Apple and Nokia settle, sign digital health deal


Apple has settled all disputes with former mobile phone firm Nokia, whilst entering into a digital health deal with the company. 

Both businesses had been locked in a legal battle from December last year due to an expired patent licence contract between the two.

The two parties sued each other, with Nokia accusing Apple of violating technology patents and Apple complaining of being overcharged for their use.

The feud is now a thing of the past with a new multi-year patent licence. The deal is reportedly worth hundred of millions to Nokia through a one-off payment from Apple, plus future costs, to use Nokia's technology. Analysts estimate the total payment to be between £390 - £475 million.

“This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple,” said Maria Varsellona, Chief Legal Officer at Nokia. “It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers.”

The new deal will see Nokia provide Apple with network infrastructure products whilst Apple will continue to sell Nokia's re-branded Withings line in all stores. Both parties may also collaborate on future digital health projects.

For Nokia, rebuilding its relationship with the iOS giant will continue to bring in cash for the only remaining part of its mobile phone business. After selling off its mobile business to Microsoft in 2013, the company held on to patents from its time as a major player in the market.

Although these patents represent a minor part of the firm's income, they are highly profitable, especially considering the aspects they cover are vital for modern day phones. They include methods to conserve battery life and increase radio reception.

Details of the partnership's aspirations in digital health are yet to be detailed. However, the telecommunications services and patents provided by Nokia could prove key to new wearables or devices Apple reportedly has in the making.

The company has filed patents for several devices, including heart monitoring armbands and calorie tracking software. CEO Tim Cook also recently unveiled a prototype continual blood glucose monitor that pairs with the Apple Watch.

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Marco Ricci

26 May, 2017