Mob tells iPhone fans to 'Wake up'

Protest outside Apple Store in Australia is disavowed by Samsung

Samsung's displeasure with Apple can be found in courtrooms around the world, in the mockery of iPhone users in its advertising and this week it spilled into the streets.

Outside an Apple Store in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday afternoon a black bus with the words "WAKE UP" emblazoned on the side pulled up and a gang of some 50 protesters dressed in black poured out brandishing professionally-made signs bearing the Wake Up slogan in white letters on a black background. They converged on the store and began chanting to the startled faces behind its glass walls, "Wake Up! Wake Up!"

Wake Up is a catch line in a Samsung campaign to promote its Galaxy S III Android phone, which is expected to be launched in London next week. In recent video teases for the new phone, Samsung has also implicitly compared iPhone users to conforming sheep.

Samsung denied Friday that it had anything to do with the event, which is being characterized by some media outlets as a flash mob. That seems to be a stretch, since the event appeared to be professionally orchestrated and lacked the spontaneity typically associated with flash mobs.

So far, whoever was responsible for the event isn't stepping forward. Some reports have connected Tongue, a local Australian ad company, to the event. A number of billboards with the Wake Up slogan have been sponsored by that agency which is behind a campaign to promote the S III in Australia.

Samsung's court battles with Apple over who is stepping on whose patents have been well publicized. Recently, though, it appeared the companies might be ready to sit down and settle their differences, albeit at the order of a federal court judge.

Those talks, though, haven't softened the rhetoric between the two firms. This week's protest in Sydney­‑whether Samsung was directly involved in it or not -- and the ads jabbing Apple in the run up to the Galaxy S III show that.

Even Apple's CEO Tim Cook, not known for his volatility, expressed irritation at the behavior of Samsung and others at an earnings event held by the company this week. "I've always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it," he told analysts at the event. "We just want people to invent their own stuff."

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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John P. Mello Jr.

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