Focus on Nokia



Mobile Manufacturer Roundup--Nokia
Welcome to the second half of my mobile manufacturer roundup. I've already covered Apple, Palm and Motorola; this week I'm looking at Nokia.

The latest statistics show Nokia is the manufacturer to beat. The company made 30 percent of all GSM phones in 2006, second only to Ericsson, and Nokia's joint venture with Siemens is likely to be a multi-billion dollar affair.

However there is one potentially serious problem on the horizon: Nokia is currently in an escalating patent dispute with Qualcomm, a company known for aggressively defending its intellectual property.

Nokia's existing cross-licensing patent agreement with Qualcomm is set to run out Monday and both sides are playing hardball. Nokia is challenging the 4.5 percent per-device royalty it pays in order to use Qualcomm's W-CDMA 3G chips. This morning Qualcomm filed a new patent infringement lawsuit against Nokia over GSM-related technologies. Qualcomm has previously sued Nokia twice for infringing one of its numerous telecom patents. If neither side blinks, this situation could escalate into "Armageddon," to quote Qualcomm Chief Paul Jacobs. - Eli

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