HTC’s Chou denies Apple settlement estimate reports

HTC chief executive Peter Chou told reporters Tuesday that the estimates around his company’s settlement deal with Apple were “baseless and very, very wrong.”

Apple and HTC did not disclose the terms of the settlement they announced last Saturday, but analysts suggested that it may be costing HTC between $6 and $8 per smartphone — which could amount to between $180-$280 million in annual revenue based on past HTC sales figures.

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According to Reuters, Chou rejected estimates in that range. He added that he wasn’t going to comment on a specific number but that HTC and Apple have a “very, very happy settlement.”

HTC is already believed to be paying Microsoft between $5 and $10 per smartphone; the terms of that deal have not been made public.

Some observers were concerned that the combination of these fees would have a serious impact on the company’s bottom line. But HTC has said it will not change its guidance for the fourth-quarter.

The Apple settlement was the first sign of any cooldown in the patent wars between the Cupertino, Calif. company and those firms that are manufacturing phones that run on Google’s Android smartphone operating system.

HTC was largely seen as the most vulnerable of these companies, as it doesn’t have a particularly strong arsenal of patents at its disposal. While the HTC deal could provide a blueprint for licensing deals between Apple and other Android handset makers, competitors such as Samsung or Motorola have patents that they can use as bargaining chips in cross-licensing deals.

While Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs made it clear that he was not open to settling with Android handset makers, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said openly that he dislikes litigation. He clearly doesn’t shy away from lawsuits over intellectual property disputes, it’s equally clear he’s at least open to the idea of settlements.

 
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