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Apple v. Samsung ends in $1bn damages; U.K. court takes a different turn
The biggest trial of the year was between the two mobile super-giants: Apple v. Samsung. It ended with Samsung having to pay more than $1 billion in damages to the iPhone and iPad maker after its products were found to have "copied" the iPad's rounded rectangle design.
However, the U.K. case took an entirely different turn: Apple lost, and Samsung prevailed. Apple was forced to put a notice on its Web site and in newspaper advertisements to 'apologize.' When it ran a statement on its Web site, Apple embellished the statement with additional, non-court sanctioned comments, which landed the firm in even more trouble. It then had to formally -- and clearly -- apologize a second time around, and eat a boatload of humble pie.
But the Apple v. Samsung news wheel continues to spin, and though the trial is over, there are plenty more nooks and crannies that the litigious companies can find themselves in, in the near future.
Google acquires Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn; price tag rises post-sale
After going back and forth to regulators around the world, the Chinese government finally accepted the deal that would see Google buy smartphone maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in order to acquire more than 17,000 patents. Google needed the patents -- above all else -- to help fend off litigation by Apple and others, who continue to sue Android-powered smartphone makers, such as Samsung, while avoiding suing Google flat-out.
Because the now Google-owned division was struggling financially, Google had no option but to restructure the entire business. All in all, the cost of the sale was bumped by a further $340 million -- pushing the overall price tag close to $13 billion.
For now, we still have no idea if the sale was worth the full almost $13 billion, but the courts will soon decide. In the Microsoft v. Motorola (Google) legal spat, a court will decide how much Microsoft should pay Google in royalties for patents that it owns.
Ultimately, this trial will determine how much the Motorola patents are actually worth, meaning Google has far less leverage with its other patent partners that could lead to the search giant generating far less in deals with other smartphone makers.
"Don't use Huawei, ZTE," says U.S. House committee
That was the simple message by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee after the two Chinese telecommunications equipment makers were not proven of any wrongdoing, but enough suspicion fell on the firms to err U.S. businesses on the side of caution. The firm even said -- albeit in a self-commissioned report -- that it was not engaging in espionage in any country it operates in, and isn't under the thumb of the Chinese ruling party.
Despite the problems stateside, British Prime Minister David Cameron still welcomed Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei into Downing Street after Huawei pledged to invest $2 billion into the U.K. economy. Some weeks later, a U.K. parliamentary committee said it would launch its own probe into the Chinese technology giant's relationship with the U.K.'s largest telecoms provider, British Telecom (BT).
Only months after the U.S. House gave its verdict, a Huawei-shaped hole appeared in the U.S. telecoms market, and Helsinki, Finland-based Nokia Siemens Network -- with its own money troubles -- was ready to fill that gap as a safe bet for U.S. companies.