Well now no one saw this coming, at least at this point in the Patent War. Apple and HTC has published a joint statement announcing the settlement of the patent dispute.
Writing for FossPatent, Meuller had this to say about the settlement:
[quote] The settlement is surprising and unsurprising at the same time. The timing wasn’t expected since neither party had massive leverage over the other, though the upcoming preliminary ITC ruling I mentioned could have significantly strengthened Apple’s position. HTC (including its entire corporate group including S3 Graphics and Via Technologies) had not enforced even any patents against Apple, and Apple was only enforcing a single-patent U.S. import ban, not because its case was weak but because most of its claims had not even come to judgment after al of this time. But it makes a whole lot of sense that Apple would settle with HTC, and that HTC would accept the terms Apple has imposed (which were not disclosed but are likely somewhat onerous), prior to other Apple-Android settlements. Both companies simply have other priorities to focus on.
For Apple, the competitive challenge it faces from Samsung and from Google’s plan to use Motorola Mobility’s patents to reach a point of mutually assured destruction are far bigger issues. If Apple wanted to be embroiled in litigation with a third Android device maker, HTC would no longer be the choice at this stage — Amazon, for example, would be a higher priority. And while HTC didn’t have to fear much from Apple’s litigation in the nearest term, it probably knew that it couldn’t win this fight in the long run, and it now needs to focus on its business. It recently lost market share and reported disappointing financial results.[/quote]
I concur with the points Mueller made above. Apple would be better serve focusing on fighting against Samsung, who has now become their biggest competitor in the smartphone space.
This deal also make mockery of Google’s stands that Android is free.
Here is Mueller take on this subject:
[quote] Today’s news of a global settlement of all litigation pending between Apple and HTC, based on a ten-year license agreement, is huge. It is, however, already the 15th patent license deal involving Android to have been announced (there may also have been some secret deals). Each and every one of those deals reduces to absurdity Google’s claim of Android being “free”. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.[/quote]
HTC and Apple Settle Patent Dispute
All Patent Litigation Between the Companies Dismissed
TAIPEI, Taiwan and CUPERTINO, California–November 10, 2012–HTC and Apple® have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
‘HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,’ said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.
‘We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,’ said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. ‘We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.’