We have heard a lot about HTC’s upcoming M7 smartphone expected to replace the company’s One X line in recent weeks. The rumored 4.7-inch device has some pretty impressive specs, including “several industry firsts,” according to recent reports. However, it certainly doesn’t have an industry-first design, if this new leaked image from UnwiredView is legit, and I think Apple might agree.
The report quoted a “trusted source” and claimed the image above is clipped from “a short animation clip instructing new owners on first-time SIM card installation” for the M7. It’s likely we’ll get our first real look at M7 next month during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Samsung says ‘iPhone would be impossible without its patents’, following ITC’s decision to reevaluate Apple patent case
We reported earlier this week that the ITC would reevaluate its Sept.14 ruling that Apple did not infringe four Samsung patents, with a final decision—that could potentially block imports of the device to the U.S—expected by January of next year. Today, head of Samsung’s mobile and IT division Shin Jong-kyun had some words about the case, following the ITC’s decision to reevaluate the initial ruling. Korea Times quoted Shin as claiming it would be “impossible” for Apple to make handsets without “Samsung-owned wireless patents” and that a new trial or the case is a possibility. Here’s the full quote:
The truth never lies. Without Samsung-owned wireless patents, it’s impossible for the Cupertino-based Apple to produce its handsets,’’ said Samsung’s mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun in a brief meeting with local reporters on his way to the company’s main office in downtown Seoul, Wednesday.
“As you know, Samsung is very strong in terms of portfolios of wireless patents,’’ the executive added.
`”The re-evaluation decision by the USITC doesn’t necessarily mean Samsung is better-positioned for the fight with Apple. But Samsung will do its best,’’ Shin told reporters.
“Samsung’s legal team is effectively responding to this fight. Yes, a new trial for the case is a possibility,’’ the executive stressed. Shin’s remarks were confirmed by its spokesman Park Han-yong.
Shin is the same Samsung executive who made comments earlier this month regarding the recent Apple and HTC settlement, claiming Samsung had no intentions of negotiating or entering a similar agreement with Apple. Today’s report noted that Shin once again confirmed Samsung is not currently in negotiations with Apple related to “a possible peace treaty.”
Last week, analysts and media began speculating the amount Apple will earn after HTC settled its patent lawsuits with the company. The 10-year licensing agreement was believed to be up to $6 to $8 for every Android-based HTC smartphone sold, according to one analyst, but HTC head Peter Chou made clear today that estimates are way too high. According to Reuters, Chou told reporters, “I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is a outrageous number, but I’m not going to comment anything on a specific number. I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending.”
The settlement between HTC and Apple is a first for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. Apple has on-going patent litigations across the world with Samsung and Motorola Mobility, among others. “We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.” Chou said, “HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation.”
On Friday, a press release confirmed Apple and HTC reached a global settlement regarding two patent infringement lawsuits that would include a 10-year licensing agreement and dismiss the current lawsuits between the companies. There was no other information on the deal at the time, but today Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu claimed to have the specifics (via BusinessInsider):
Apple will get $6-$8 for every Android-based HTC phone sold, says Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee… HTC sells 30-35 million Android smartphones annually, so it will generate $180-$280 million in annual revenue for Apple. Since there is no almost cost associated with that revenue, it should be pure profit. But, Apple made $41 billion in net income during its last fiscal year, so it’s not like this HTC money means much.
The Wall Street Journal also reported today that the settlement would indeed include licensing fees.
Funny exchange we missed over the weekend from the Apple vs. HTC courtroom:
When Pender asked whether Apple would be announcing its newest iPhone next week, Apple lawyer Michael McKeon of Fish & Richardson in Washington said he wasn’t told of the company’s plans. “It will be thinner and the screen bigger?” the judge asked. McKeon would only say, “That’s what the blogs are saying.”
ComScore: Ahead of iPhone refresh, Apple outgrew Android and the iPhone took market share from Samsung, Motorola and LG
Today’s comScore report measured the U.S. phone landscape from March to June with some surprising surges from Apple noted. Apple was the only manufacturer to gain market share in the overall handset business by growing 1.4-points in the three months. This is particularly notable because Apple’s iPhone is expected to get refreshed in September.
Additionally, iOS outgrew Android in the three-month span from 1.7-points to 0.6-points (see chart below). The gains by both OSes to a whopping 84 percent of all smartphones measured were at the expense of Microsoft, RIM, and Symbian. On the changes, comScore said:
Following a report on Monday that the ITC blocked Apple’s request for an emergency ban on United States imports of HTC devices, Bloomberg reported this morning that a court in London has ruled against Apple over four touchscreen-related patents—including one covering the iOS slide-to-unlock feature. The four patents in question will also be used in similar Apple and HTC lawsuit in Germany in the coming months.
HTC’s devices don’t infringe four Apple patents for touchscreen technology and three of those patents are invalid, Judge Christopher Floyd said today… While HTC was pleased with the ruling, “we remain disappointed that Apple continues to favor competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace,” spokeswoman Andrea Sommer said… In addition to the slide-to-unlock feature, today’s ruling covered Apple’s patents on tools used to scroll through photographs and change alphabets, and software allowing users to touch the screen in two spots simultaneously.
- Apple’s request for an emergency ban on U.S. HTC device imports overruled by ITC (9to5mac.com)
- Roundup: Judge rejects Samsung’s requests to remove Tab 10.1 injunction, HTC avoids emergency ban (9to5google.com)
- HTC fights ‘slide-to-unlock’ in London as Samsung continues patent war with Apple ahead of settlement talks (9to5mac.com)
The big May 7 uncloaking that revealed Research in Motion is behind the seemingly anti-Apple “Wake Up” flash mob from last week occurred on schedule, but not too many people appeared to care as the steam from the confusing campaign already ran its quick course.
The “Wake Up. Be Bold” marketing scheme unveiled yesterday at wakeupbebold.com by BlackBerry Australia & New Zealand, and it included a Star Wars-like running script read aloud by a narrator prompting viewers and listeners to “Wake up.” Now, less than 24 hours after the brains behind the campaign came to light, RIM announced a newly appointed Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer—Kristian Tear and Frank Boulben, respectively.
HTC fights ‘slide-to-unlock’ in London as Samsung continues patent war with Apple ahead of settlement talks
With court moderated settlement talks between Apple and Samsung executives set to take place within the next 90 days, Samsung has now filed a counterclaim in a California federal court alleging Apple’s iOS devices are infringing eight patents. The counterclaim is part of an original patent infringement lawsuit initiated by Apple in February. Foss Patents reported:
It comes as no surprise that Samsung retaliated with infringement claims. Samsung owns roughly 30,000 U.S. patents. It has from the outset of its dispute with Apple demonstrated its belief that a good offense is the best defense. So far, none of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple has succeeded anywhere on Earth, despite efforts in nine different countries, but Samsung keeps on fighting.
Apple is also in the middle of patent infringement cases with HTC, which just told a court in London that its touchscreen devices, specifically its “slide-to-unlock” functionality, do not infringe on Apple’s patents. Bloomberg reported today that HTC’s lawyers described the functionality in question as “extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques.” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley argued HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents” and claimed, “It is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions.”
If HTC is successful, it could have an impact in ongoing patent infringement related cases with Apple in Dutch and German courts. The report described the functionality Apple claims is covered in the patents:
MOG is a Spotify-like service that streams 14 million songs to your devices and allows you to download music for offline viewing. The free version allows you to stream music against advertising. Meanwhile, the $4.99 version allows you to not only listen to ad-free music but also download music. The $9.99/month version allows unlimited downloads on mobile devices. Today, MOG added one new big device to its list: The iPad.
The iPad version (not universal?) hit the App Store today joining the earlier iPhone version. Perhaps, if you like your music on a native iPad-sized app, it is time to move to MOG (14-day free trial here with unlimited downloads).
Apple becomes the top smartphone vendor in US as Siri helps iPhone 4S outsell iPhone 4 by 75 percent
We saw the Android-iOS duopoly coming last summer. Now, the effects of this incredibly tight chokehold are becoming painfully evident to virtually every handset maker sans Apple and Samsung. According to a fresh NPD survey from this morning, during the fourth quarter of 2011 Android and Apple together accounted for over 90 percent of smartphone sales in the United States. No wonder RIM is sliding fast. The remaining 10 percent is up for grabs.
Apple, which seized the No. 1 crown from Samsung last quarter, and leapt past Samsung and LG to become the best-selling U.S. handset brand, according to NPD. The iPhone maker grabbed 43 percent of all U.S. smartphone sales, while Android devices accounted for 48 percent of devices. First-time buyers prefer Android (57 percent) to iPhone (34 percent). Smartphones in Q4 represented 68 percent of all cell phones in the U.S., up from 50 percent in the year-ago quarter.
Some perspective: HTC today reported fourth-quarter results and blamed Samsung and Apple for a 26 percent income drop. What’s more, HTC devices are nowhere to be seen on NPD’s list of the top five best-selling devices in the U.S.
Read below for more highlights…
Newsweek‘s Dan Lyons reported today that Apple’s “thermonuclear war” on Android smartphone manufacturers is fading fast, while a new rumor surfaced among the suits’ lawyers claiming the company spent $100 million on its initial set of claims against HTC.
Imagine how much Apple spent on other Android makers, such as Motorola (who is near locking Apple products out of Germany in retaliation) or Samsung (the biggest Mobile Communications patent holder in the world), if it spent so much on just HTC.
“Who knows if it’s true, but if so, Apple didn’t get a lot for its money,” wrote Lyons on his RealDanLyons’ blog Jan. 23.
Apple’s legal claims are abruptly junked left and right, and its only minor victories to date are so inconsequential that Android device makers can dance around the momentary obstacles with just a few minor tweaks to products, explained the Newsweek reporter.
The technology giant’s case against HTC with the International Trade Commission began in February 2010, when the Cupertino, Calif.-based company wanted the ITC to block HTC from importing products into the United States. The case originally had 84 claims based on 10 patents, but it was dwindled down to only four claims by the time a judge became involved, according to Lyons.
The rulings —for the most part— were a wash for Apple. One patent was invalid as Apple did not have a rightful claim to it, and HTC did not infringe upon two of the other patents due to Apple apparently not implementing them into its products. In other words, Apple did not have a right to seek an injunction, because ITC injunctions can only occur if it is provable that both parties are “practicing” the patent in question, which Apple could not demonstrate against HTC…
UPDATE [Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 7:46am ET]: The article has been updated with a paragraph added to the bottom with a statement from HTC CEO Peter Chou saying his company is “testing” new devices meant to avoid the sales ban.
The International Trade Commission just ruled in favor of Apple in the Apple vs. HTC patent lawsuit regarding mobile devices [PDF document]. HTC was found guilty of violating Apple patent 5946647 that is described by Google Patent Search:
A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. The analyzer server receives from an application running concurrently data having recognizable structures, uses a pattern analysis unit, such as a parser or fast string search function, to detect structures in the data, and links relevant actions to the detected structures. The application program interface communicates with the application running concurrently, and transmits relevant information to the user interface. Thus, the user interface can present and enable selection of the detected structures, and upon selection of a detected structure, present the linked candidate actions. Upon selection of an action, the action processor performs the action on the detected structure.
HTC has violated products. The ruling involved the phone’s software, and it is subject to an import ban on April 19, 2012. The ITC said HTC could continue to ship replacement devices for currently shipped products. Obviously, a ban on certain HTC products is a major blow to the company, and because this is software-based, other Android device manufactures should not be too pleased. You can read the ITC’s full ruling through the The Verge.
Taiwanese handset maker HTC’s lawsuit against Apple over infringement of S3 Graphics’ patents has suffered a fatal blow (in addition to this one) as the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), which can block the import of products, reversed its earlier decision and ruled in favor of Apple on November 21. The Commission has officially ended its investigation of the case and HTC shares fell 4.9 percent on the news.
And now, Bloomberg reports that HTC “will reevaluate” its planned purchase of S3 Graphics following the ITC ruling.
HTC Corp. will reevaluate its planned purchase of S3 Graphics Co. after the target company lost a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling it brought against Apple Inc. over patent infringement, the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a statement today.
Just yesterday, HTC’s general counsel Grace Lei told DigiTimes yesterday his company “will consider an appeal”. But after closer inspection of the ITC ruling, the company clearly concluded the best course of action is to consider dropping the $300 million acquisition of graphics maker S3 Graphics announced back in June, which only proves this acquisition may have been planned as a leverage in HTC’s other legal dealings with the iPhone maker.
Martin Fichter, the acting president of HTC America, has a daughter down at Steve Jobs’ alma mater, Reed College, where he conducted the very scientific focus group:
On the iPhone 5 hype: “Apple is innovating. Samsung is innovating. We are innovating. Everybody is innovating. And everybody is doing different things for the end consumers. I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacture’s devices. If you look at a college campus, Mac Book Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.”
They also have no interest in dad’s Porsche.
J.D. Power and Associates has just announced the results of their annual 2011 U.S. Wireless Handset Customer Satisfaction Study. Apple has earned the top-spot on the list for the sixth consecutive time. Apple scored a 838 on a 1,000-point scale with the iPhone, while the runner-up HTC scored a relatively close score of 801. 6,898 smartphone owners took part in the study. As if we already didn’t know, customers are pretty satisfied with Apple’s iPhone, and its 5-star rating for “Ease of Operation”. (via BGR)
Press release after the break:
We knew in July that Apple had passed the imploding Nokia for the global smartphone unit lead by manufacturer. However, today Digitimes forecasts that by year end Apple will have sold 86.4 million iPhones by year which will easily best Nokia’s once insurmountable lead (Nokia had over double Apple’s share just last year).
Apple’s smartphone shipments are projected to top 86.4 million units in 2011, up 82% from 47.5 million units in 2010. In contrast, Nokia’s smartphone shipments in 2011 will decline to 74.4 million units from over 100 million in 2010, said Luke Lin, analyst for Digitimes Research.
Just because it almost doubled its unit shipment, doesn’t mean it is game over for Apple, however. Android makers Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei and ZTE all showed better percentage gains though they shipped relatively few smartphones in 2010.
Just hours before today’s earnings call, the well-connected Yukari Kane, Joann S. Lublin and Nick Wingfield of the WSJ report:
Since Steve Jobs went on medical leave this winter, some members of Apple Inc.’s board have discussed CEO succession with executive recruiters and at least one head of a high-profile technology company, according to people familiar with the matter.
The conversations weren’t explicitly aimed at recruiting a new chief executive and were more of an informal exploration of the company’s options, said these people. The directors don’t appear to have been acting on behalf of the full board, some of these people said. Apple has seven directors, including Mr. Jobs. It is also unclear whether Mr. Jobs was aware
Interestingly, the WSJ actually got a response from Jobs. “I think it’s hogwash.” he said.
According to the report, Board members have even held talks about the company’s leadership with some search firms after those recruiters informally approached them, said three of these people. (…or at least according to voicemails left on their machines?)
It would be shocking if Apple had to look outside its own walls for a successor, at least outside of interviewing for due diligence purposes. Full article available through Google Plus.
Shares of the Taiwanese Android phone maker HTC fell 6.5 percent this morning following the ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that the company violated two patents held by Apple. The company’s shares had been pretty much in a free-fall throughout last week as well. The agency’s commissioners still have to support the ruling, but investors are already panicking over fears that the ruling will favor Apple. This, in turn, would open doors to ITC’s ban on imports of HTC’s phones into the United States. In response to the crisis, HTC announced a share buy back program worth up to $760 million in an attempt to stabilize its share price and restore investor confidence, reports Financial Times:
The attempt to prop up HTC’s share price appeared to have little effect as the stock fell below HTC’s minimum purchase price of T$900 to close down 3.9 per cent at T$871. The sell-off highlights investor fears that the legal battle could have wider implications for the competitive balance between Apple and Google Android-based phonemakers like HTC, Samsung and Motorola.
HTC is thought to have recently acquired S3 Graphics for $300 million in a bid to secure a stronger ground in its legal dealings with Apple, which filed its patent infringement complaint against the Taiwanese company back in March 2010. That’s not all HTC’s been doing lately in order to buy its way out of this mess…
Yesterday’s victory in the ITC courts may have seemed like good news for Apple in giving it the upper hand against its Android carrying foe. But, even if the ITC courts hold up the ruling on Apple’s two broad ranging patents from the mid-90s,
- U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data.”
- U.S. Patent No. 6,343,263 on a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.”
..it likely won’t be able to stop HTC from selling its popular Android line in the US. HTC has a recently acquired ‘Ace in the Hole’…
CNET reports that the International Trade Commission has officially ruled that phone maker HTC has violated two of Apple’s patents related to iPhone technologies. This blow to HTC opens the door to a potential ban on imports of HTC products into the United States. Apple initially filed 10 patent violations against HTC, but increased that amount by five earlier this week. HTC obviously does not agree with the ITC ruling and provided the following statement:
HTC will vigorously fight these two remaining patents through an appeal before the ITC commissioners who make the final decision,” said Grace Lei, general counsel for HTC. “This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings.
As we know, Apple and Samsung (and Motorola too) are currently in a similar situation with Apple claiming multiple patent violations against the company. The twist in the Apple and Samsung case is that Samsung is counter-suing by claiming that Apple is violating Samsung’s patents.
There are only a few possibile endings if Apple wins HTC case. Either the two companies settle (with Apple taking home some more of HTC’s money – Microsoft already takes $5/phone and Oracle is looking for some more) or HTC stops selling Android devices. In all likelihood, if the ITC does not agree with HTC’s appeal, the two technology heavy weights will work out some settlement. Cha Ching!
More on the patents below:
In case you’ve any doubt left, you can forget the notion of AMOLED screens in the next-generation iPad, there simply aren’t enough components to go round — indeed, Apple competitors who made the leap to the tech are already facing steep component shortages.
There’s an inevitability about all this. Even as Apple competitors attempt to leapfrog iOS devices by fielding more advanced technologies in their gadgets, they forget the need to serve mass market products up in reliable quantity.