HTC wants to cut a deal with Apple

HTC has changed their stance in their patent war against Apple. It seems that HTC now wants to avoid a drawn out court battle with the litigious industry giant.

According to Apple Insider, an executive with HTC has said that his company isn’t above cutting a deal with Apple.  


That could be because Apple snagged a key win over HTC this month. A judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that HTC violated two patents which belonged to Apple. The dominant iPhone manufacturer has also gone ahead and filed an additional complaint with the ITC against HTC to satisfy its craving for lawsuits.


However, HTC has had recent success against Apple’s lawyers. S3 Graphics won its case against Apple when the ITC ruled that two patents were violated. HTC recently bought S3 graphics for a robust $300 million, which offers them a viable counterattack to Apple’s legal maneuvering.


The latest development shows that HTC might have conceded that a straight up fight might not be good for business. Winston Yung, chief financial officer of HTC, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that his firm is receptive to negotiations with Apple. They also haven’t ruled out ending their legal disputes out of court via a licensing agreement.


“We have to sit down and figure it out,” Yung reportedly said. “We’re open to having discussions.”


He also made it known that his company has had “on and off” deliberations with Apple, before the recent ITC rulings were made. Though he said he is unaware of any official talks between the two companies since the most recent ITC judgments in favor of Apple and S3. Both of the initial decisions are subject to a final evaluation by the commission.


Yung’s statements show that the battle between HTC could end like the fight between Nokia and Apple did. Nokia made a deal with Apple earlier this year after the ITC took their side in an initial recommendation.  


The settlement includes ongoing licensing fees, as well as a one-time payment made from Apple to Nokia. The details of the deal are not known, but last week the company said that it received a $600 million one-time royalty payment last quarter, which suggests that the Apple’s payment was not more than that.


The industry and specifically makers of Android-based devices are watching the legal row between Apple and HTC closely to see what it will mean for the tech business. There is one analyst who thinks that a win for Apple over HTC could establish a high royalty standard for Android devices, much like the $5 per unit that Microsoft gets on the sale of HTC Android gear.


Additional Android handheld makers have backed HTC publicly, and of course they lambasted Apple’s legal attacks. Last week, Acer vilified Apple as an instigator and said that they were starting a “patent war”. Not surprisingly HTC representatives said earlier this month that they feel that Apple would rather file legal complaints instead of competing “fairly in the market.”


Of course that is just mere conjecture on the part of HTC. But if you’re Apple, what good is acquiring power if you never try and use it?