Qualcomm says it may not renew license deal with Nokia

Qualcomm reiterated it was not optimistic about renewing a licensing agreement with Nokia, its largest licensee, before it expires in April, according to an Associated Press report.

The Associated Press report quoted the comments from Qualcomm president Steve Altman to investors and analysts in London came less than two weeks after the wireless technology company said it was making little progress in talks with Nokia, the world's largest handset maker.

'The negotiating team is not optimistic that we are going to end up reaching an agreement by April 9, 2007,' Altman said.

Qualcomm shares have suffered this year as rivals intensified efforts to undermine the company's vaunted patent portfolio. Qualcomm is a pioneer of CDMA which is used by many major wireless carriers, the report said.

In London, Altman told investors that he expected the European Commission would soon announce it will continue an informal investigation into Qualcomm's licensing but that a decision on formal charges would take 'many, many months or many, many years.'

'This is a very complex matter and there's a lot of stuff to understand and go through,' Altman said.

In a complaint to the European regulators, Nokia, Ericsson, Broadcom, NEC, Texas Instruments, and Panasonic Mobile Communications said Qualcomm failed to provide essential patents on the latest cell phone technology on reasonable terms and offered lower royalty rates to handset customers who only buy Qualcomm chips.

Altman said these companies contradict their own claims when they tell investors that 3G cell phones with higher data speeds are some of their most profitable products, the report further said.