Apple's Nokia Deal Could Cost Android Manufacturers Too

Apple's patent licensing deal with Nokia may have some additional consequences beyond the immediate effects of the settlement. By agreeing to a long-term licensing agreement with Nokia, Apple gets a lengthly, defensive legal fight out of the way. This allows Apple to focus all its legal energies on major battles with Samsung, HTC and Motorola.

Speaking with the NYTimes, Apple indicates that the settlement is actually a cross-licensing one:

Apple and Nokia have agreed to drop all of our current lawsuits and enter into a license covering some of each other’s patents, but not the majority of the innovation that makes the iPhone unique. We are glad to put this behind us and get back to focusing on our respective businesses.

There a larger, much more strategic victory here as well. By agreeing to pay royalties for Nokia's patents, Apple has set a market price -- and given Nokia's patents serious legitimacy. Apple wouldn't pay anything if they didn't have to, and other companies may not want to fight over turf Apple has already acquiesced to Nokia.


Other companies, notably Android handset manufacturers, may now have to play ball with Nokia on these patents -- and they don't necessarily have the margins to send 1% of gross revenues to Nokia as easily as Apple can. In fact, because Apple has so many of its own patents (some of which it cross-licensed to Nokia) other manufacturers may have to pay even more for the same licenses.

Florian Mueller has suggested just that at FOSS Patents:

Given that Android is in many ways a rip-off of Apple's operating software, Android-based devices are highly likely to infringe on largely the same Nokia patents that Apple now felt forced to pay for.
[...]
This is a sweet defeat for Apple because its competitors -- especially those building Android-based devices -- will also have to pay Nokia, and most if not all of them will likely have to pay more on a per-unit basis because they don't bring as much intellectual property to the table as Apple definitely did.

Apple pays off Nokia, but exposes the competition as well. Competition that doesn't have as much money or intellectual property to barter with.

(Photo by Acaben/Flickr)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
122 months ago
The "winner" of a cross-licensing deal, if you want to think of it that way, is the one who gets paid, in this case Nokia. I doubt that Apple has had trouble because its lawyers are spread too thin, but the settlement is presumably worth it to Apple. They may have expected to owe these same licensing payments anyway as a result of the lawsuits.

It's best for our interests as consumers if companies have strong reasons to do the R&D for new developments, with rights to their patents being one of their incentives. But it's also in our interests to see new developments used in many products, which can result from cross-licensing and even from patent infringement! Somebody (us) ultimately has to pay for it, of course, but I'd rather pay for R&D than for court battles.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
122 months ago

nice headline grabbing BS by our media. It is safe to bet that the other manufactures were already paying the for the patents. I know LG, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and Blackberry already have an agreement with them and most of them have patents sharing with Nokia.

I love the piss poor reporting the media does.

Amen to this. Other OEMs have been making phones way before Apple even came up with the idea of iPhone. They have already settled with Nokia and are paying the license fees, so why would this hurt Android?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
122 months ago
So much hatred against Florian Mueller.

The guy has actually given some good coverage on the Lodsys issues lately.

Don't see the point of such ad hominem attacks. If you have beef with the actual article then say it.

To me it appears the two platforms are similar, so he has a point.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
122 months ago

The patents are described in Nokia filing, they're hardware patents

No they are not. There's software patents as well. Stop spreading rubbish.

For example one of the patents is on "Mobile Station with Touch Input Having Automatic Symbol Magnification Function,"

Which is how the iPhone zooms in on the key when you press it on the virtual keyboard. That's a software patent.

See the actual filing here: http://tinyurl.com/yd4rcop (you have to register with the ITC, but it's free)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
122 months ago

******* Florian Müller.


Real mature.

Really guys, when you read the name Florian Müller you should automatically keep it away from MacRumors. The guy is a paid mouthpiece for Microsoft and nothing else.


Great assumptions.

Whatever he says you can be sure that he paints the bleakest picture possible for any Microsoft competitor. Google and anything related to Google is top of his hitlist because at the moment Google looks even more threatening to Microsoft than Apple does, but that can change any moment when he gets different instructions from his paymasters.


That's true but I don't see any reason why he would be bothered.

This site is supposed to be about rumours. I don't mind a bit of actual fact in between the rumours :D but paid disinformation doesn't belong here.


May be the whole news is wrong and baseless, but it's a good rumour anyway. ;)

"Good coverage"? Florian Müller is the one who advises iOS developers to suck it up and pay the patent trolls. And Android developers should do the same.


I can quote a number of people who said 'paying up' was better than kind of litigation whatsoever.
If I remember right, Marco Arment suggested all developers pay and be happy. Maybe that was a short term solution but was indeed the right thing to do if Apple didn't play the game. Even JohnGruber suggested that Litigation can be a big pain and one can suffer a lot.

I don't see anything wrong with his suggession. Like many others, no one knew that Apple was gonna step in, the way things turned out.

Look, when there is a history of one article after the other by the same author spewing misinformation, by an author who has actually no qualifications whatsoever, and each single article is attacking Microsoft competitors, and in many cases making exactly the same statements that Microsoft makes officially at the same time, then an attack on the person is not "ad hominem" anymore.


Provide links so even I can understand that?

And when I strongly agree with Rodimus Prime, as I do on this point, you can safely assume that he is correct.


Maybe he is, but I think he is too short tempered and abusive some times.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
122 months ago

And Android still has to face the Java lawsuit that might wipe them out.

I am sure many people can't wait.


I guess you'd be all for an Apple dictatorship over the market wouldn't you. Are you sure you're a consultant? :rolleyes:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Six-Foot Drop Test Results: Ceramic Shield More Durable But Not Damage Proof

Monday October 26, 2020 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature a new Ceramic Shield screen that Apple says offers 4x better drop performance. To test that claim, Allstate Protection Plans put the two models through a range of breakability tests and recorded the results. In a face down sidewalk drop test at six feet, the iPhone 12 suffered small cracks and scuffed corners and edges, leaving sharp grooves in ...

Bloomberg: New AirPods and AirPods Pro Coming in 2021, AirPods Studio Delayed, Third HomePod Model Also Possible

Monday October 26, 2020 3:34 am PDT by
Apple plans to update its AirPods line next year with two new models including third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on two new models: third-generation entry-level AirPods and the second version of the AirPods Pro earbuds, according to people familiar with the plans. ...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...