Friends close, enemies closer

Maybe we can all get along after all. On Monday Samsung Electronics and Ericsson announced a cross-license deal that puts to rest a legal dispute that erupted after the rivals failed to renew a patent agreement at the end of 2005. According to a Samsung filing with the Korea Exchange, the deal spans a number of 2G and 3G patents the two firms hold--although few if any other terms were disclosed, Samsung did add the détente effectively ends all of Ericsson's outstanding lawsuits in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S.

The news on the Samsung/Ericsson agreement comes as analysts forecast the pending results of a second quarter that saw Samsung make significant gains on Motorola, currently the world's second largest handset manufacturer behind Nokia. With sales surging in emerging markets and Motorola struggling to keep up, conventional wisdom suggests third-place Samsung is poised to close the gap--analysts say Sony Ericsson also experienced a healthy Q2 of its own.

As the old saying says, "My enemy's enemies are my friends"--clearly Samsung and Ericsson came to the conclusion that it makes more sense to end their legal differences and instead channel their respective energies into kicking Motorola when it's down. And more power to them: Winners and losers should make their case for supremacy in the court of public opinion, not in a court of law. That's the way business works when it actually does work. -Jason

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