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HTC violated Apple patent; Lightsquared money trouble; AT&T drops T-Mobile merger

December 20th, 2011

HTCThe U.S. International Trade Commission says Taiwan-based HTC’s Android phones violated two Apple patent claims in a ruling that goes into effect April 19.

While this is good news for Apple and its iPhone, it may not be so good for consumers. Of the half dozen smartphones we tested last year (all Android or Windows phones), we like HTC’s hardware the best.

The ITC decision says HTC infringed on Apple patent claims that deal with software to make phone numbers and addresses actionable links.

HTC has said it has created workarounds to the patent difficulties. But the decision will afffect the Droid Incredible, EVO 4G, Nexus One and other HTC phones running Android 1.6 to 2.2, says Gizmodo.

Lightsquared may run out of money

Virginia-based LightSquared, the wholesale wireless network firm, could run out of cash by Q2 2012, according to an analysis of its most recent financial statement by Reuters.

The company, backed by Philip Falcone’s $5 billion Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, had a $427 million loss the first nine months of 2011. The financial statement seen by Reuters notes that the company may not be able to “continue as a going concern,” if it cannot raise additional capital.

Lightsquared is wrestling with FCC concerns that its plans for high-speed 4G wireless broadband services interferes with the GPS spectrum. It has submitted a plan to the FCC to circumvent the problem.

AT&T gives up on T-Mobile merger

At&tJust two weeks ago, an AT&T public relations person approached me with the firm’s position at the time that it was still working on its potential merger with T-Mobile despite dropping its bid with the FCC to focus on U.S. Department of Justice concerns. Yesterday, though, AT&T threw in the towel.

It will have to pay T-Mobile USA owner Deutsche Telekom the $4 billion fee it agreed to pay if the merger fell through, but says it will enter a mutually beneficial roaming agreement with the company.

In a statement, the company said:

“After a thorough review of options it has agreed with Deutsche Telekom AG to end its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA, which began in March of this year.

“The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately.

“The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage.  In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.”

AT&T chair and CEO Randall Stephenson said, ““To meet the needs of our customers, we will continue to invest. However, adding capacity to meet these needs will require policymakers to do two things.

“First, in the near term, they should allow the free markets to work so that additional spectrum is available to meet the immediate needs of the U.S. wireless industry, including expeditiously approving our acquisition of unused Qualcomm spectrum currently pending before the FCC.  Second, policymakers should enact legislation to meet our nation’s longer-term spectrum needs.

 

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