attempt to remedy Samsung’s behavior in court, and somewhat surprisingly, Samsung has used the lawsuits to its advantage in the media and in its marketing (including its shady marketing, such as paying students to talk down competitors like HTC and Apple). What is less surprising is that Samsung has been emboldened in its shameful copying, and we should probably expect the trend to continue.

But we can still call a spade a spade. Samsung is a shameless copyist.

bobrovsky on 04.30.13 9:02a


Arguably the only device that really copied Apple was the Galaxy S with original firmware. It was a shameless iPhone 3GS knock off, looking similar on the inside and outside. Since then though, about the only thing you can call them out for is the TouchWiz launcher and its grids of icons, but even that has been improved vs. the Apple counterpart.

Having owned an iPhone, Windows Phone and many Android phones, it seems clear to me that everyone innovates off everyone else. Samsung might have pushed this rather far, and suffered for it, but let’s not forget that Apple borrowed the slide to unlock from Neonode, nicked the pull-down notifications from Android and appropriated the industrial design from Dieter Rams. They didn’t do any of it first – they were just the first to wrap it all up into a coherent mobile package.

Personally I’d like to see Samsung get away with a slap on the wrist in this one. The court needs to send a message to Apple that they can’t sue their way out of a stagnating product line, and that it’s OK for innovation to build on the work of others. Like Steve Jobs used to say – “good artists copy, great artists steal.”

ref1ux on 04.30.13 9:11a



“good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Unfortunately this is not what Steve Jobs meant at all. He was referring to designers and product engineers taking inspiring from other facets of life and putting those essences into product designs – not simply taking the work from one company and repackaging it into another company. Good artists copy nature. Great artists steal nature.

Please don’t attribute quotes if you don’t understand what they mean.

And no, Apple didn’t take Xerox’s GUI. If you know the history, you will know that Xerox’s GUI work, while highly innovative, was very incomplete and certainly not consumer-facing. Even if Apple’s GUI was a derivative of Xerox, it iterated to a large extent on it, making the contribution meaningful – in the same way that Windows was a meaningful derivative. What Samsung has done in terms of its software layer is not meaningful in any way.

bobrovsky on 04.30.13 9:40a


So Samsung were copying S.Jobs by insisting to copy nature in their Galaxy SIII and Nature UX they have going on. Holy Crap it’s worse than we all thought!


greatestNothing on 04.30.13 9:42a


No, that was just Samsung designers trying to be creative but falling flat. Also drugs.

bobrovsky on 04.30.13 9:43a


Wow. There are some misunderstandings here.

1st paragraph: and the Galaxy S2 was a copy too. If you follow the news, you can see they still copy today (example: samsung wallet), it is very frequent.

Apple borrowed the slide to unlock from Neonode

No they didn’t. It is completely different. I still don’t understand how people can think they are the same thing.

nicked the pull-down notifications from Android

… which existed before as a jailbreak tweak.

and appropriated the industrial design from Dieter Rams.

Jony says he’s inspired by Rams’ work. But he didn’t copy anything. The philosophy is the same, not the products. Even if he copied, it would be design elements from totally different products (thermostat, speaker, turntable) that are 40years old! Dieter Rams is honored by Jony’s work.

they were just the first to wrap it all up into a coherent mobile package.

Few new things + implementation of unheard, uninteresting things + good execution and various improvements = new innovative product.
Innovative product + slight changes to make it different (and worse) = shameless copy/Samsung.

Personally I’d like to see Samsung get away with a slap on the wrist in this one.

So HTC, Nokia and Sony continue to struggle and the market becomes a duopoly?
Apple will be fine whatever the result is. The lawsuit is important for the other companies.

The court needs to send a message to Apple that they can’t sue their way out of a stagnating product line

Yeah, please tell me how other companies (Samsung especially) were more innovative than Apple.

Like Steve Jobs used to say – “good artists copy, great artists steal.”

You don’t understand the quote. Please google it. And it’s not from Steve Jobs.


“Marketing isn’t the only key to sales, and if they really are just sloppy clones, then /why are people buying them if they cost the same as an iPhone?/

There’s no doubt Samsung borrowed liberally from Apple, especially in the early android days. And likely they deserve to pay (though the outrageous award in this trial is suspect), though they gained more from this trial than any marketing push in terms of mindshare and branding of their Galaxy brand.

IMO they provide a lot of features the competitors within Android don’t, and they aren’t shooting for the same kind of design qualities Apple and HTC are these days, rather they focus on user end features of design. There are some merits, though Samsung is riding partly on google’s design strength by simply being the best marketed and overall consistent android product in terms of branding.”

UtopiaNH on 04.30.13 4:19p

“Samsung phones are cheaper, especially when you factor in storage and repairs.

However, the Galaxy S3 sold millions fewer units than both the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5.

Samsung spends the most on marketing which is one of the largest drivers of sales.

Also, many people prefer Android to iOS.”

MadMen on 04.30.13 6:11p


Read this article:

Samsung spends far more than any of its competitors in marketing, promotions, and advertising.

bobrovsky on 04.30.13 6:14p


You have obviously never had an original idea then I guess. While I think some of the patents are ridiculous and I am a fan of Android, I feel Samsung went completely out of their way to copy, the original Galaxy S looked like a KRF. It is one thing to be inspired by another but something entirely different when they flat out copy down to the finest detail. The original galaxy S was so blatant. It even took icons and superimposed them on a rounded background. Many of these copies unnecessary to compete. It is like Huawei copying Cisco, they even copied the grammatical errors in the manuals.

mola2alex on 04.30.13 5:02p

Samsung wrote a 130+ page report on how to copy the iPhone. There were no such reports presented for any of samsungs other competitors. I can’t believe that people are still trying to deny that Samsung was guilty of this.

jayfehr on 04.30.13 2:06p

As in:

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