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Could Nokia be the surprise winner of Samsung v Apple?

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When the result of Apple (s AAPL) v Samsung came in, it set the technology industry on fire. Did the jury get the decision right? Should a jury have been able to decide the outcome of the case in the first place? What does this mean for Cupertino’s future? For South Korea’s mobile giant?

But amid all the hoopla, there are other players who have a lot to chew over. Just think of the conversations taking place at Google (s GOOG), which as Samsung’s main software partner could be drawing closer to its own action with Apple.

Oh, and then there’s Nokia (s NOK).


A number of reports are suggesting that the Finnish handset maker — troubled in all sorts of ways — may get a surprising boost from the verdict, because it increases the potential impact of its huge library of mobile patents. Nokia has around 10,000 mobile-related patents behind it, built up over the decades in which it assumed (and then squandered) leadership of the mobile industry.

Apple’s $1 billion win, goes the argument, may give it the chance to exert some of the power locked up inside that vault.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, quotes a series of experts who think Nokia will be rubbing its hands in glee.

“The value of the portfolio may now rise, not least because during the court hearing, Apple brought forward a new Nokia smartphone, which runs on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone operating system, to demonstrate what mobile-phone makers can produce without infringing on Apple’s property rights.

“Apple’s lawyers in the trial against Samsung used new Nokia Lumia devices to illustrate that it is possible to make mobile phones clearly different from Apple’s iPhone,” said Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgaard.

Meanwhile others point out that it could help Nokia claw back its place as the world’s biggest handset manufacturer, a position it lost earlier this year. Not only does Samsung have to start worrying at length about aggravating Apple further, but Nokia, remember, effectively won its own legal action against Apple last summer.

MarketWatch, meanwhile mentions the idea that OEMs worried about Android support could shift to Windows Phone (s MSFT), which could in turn help Nokia by grabbing more market share for Microsoft’s operating system and, ultimately, making it easier for new users to come to the platform.

Sami Sarkamies and Daniel Djurberg, senior technology analysts at Nordea, said in a research note on Monday that the ruling is positive for Nokia and Microsoft but that it’s unlikely to change the landscape overnight and not even dramatically in comparison with the situation today.

This is being presented as a big secret, but the truth is that it doesn’t look like much of a secret at all: investors have clearly cottoned on to this thread, and Nokia’s stock price has been climbing since the verdict came in. They hope, I imagine, that Nokia can offset its losses by flexing its patent portfolio and start the comeback in earnest.

But while the promise of jam tomorrow might help Wall Street’s sensibilities, the reality is that it’s a long, long game that is far from sure. Does Nokia have the time, or the inclination, to wait for the world to change?

7 Responses to “Could Nokia be the surprise winner of Samsung v Apple?”

  1. How will Nokia trump Samsung? If WP8 takes off (like this secret suggests it’s going to) then Samsung will just dominate that ecosystem, and Nokia, with cheaper WP8 devices. They can’t lose, irrespective of this Apple decision.

    Agree with the previous comment, Apple winning damages won’t stop Android device sales – ordinary folks don’t care and Google / Samsung will just work around the patents (or simply license them).

  2. Amit Misra

    Yes, Nokia will defiantly emerge as immediate winner ( and it is as stock prices are growing ); However, since the Nokia has been ‘powered’ by Windows Phone and Apple suite also covers portion of Android in its allegation, I feel it will the Microsoft, which is the real winner of the whole screw-up between Apple and Samsung !!!

  3. I’m not sure it could be classed as win for Nokia if they’re just getting extra revenue by now being able to sue more people. It’d be a win if it increased their revenue through actual product sales…unless Nokia intend to pivot to become a technology licensing company!

  4. Mobile Phones Fan

    A bump in Nokia shares is a sign of (yet more) short-seller activity…like a drowned corpse suddenly animated by shark attack. Were it not for the shorts, Nokia shares would be moribund.

    Meanwhile, Android sales will shrug off Apple v Samsung. Anybody who thinks Nokia can make significant inroads against Apple and Google should consider taking anti-psychotics, stat.

    • How does a bump prove short activity? A bump proves BUYING activity, not shorting. If anything it shows the shorts are getting squeezed. Also, considering Samsung is the bulk of Android sales- no, Android sales can’t shrug this off because Samsung IS android. You should become a fortune-teller so at least you can get paid to lie to people. I am 100% positive Nokia will be in the green by Q4. Looking at it from a fundamental, objective standpoint, they will be fine. If you are delusional, you see red where there is green. They already restructured everything and wrote it down. WP smart devices see 100% per quarter gains, and their dumbphones are selling better than last year. Not to mention Nokia-Siemens is now profitable for the first time in a while. What backs your claims? Nothing?

  5. RIcardo

    This says it all “They hope, I imagine, that Nokia can offset its losses by flexing its patent portfolio and start the comeback in earnest.”

    The stock is up only because of that and not from the prospect that Windows based phones will gain a huge amount of marketshare because of the trial’s decisions.

    And that will not happen not now and not in the future.