Apple's $1.05 Billion Patent Win May Boost Microsoft, Nokia

Samsung products included several features that are protected by Apple patents, a jury has ruled on Aug. 24. This considerable setback for Samsung could be a major market opportunity for Nokia and Microsoft.

Nokia may prove an unexpected beneficiary of Apple's big win in court. Nokia has an event planned for Sept. 5 in New York City, where it's widely expected to introduce its latest smartphone collaboration with Microsoft using the Windows Phone OS.

A jury aug. 24 awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, after finding that Samsung included several features in its devices that are protected by Apple patents. While happy news for Apple -- which in Samsung has found its only real rival for sales of its iPhones and iPads -- the news is expected to indirectly benefit Microsoft and its biggest mobile backer, Nokia.

Samsung is the world's leading supplier of smartphones. On news of the ruling, which could set back the company to a degree still to be determined, Nokia shares rose 10 percent Aug. 27, Reuters reported.

The timing of the ruling also comes as Microsoft and Nokia make their next big moves. Analysts have anticipated that the pair used the Nokia Lumia 900 to get a foot through the door, and with their next offering -- timed for the winter holiday season -- will make a strong push into the mobile phone scene.

During Q1 2012, Samsung outsold a hurting Nokia and ended the latter's 14-year domination of the mobile market. Samsung now tops the overall list of mobile phone makers as well as the list of smartphone makers. During Q2 2012, Samsung sold 90.4 million devices compared with Nokia's 83.4 million and Apple's 28.9 million, according to Gartner.

Less concerning for Nokia than regaining its title is stopping the defection of its fans to iPhones and Android-supporting brands, which Nokia first sought to address with its February 2011 announcement that it was ending its allegiance to Symbian in favor of Windows Phone. And while a Microsoft emboldened by a down-on-its-luck Samsung is a boon to Nokia, the phone maker also intends to help itself through a number of other partnerships.

"Our aim is to become the 'where' company. Just as Google redefined the 'what' with search and Facebook redefined the 'who' with social media, Nokia intends to redefine the where with mapping and location-based services," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced during a July 19 earnings call, offering a hint of what we might see Sept. 5.

Elop added, "As the lead mobile partner for Microsoft, we plan to deliver competitive smartphones with Windows Phone. We intend to broaden the price point range of Lumia devices to price points both higher for better gross margins and lower for volume. Additionally, we are investing in new materials and new technologies ... for a great consumer experience."

This article was originally published on 08-27-2012
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