Apple/HTC peace deal could spook other Android manufacturers

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As peace breaks out in one tentacle of Apple's global Android assault, with HTC reaching an accord with the Cupertino-based tech leviathan, rival handset and tablet makers may be wondered what the implications are for them.

While many in the tech industry, lawyers excepted, would welcome the cessation of the near-endless patent disputes, the agreement between Apple and HTC may cause as many new arguments as it resolves.

Both HTC and Apple have remained tight-lipped about the workings of their licensing agreement. But according to the Wall Street Journal, sources familiar with the matter say the upshot is that HTC is paying Apple

With HTC enduring a torrid time of late, it was perhaps always the most likely of the Android handset makers to do a deal with Apple. For its part, Apple may also have been happy to quieten its Android war on one front, leaving it able to concentrate on bigger battles.

But the deal itself has important ramifications for other makers of Android smartphones and tablets. HTC has set a precedent. It has suddenly become a good degree harder to argue Android doesn't need licences.

It may be some time before the likes of Samsung, or the Google-owned Motorola can thrash out a deal with Apple – all parties have certainly had enough time to concoct something palatable to all. But the HTC/Apple pact does show it is possible to devise agreeable licensing deals, and provides alternative models to interminable patent cases over increasingly obscure technologies.

12 Nov 2012

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