Last week, HTC inked a licensing deal with Apple, putting an end to two years of patent litigation between the two companies. Neither released any official details regarding the 10-year package, but that didn’t stop analysts from sharing their opinions (nothing does).
Estimations put HTC as having to pay Apple between $6 and $8 per Android phone it will sell, giving a grand total of up to $280 million per year, depending on HTC’s sales performance.
HTC’s CEO Peter Chou has now spoken out about the settlement with Apple, and while he hasn’t revealed any actual figures, he’s quoted as saying “I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is an outrageous number.” However, he did say he is “very, very happy” with the settlement, and added that it was a “good ending” to the legal battle.
Samsung wants all the details
While speculation on HTC’s end of the deal has been rife, little attention has been paid to the fact the settlement was a joint affair, covering patents for both companies. Samsung, however, has been paying attention.
Following news of the deal, Samsung’s lawyers have asked a U.S. court to force Apple to reveal the contents of its deal with HTC, as it’s “almost certain” some of the patents it has been battling over with Apple have been included – ones that Apple has previous said it would not license.
These prized patents all refer to what Apple calls its unique user experience, something you’d expect it to want to keep all to itself. Except court documents have shown Apple has licensed at least one of these patents to both Nokia and IBM, and now possibly HTC, too.
Ammunition against Apple
So why exclude Samsung? When commenting on the Apple/HTC deal, an analyst for RBS told the Wall Street Journal Apple “no longer considers HTC a threat, but Samsung is a major competitor.” Apple probably doesn’t see much of a threat from Nokia either, and IBM won’t be using the patents for smartphones at all, so it could be happier to sign a financial settlement with these companies.
It’s goal with Samsung though, is to persuade the courts to ban the offending devices from sale. If the contents of the HTC deal can help Samsung avoid such a ban, it needs to move quickly, as Apple’s hearing is scheduled for December 6, where it will ask for eight Samsung smartphones to be withdrawn from sale.
Samsung has recently vowed to continue fighting Apple in court, and won’t be signing any HTC-like deals – not that any seem forthcoming – in the near future either, as according to Samsung’s head of telecoms “we don’t intend to negotiate at all.”