The bunfight for Nortel’s patent chest concluded yesterday, with Chief Strategy Officer George Riedel’s announcement that “following a very robust auction”, the winning bid came from a buyer too big for even Google to take on. Following months of speculation and a $900m kick-off bid from Mountain View, the booty has gone to a consortium that reads like a Who’s Who of the tech industry: Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. Even with names like that in the mix, the $4.5bn price paid is still pretty eye-watering or, as Nortel’s Riedel preferred to put it, “unprecedented.”
A ban on the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab in Europe that was put in place earlier this month has been lifted already, albeit temporarily, while authorities investigate the legitimacy of the original ruling. A German court instigated the EU-wide ban (excluding the Netherlands) on the import and sale of the tablet device, after complaints from Apple that the Galaxy imitated its iPad product.
The Nortel patents auction saga took another twist Wednesday when Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis said that his government will hold an investigation into the sale to establish whether it complies with the terms of the Investment Canada Act.
The patent dispute between Apple and Samsung has escalated another few notches with Samsung’s announcement Wednesday that it will seek to ban imports of Apple’s devices into the United States.
Taiwan’s Taipei City Government has accused Google of attempting “to hold Taiwan’s consumers hostage, in exchange for the privilege of refusing to follow Taiwanese law.” The accusation arises from a dispute between Google and Taiwanese regulators that has resulted in the suspension of all paid-for applications in the Android market in that country.
China is Apple’s second largest market for apps, after America. App analysis firm Distimo’s latest report reveals that, while the Asian app market is booming, it’s not exactly a gold rush: free applications rule the roost, with paid-for offerings only driving about a third of the revenue they do in the US.
Microsoft’s bid for Skype has received the go-ahead from American anti-trust regulators, following an “early termination” of a review into the proposed sale. Under America’s Hart-Scott-Rodinho (HSR) Act, certain types of large mergers and acquisitions deals must be submitted for review by the government.
Nokia has announced the settlement of a long-running patent spat with Apple. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will pay an undisclosed lump sum as well as ongoing royalty payments for its use of patents Nokia claims belong to it. Both parties have agreed to withdraw their respective complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
As expected, Steve Jobs took to the stage Monday at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in San Fransico to reveal iCloud, a collection of cloud services designed to work seamlessly with its iOS and MacOS X devices and computers.
As interest in defunct kit maker Nortel’s patent portfolio heightens, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is reported to be taking a close interest in the bidders. Apple is the latest company reported to be interested in making a purchase after Google opened bidding with a $900m offer in April. Now the DoJ is said to be concerned that the patents will be used to stymie competition in the telecoms sector.
Google has announced the open sourcing of its WebRTC framework for real time browser-based video and audio communications. The technology, which Google acquired when it bought Global IP Solutions last year, has been released under a royalty-free BSD license.
As tit-for-tat patent infringement litigation steps up a few notches in the telecoms world, people with a sense of irony will no doubt appreciate the news that Microsoft has signed up as the first member of a new organisation challenging specious software patents. The company that has threatened the likes of Salesforce and TomTom over their use of Linux (which Redmond claims infringes on Microsoft IP – an assertion that has yet to be tested in court) has signed up for Litigation Avoidance, a crowdsourcing service “designed to help companies analyse and act on patents of questionable quality.”
In a week during which the UK distinguished itself as the “Whiplash Capital of Europe” thanks to its rep for filing dodgy insurance claims, The Informer is pleased to note that, in the technology world at least, injury-preventing U-turns have been the order of the day.
While the signs are that the next iPhone will not feature LTE, Apple has “reached consensus” with China Mobile on the use of the carrier’s forthcoming TDD-LTE network for a future iPhone.
We’ve had Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law, now the technology world is doing its bit for re-jigging Newton’s third law of motion: for every legal action, there is an equal and opposite lawsuit.