" ... I’ve mentioned in the past that my experience in business helps me as an investor and that my investment
experience has made me a better businessman. Each pursuit teaches lessons that are applicable to the other.
And some truths can only be fully learned through experience. (In Fred Schwed’s wonderful book, Where
Are the Customers’ Yachts?, a Peter Arno cartoon depicts a puzzled Adam looking at an eager Eve, while a
caption says, “There are certain things that cannot be adequately explained to a virgin either by words or
pictures.” If you haven’t read Schwed’s book, buy a copy at our annual meeting. Its wisdom and humor are
truly priceless.) .... "
1. Each of the Ericsson Patents-in-Suit (defined below) is essential to either the 2G GSM or 4G LTE standard, and Ericsson takes this step only after exhausting all other options to conclude a license with Apple on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory ("FRAND") terms. Ericsson has contractually committed to license its portfolio of patents that are essential to practice certain telecommunication standards ("Essential Patents") on FRAND terms, with an honest intent to conduct its licensing efforts in a manner consistent with the intellectual property rights policy ("IPR Policy") set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute ("ETSI"). This commitment is entered into by means of declaration documents, serving as contracts between Ericsson and ETSI for the benefit of third parties practicing the standard. Ericsson repeatedly licensed its Essential Patents to companies worldwide, resulting in over one hundred agreements in the telecommunications industry alone, in which such companies have agreed to pay royalties to Ericsson in return for access to its global portfolio of patents on FRAND terms.
2. In 2008, Apple agreed to take a license to certain of Ericsson's patents that are essential to various industry standards. Before that license expired, Ericsson for two years extended offers to Apple to renew its license on FRAND terms. Ericsson even offered to arbitrate the dispute over a FRAND royalty for Ericsson's global portfolio of essential patents, and more recently, to enter into a binding determination of FRAND licensing terms for Ericsson's global portfolio of standard-essential patents before a U.S. federal district court. In sum, consistent with its obligations under the ETSI IPR Policy and to the technology community, Ericsson has sought in good faith to conclude a license agreement with Apple on FRAND terms.
3. Ericsson's efforts have failed because Apple refuses to pay a FRAND royalty for a portfolio license commensurate with licenses taken by existing licensees and consistent with the parties' prior license. Apple's gambit is indistinguishable from a "reverse hold-up," in which Apple abuses the protections afforded by FRAND while taking a free license to use Ericsson's patented technology. Such tactics give Apple a substantial, unfair edge over its telecommunications competitors who have agreed to—and who maintain—licenses under Ericsson's global portfolio of patents on FRAND terms. Apple has therefore not fulfilled its obligations to remain a third party beneficiary of the contract between Ericsson and ETSI.
4. On January 12, 2015, without notice, Apple filed a declaratory judgment suit against Ericsson in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking declarations that seven of Ericsson's patents—not at issue here—are either not essential or not infringed. In the event that those seven patents are proven essential, then Apple demands that the District Court determine a special FRAND royalty just for Apple and just for those seven patents-in-suit.
5. In view of Ericsson's much larger portfolio of standard essential patents in the United States and all over the world, Apple's strategy of litigating one standard essential patent at a time could result in perpetual litigation of hundreds of essential patents in dozens of countries, while Apple continues to infringe Ericsson's Essential Patents without paying FRAND royalties. Not only would this deprive Ericsson of revenues necessary to continue innovating, but it could negatively affect Ericsson's licensees, who have agreed to pay royalties on FRAND terms.
6. Such tactics are fundamentally unfair to Ericsson and its licensees, especially where (1) Ericsson's offer is consistent with the parties' last agreement, (2) Apple's competitors in the mobile telecommunications industry have actively licensed Ericsson's portfolio on comparable global FRAND licensing terms, and (3) Ericsson has even offered to arbitrate or litigate a FRAND royalty for Ericsson's Essential Patents in one proceeding before a U.S. federal district court. Ericsson takes this step of seeking the issuance of an exclusion order directed to Apple only after exhausting all other options to conclude a license on FRAND terms.
This week Ericsson filed 7 new lawsuits in the Texas Eastern District and 2 new complaints at the ITC involving a total of 41 standard essential and non-standard essential patents.
Only 1 of the 7 new Texas lawsuits and only 1 of the 2 ITC complaints involve Ericsson's standard essential patents which legally carry FRAND obligations. Some of you will recall that Samsung succeeded in getting an ITC import ban against Apple over some of its standard essential patents, but Apple pulled the right political strings and got the Obama administration to veto the import ban under the FRAND fig leaf.
I suppose the next step in the escalation of this patent war is for Ericsson to launch patent strikes in Europe where I think they have a better chance of getting enough early legal victories to force Apple to the table.
Given Apple's massive resources and crusade against handset-based FRAND pricing, the Texas and California lawsuits could take anywhere from 18-36+ months to complete at the district court level. Then another 1-2+ years for the appeals and another 1-2+ years for the final appeal to the Supreme Court. The ITC cases may work faster 12-24+ months for the administrative judge and another 12-18 months for the full panel ITC review.
As Nokia vs HTC and Vringo vs ZTE have demonstrated, it is possible to get several legal injuctions in Europe in 1-2 years. The UK is particularly interesting because they have an expedited process which could take less than a year. The UK is also where a judge was so offended by Apple's wildly over-inflated sense of the value of its design patents that he ruled in favor of Samsung and forced Apple to publicly apologize to Samsung not just once, but twice after Apple initially issued a mealy-mouthed apology.
I suspect Apple will be in a more docile negotiating position by the time the Nokia deal is up for renewal at the end of 2016 ;-)
Smart location is going to be an essential part of the management consoles of the internet of things. Managing the 50+ billion IOT devices that will proliferate in the next 10 years will not be humanly possible unless you automate the process. The natural starting point for automating those processes will be location. The next generation HD maps that HERE is rolling out has a layer designed to be machine-readable only precisely to hide most of the complexity involved in the new services that will be made possible by wireless connectivity.
The name mewag is his subconscious way of asking if he can wag your tail. Yuck!
" ... Doug also notes, in an email this morning, that Apple “options and shares traded more than any other vehicle on earth yesterday,” even “surpassing activity in all futures, options and e-Minis.”
That “never, ever happens,” observes Doug ... "
" .... Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented," the California tech giant said.
"We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."
Apple added that "we rely on the patent system to protect real innovation and this case is one more example of why we feel so strongly Congress should enact meaningful patent reform ...."
AFP: Apple to appeal $533M patent infringement award
Not only is it a waste of time, water and soap, it irritates the hell out of the jackass too. ;-)
The American Coward (5'8 1/4 inches) vs the Filipino Midget.(5'6 3/4 inches)
The consummate defensive specialist who punches like a very muscular girl versus that rarest of sluggers: southpaw with unusual speed and power.
Early odds are Mayweather -280 (bet $280 to win $100) and Pacquiao +217 (bet $100 to win $217).
That kind of conditionality is not even within the realm of what is remotely possible. Samsung already gave up its right to seek injunctions over its standard essential patents for 5 years as part of its April 2014 settlement with the EU so it doesn't have leverage and has to abide by the rules of binding arbitration
Nokia has probably received close to $100 million in settlements (memory/LCD price fixing) brokered by the EU so its knows how to throw elbows around with the regulators.
Fierce Wireless: 1/28/2015 SK Telecom and Nokia Networks Announce World's First Commercialization of eICIC
" .... The two companies said that, with the commercialization of eICIC, they have also moved a step closer to realizing the next generation network (5G) as eICIC will be an essential technology in the era of 5G where heterogeneous networks* will become more complex.
*Heterogeneous Network, or HetNet, refers to the co-channel deployment of macrocells and small cells with the purpose of increasing the network capacity and coverage ... "
Fierce Wireless: 2/17/2015 Verizon: With AWS-3, we have at least 40 MHz of AWS spectrum in 92 of top 100 markets
"... "Carrier aggregation gives us tremendous flexibility in leveraging our spectrum assets," Melone said.
Interestingly, Melone added that small cell deployments will become an "increasingly cost-effective" way for Verizon to add capacity. He also said Verizon is going to work on using LTE Advanced techniques to improve performance at the cell edge. Melone also hinted at interference mitigation techniques Verizon will use, likely a reference to enhanced inter-cell interference coordination (eICIC), which allows small cells and big macrocells to coexist in the same spectrum and talk to each other. Melone said all of those elements will drive improvements in bits per hertz and cost per bit ... "
Yawn, another dramatic entrance by farhan the drama queen can only mean that there will be another dramatic exit sooner than you think. ;-)
Dude, you are one dull blade.
Good for you. 2013 was considered the year of the connected car so it is still an early stage market. HERE has spent more than $2B in R&D over the last 4 years to get ready for this market.
Organic 10-20% annual sales growth over the next 4 year takes HERE to $1.5B to $2.1B a year by 2018. A growth acquisition here and there in adjacent verticals, and HERE is easily a $2.5-$3.0B software company by 2018.
They typical software company converts 30-35% of every sales dollar into free cash flow so at that revenue level, HERE will be generating $750M-$1.0B in free cash flow
So...........$1.5 to $2.0+B in FCF from Networks. $750M-$1.0+B in FCF from HERE and anywhere from $1.5-$3.0+B in FCF from AT.,,,,Or $3.75B to $6.0+B in annual free cash flow for the Nokia Group. You won't find that many companies growing their FCF like that over the next 4 years.
As I recall, your argument was that Nokia paid too much for Navteq ($8B in 2007 euros) and that HERE has always bled cash (not true) so Nokia should sell it as soon as possible and distribute most of the proceeds to shareholders and be content to become a poor man's Ericsson.
I'm not going to rehash the arguments to refute your key points except to reiterate that, as I pointed out to you, HERE's value will only continue to increase every year partly due the return of sales growth (without the declining internal sales of D&S) and operating margins (due to the normalization of R&D and cost-cutting), but mostly due to the growing market awareness of the size and scope of the connected car and connected city market opportunities. The fact that Apple, with its $170+ billion cash hoard entered that connected car market in some yet unknown capacity last year validates my point.
I also said that I think the natural juncture for evaluating HERE would be at the end of its 4-year licensing deal with Microsoft in 2018. That deal is currently generating between $100-$150 million a year in HERE revenues. A partial spin-off is certainly one of the options available. In fact, I used EMC’s history to show how partial and complete spinoffs (McData-2001, Vmware-2007, and at some point, Pivotal) can very profitable for a company. Acquisitions, however, would be more likely once the Samsung deal comes in.
Right now, however, the greater priority is to use HERE’s patents in the effort to monetize Nokia’s patent portfolio. Against Google Maps, for example, Nokia has shown that it prefers to use its mapping/navigation patents to target the Android manufacturers directly since Google gives aways its maps for free. But against, Apple, Nokia can use HERE’s mapping and navigation patents to target Apple directly especially since Apple is looking to disrupt the traditional handset-based licensing model.
Aside from giving Apple the best mapping/navigation product and 80% of the auto market, acquiring HERE would also give Apple a major weapon to use against Google and the Androids: the Navteq/Here patent portfolio and its cooperative licensing agreement with Trimble Navigation. These patents are considered non-standard essential so there are no FRAND licensing obligations and Apple would be free to exclude others from using those inventions just as Nokia would be free to use them to exclude and cripple Apple Maps when their standstill agreement ends in 2016.
Unfortunately, I don't see Apple offering much for HERE, if anything at all. The Ericsson lawsuit and their actions that preceded it -- patent stalemate with Google, global settlement with Samsung except in the US, the fire sale of Rockstar after Apple spent $2.6 billion for 1,000+ Nortel patents that only included 116 standard essential patents -- suggest very strongly that Apple's top legal priority now is to disrupt the traditional handset-based licensing model of the wireless industry.
That puts them squarely against the interests of Qualcomm, Ericsson, Interdigital and Nokia. That's not exactly the most conducive environment for consummating a multi-billion dollar deal. Unless Apple offers a blockbuster deal of $15+ billion, I would rather Nokia keep Here, manage it towards organic 10-20% sales growth, 20+% net margins and use it as a platform for acquiring faster growing high margin businesses.
What makes Apple a great trading vehicle for the next 2 years at least is the kind of numbers they will be generating - $60+B annual free cash flow to go with $170+B in cash cushion. I don't even think that the iWatch will mach the overheated expectations in terms of the attach rates (5 to 20+%) and in terms of the replacement cycle (unknown, 3-5 years?). I also think that iPay will probably take longer to monetize because of the way they alienated the big box retailers (~30+% of US retail sales.)
Nope, Apple is an iPhone story for the next 2 years. Quite possibly the greatest single product horse that any company can ever hope to ride for as long as possible.
Apple sells the iPhone as part technology and part fashion so obsolescence is always an issue and they ultimately serve a very fickle god in fashion. For example, it wasn't that long ago when the least fashionable of the sexes looked the same -- platform shoes, bell bottom polyester pants, printed silk shirts with the casually exposed chest hair, sideburns , facial hair, etc . Where is that look now?:-))
That presentation is always good to read again. It provides a flexible roadmap for how and where they want to take AT beyond the wireless device space.
Going wireless is a profound phase in the development of the internet. Recent legal developments in the US and China as well as Europe's move to a Unitary Patent Court system may eventually move Nokia, Ericsson and Alcatel Wireless to develop an alternative way of monetizing their wireless technology outside the their traditional markets. In fact, the reality that these European companies still control 65-70% of the $60+ billion a year wireless infrastructure market require them to make that move TOGETHER sooner rather than later.
Apropos, Ericsson and Nokia's ongoing move to monetize their intellectual properties is also a template for most old-style European conglomerates to reinvent themselves by recycling their R&D dollars is another topic for another day..
Makes sense. Royalties are very tactical now for Microsoft now that Windows is no longer first and everything is mobile and cloud. With a growing cash cushion of $90+ billion, MIcrosoft only needs their royalty business to advance their broader objectives (mobile/cloud). Samsung is still 60+% of the global Android market outside of China so Microsoft's growing portfolio of 100+ apps for Android (and IOS) will thrive.
Because of the sheer size of its domestic market and the low penetration rate, India is fast becoming the key to making Xiaomi and the others pay faster. it is a given that the US and Europe will be the most formidable patent gauntlet for these companies but those venues take more time -- with the US taking much longer than Europe.