HTC Settles Patent Row With Nokia, But Revenues Fall Again In Q4

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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HTC to focus on mid-range to engineer a recovery as sales slump again

Revenues at struggling HTC fell to NT$42.9 billion (£862m) during the fourth quarter of last year as the company posted a small profit of NT$0.31 billion (£6.2m) in the three months leading up to December 2013.

But there was some good news for HTC, which has also announced it has settled all outstanding patent litigation with Nokia, while the Taiwanese manufacturer is confident that a renewed focus on mid-range smartphones, marketing and, potentially, wearable technology could turn the firm’s fortunes round after a period of decline.

“We will continue to stay focused on making the best smartphone and building a compelling mid-range portfolio,” says Peter Chou, HTC CEO. “Meanwhile, we are going to communicate better with consumers.”

HTC results

HTC-Robert-Downey-JrHTC pointed out deals with China Mobile and an expanded portfolio of mid-range devices as cause for optimism, as well as a number of marketing arrangements and in its outlook for the first quarter of 2014, predicts revenues to be between NT$34 billion (£683m) and NT$36 billion (£723m) –  less than last year.

The patent agreement with Nokia will see HTC pay payments to the Finnish manufacturer, while the two firms will explore future collaboration opportunities. The terms of the deal are confidential.

“Nokia has one of the most preeminent patent portfolios in the industry.” says Grace Lei, general counsel of HTC. “As an industry pioneer in smartphones with a strong patent portfolio, HTC is pleased to come to this agreement, which will enable us to stay focused on innovation for consumers.”

“We are very pleased to have reached a settlement and collaboration agreement with HTC, which is a long standing licensee for Nokia’s standards essential patents,” adds Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia. “This agreement validates Nokia’s implementation patents and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities.”

Despite its hope that mid-range devices will help engineer a recovery, HTC is widely expected to launch a successor to its critically acclaimed HTC One flagship during the first half of 2014, possibly as early as this month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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