April 23, 2013
Nokia Wins Fight To Keep Microphones Out Of HTC One Phones
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The HTC One, which finally arrived in stores in February, was delayed following a shortage of camera components. Now the Taiwan-based smartphone maker could face new component headaches.
On Tuesday Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia won a court injunction that bans rival HTC from using microphone components in its flagship HTC One smartphones. The Taiwanese smartphone maker, which was the first to introduce a Google Android supported device in the fall of 2008, will now have to look elsewhere for components.
This comes after Nokia reportedly dismantled the HTC One and found the high-amplitude audio-capture technology was the same — not just similar — to the hardware found in its own phones.
The ruling this week was made by the Amsterdam District Court and is effective until March 2014. Under the terms of the ban, the maker of the components, STMicro will be barred from selling to HTC. The court reportedly found the parts had been invented by Nokia and manufactured exclusively for its handsets.
STMicroelectronics will have to stick to a year-long exclusivity deal with Nokia, and will pay Nokia $63,000 US for each microphone it sells to other parties, with a maximum of $1,250,000 US.
“This product that was made especially for Nokia couldn´t be supplied to others,” the Amsterdam District Court noted in a preliminary injunction ruling, reports Bloomberg.
However, the ruling won´t reportedly stop the sale of devices out there and HTC has responded that it was “blameless” for utilizing the components, and said it did not know about any contract between Nokia and STMicro.
“We are consulting with STM and will decide whether it is necessary to explore alternative solutions in due course,” HTC said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.
HTC shares fell 3.3 percent to close at NT$268 in Taipei, the biggest drop the stock has had since March 13.
Nokia stands by its claims that the parts were meant to be exclusive to its devices.
“HTC has no license or authorization from Nokia to use these microphones or the Nokia technologies from which they have been developed,” the company said in a statement, as cited by Cnet.
“The injunction prevents STMicroelectronics from selling the microphones to anyone except us, anywhere in the world, until 1 March 2014. Its scope is not restricted to the Netherlands. The HAAC [high amplitude audio capture] technology used in these microphones is Nokia's and there is no alternate supplier,” cited the BBC.
Despite this fact, STMicro — which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland — responded that it will challenge the ruling.
“A decision has been rendered by the Amsterdam Court, prohibiting ST to sell a specific microphone on the open market,” a company spokesman said in a statement. “ST intends to appeal this decision. In the meantime, ST is ready to propose alternative solutions.”
What is surprising about this is the fact that STMicro and Nokia have had a long and seemingly successful relationship as noted in a 2010 joint press release.
“Nokia and STMicroelectronics have worked closely together over many years, sharing concepts and best practices for sustainability, most intensely within the area of environmental protection," said Jean-Francois Baril, senior vice president and head of sourcing at Nokia said in a statement at the time.