It appears HTC is willing to concede the latest round in the smartphone patent wars to Apple. If Apple deigns to be gracious in victory, obviously.
July saw Apple file a complaint against HTC with the International Trade Commission over several patents related to its mobile devices. The ITC ruled in Apple’s favor, proving Apple is anti-competitive and the USPTO is dumb.
Now, according to Bloomberg, HTC is willing to negotiate with the iPhone manufacturer, with Winston Yung, chief financial officer of the Taiwan-based company stating:
We have to sit down and figure it out. We’re open to having discussions. We are open to all sorts of solutions, as long as the solution and the terms are fair and reasonable. On and off we’ve had discussions with Apple, even before the initial determination came out.
This is a strange statement to make considering HTC is expected to appeal the ITC’s decision. If you were about to launch an appeal against accusations made against you would you then openly talk about how you’d be willing to strike some kind of deal? It immediately suggests you know you’re in the wrong and know you have little chance of ultimately succeeding.
As GigaOM suggests, there is also no guarantee that Apple will be willing to discuss any kind of solution when the company clearly has the bit between its teeth and doesn’t want to let HTC off easily. Apple really doesn’t need the money it could gain from a licensing deal with HTC, so if Steve Jobs and co. wanted to they could take this all the way and put HTC out of business in the U.S.
If HTC goes down in this way then there is a risk that other Android handset manufacturers could go down as well, and that would be devastating for Google. In which case I wonder how long the frustration already felt by the search giant over these smartphone patent wars will boil over into something a little more venomous.