Details are light, but the companies do note HTC "will make payments" to Nokia, and that Nokia's "licensing offering" for OEMs will now be strengthened by the inclusion of HTC's 4G LTE patent portfolio. Nokia and HTC also say they'll "explore future technology collaboration opportunities."
Nokia shares have shot higher in afternoon trading. The company has been widely expected to step up its IP monetization efforts in the wake of the Microsoft deal, which eliminates Nokia's need for smartphone/tablet patent cross-licensing.
A Munich court has placed an injunction on the German sale of all HTC (HTCKF) Android phones deemed to be infringing a Nokia (NOK -0.8%) patent covering the transmission of resource data between devices via Bluetooth or NFC.
The German ruling follows U.S. and U.K. court wins by Nokia in its legal battle against HTC, as well as a separate injunction (related to a USB patent) from a Munich court. Nokia can enforce the new injunction by posting a €400M ($550M) bond or security deposit. HTC will almost certainly appeal the ruling, and might also attempt a workaround involving Wi-Fi-based data transfers.
Documents from HTC's (HTCKF) patent row with Nokia in the U.K. may just have let slip the release date of the company's next flagship device, which is rumored to be named the "HTC One Two."
A document released by the court notes "Nokia has adduced evidence which suggests that the launch date is in the first quarter of 2014 and possibly as early as February 2014. HTC has not contradicted this."
Although speculatory, TNW observes "If accurate, it would mean that the device is due to arrive a little ahead of HTC's usual cadence; the HTC One was released in late March this year."
As if things couldn't get worse for HTC (HTCKF), a judge in the United Kingdom has handed down an injunction against the HTC One Mini in a patent lawsuit brought against HTC by Nokia.
The ban will go into effect Dec. 6. HTC faces the risk that the HTC One will also be blocked from sales; the judge in the case has given the manufacturer a chance to appeal given the "considerable" damage an injunction on the flagship model would cause. Until the second hearing comes to a conclusion, HTC will have to suspend imports.
HTC's case is predicated on the argument that the infringing hardware component is too small to justify an outright injunction of the entire product.
After a dismal Q3, HTC (HTCKF) sees more of the same in Q4, forecasting revenue of NT$40B ($1.4B) vs. analyst expectations of NT$52.2B ($1.8B).
A local analyst noted, "HTC One was a good phone but faced supply chain problems, now HTC One Max has no supply troubles yet it's not a strong product." The HTC One Max is a phablet-sized version of the original One and was launched back in Oct.
Gross margin is seen at 19%-21%, with the company aiming to cut opex to NT$10B or below (compared to NT$13.1B in Q3 and NT$15.3B in Q3 2012).
Shares are down 7%, the daily maximum swing, in Taiwan trading.
The FT reports Amazon (AMZN -1.3%) is partnering with struggling HTC (HTCKF.OB) to bring a line of smartphones to market. A source claims one of three devices discussed by the companies is "at an advanced stage of development." But another cautions there's no guarantee the product will be released, and the paper adds a 2013 launch is unlikely.
TechCrunch reported earlier this month Amazon is working on two smartphones - a high-end model with four cameras and a 3D UI, and a low-end model with software similar to that found in Kindle Fire tablets.
Any Amazon smartphone would have to contend with both strong competition from Asian Android OEMs (particularly on the low-end), and (assuming Amazon once more uses its own OS and app store) a lack of access to the Google apps/services provided to other Android vendors.
HTC (HTCKF.OB) unveils its first phablet smartphone, the One Max, which sports a burgeoning 5.9" display as well as a back-of-the-phone fingerprint sensor. Many of the details of the offering had leaked previously.
"Essentially, the One Max is a very large version of the 4.7-inch HTC One released earlier this year," observes GigaOM. However, the site has gripes over the One Max's use of the Snapdragon 600 processor (while Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 and LG's G2 sport the 800) and weight, a hefty 7.65 oz (versus the 5.93 oz Samsung competitor, albeit with a larger screen).
HTC will begin rolling out the phone later this month, but has not yet provided details on pricing or availability in the U.S.
Bloomberg reports Microsoft (MSFT +0.3%) is talking to struggling HTC (HTCKF.OB) about adding Windows Phone support to the OEM's Android hardware "at little or no cost." It isn't clear whether the phones would simultaneously run Android and Windows Phone, or simply give users the option of choosing one of the two.
In addition, the news service reports Steve Ballmer met with other OEMs last week during a Chinese trip to drum up Windows Phone support. The report suggests Microsoft is intent on maintaining 3rd-party hardware support for WP (Q2 smartphone share of just 3.7%, per IDC) in the wake of the Nokia deal; not everyone is convinced they'll be able to.
HTC (HTCKF.OB) posted a wider-than-expected net loss of NT$2.97B ($101M) in Q3 (consensus of NT$1.71B). It is HTC's first loss since 2008.
Revenue slumped 23% Y/Y to NT$54B. The sting was taken out of the results by the company's results warning in July (which guided for revenue of NT$50B-NT$60B), and shares traded up 1.5% in Taiwan on the official results.
A Taipei analyst captured the confusion seeped into HTC's attempted reorientation: "HTC needs to figure out if it just wants to focus on the high-end market or the mid- to low-end segment, and right now it is missing out on both."
Q4 promises to be difficult, with HTC planning only 1 new model vs. the much larger pipelines of competitors like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei.
HTC (HTCKF.OB) has sold back the 25% stake it held in Beats Electronics for $265M, DealBook reports, and will reap a pre-tax profit of $85M. HTC sold the other 25% it held back in 2012 for $150M. The move comes in conjunction with a $500M investment in Beats by Carlyle that values the company at more than $1B.
Beats also repaid a $150M note to HTC. The beleaguered phone manufacturer has seen revenue, earnings, and its stock slide, and the sale is aimed at bolstering its balance sheet.
By severing ties with HTC, Beats will be better positioned to determine its own fate (the company develops speakers and audio systems for HTC phones), DealBook comments. HTC retained licensing rights when it sold the first part of its stake in 2012, but it is an open question whether this transaction has the same provisions.
HTC (HTCKF.OB) is developing its own mobile OS for the Chinese market, the WSJ reports. HTC's operating system would have the potential advantages of better integration with Chinese apps like Weibo and a shared native language with Chinese consumers.
The move also has the prospect of allowing Taiwanese HTC to forge stronger political ties in China. The country's technology ministry said the country's mobile industry was too dependent on Google's Android in March.
Others have tried HTC's path in the past and failed. Acer's efforts were rebuffed after Google claimed its OS was merely a modification of Android and threatened to stop working with the company. And Samsung's Bada OS encountered a lukewarm reception and has been rolled into Samsung's new Tizen OS efforts.
HTC phones don't infringe on four Apple (AAPL) patents related to touchscreen technology, and three of those Apple patents are invalid, according to U.K. Judge Christopher Floyd. The patents in the case were: slide-to-unlock feature, tools to scroll through photographs and change alphabets, and functionality to touch the screen in two spots simultaneously. It's not an insignificant defeat for Apple.
The U.S International Trade Commission refuses Apple's (AAPL) request for an emergency customs ban on HTC Android (GOOG) devices, but the agency is looking into whether redesigned phones from the Taiwanese handset maker still constitute infringement of Apple's "data detectors" patent.
Samsung may not be interested in buying Research In Motion (RIMM), but RIM could still be an attractive target to other Asian smartphone makers looking for a way to better compete against Android. Possible suitors include LG Electronics (LGEAF.PK), HTC and ZTE, which don't have their own platforms.
MicroMax. Spice. Tianyu. Those are a few of the hundreds of unknown small cell phone makers that sell more units than Apple, LG and Samsung combined - 153M phones - across the developing world. It's a wild, fragmented market where any number of today's tiny companies could be tomorrow's giants.