Samsong

Apple talks tough to handset makers

March 9, 2010: 7:26 AM ET

The HTC lawsuit capped blunt talks that have reportedly shaken their faith in Google

Oppenheimer's Yair Reiner issued a behind-the-scenes report Tuesday that sheds a lot of light on the patent suits Apple (AAPL) filed last week against HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker.

Citing "industry checks," Reiner writes that:

"Starting in January, Apple launched a series of C-Level discussions with tier-1 handset makers to underscore its growing displeasure at seeing its iPhone-related IP [intellectual property] infringed. The lawsuit filed against HTC thus appears to be Apple's way of putting a public, lawyered-up exclamation point on a series of blunt conversations that have been occurring behind closed doors.

"Our checks also suggest that these warning shots are meaningfully disrupting the development roadmaps for would-be iPhone killers. Rival software and hardware teams are going back to the drawing board to look for work-arounds. Lawyers are redoubling efforts to gauge potential defensive and offensive responses. And strategy teams are working to chart OS strategies that are better hedged."

The story, as Reiner tells it, actually began a year earlier, in January 2009.

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