Mar 282012

As a young man, I never owned a car, but I had several high school friends who had them gifted to them by their parents. One friend in particular had an annoying habit of using access to his car as a dealbreaker when deciding among our group of friends what a particular evening’s activities should include. His catch phrase was “if you don’t want to do x, maybe you should walk”. Coincidentally, we haven’t spoken since I was in high school.

Nokia reminds me a lot of my car dick-swinging high school friend. The issue involves what the future standard for the nano-SIM should be. Apple has a proposal, which, as you’d expect, is for a device about as small as you can make it, a design that if approved the company would license royalty-free. A consortium made up of Nokia, RIM and Motorola (three names almost synonymous with innovation) has a competing design, which one would assume it has no intention of allowing to be used without coughing up some dough to keep their dying companies afloat. The decision about which design will be approved lies in the hands of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Suffice it to say, Nokia wants their design to win out over Apple’s, claiming Cupertino’s submission “does not meet ETSI’s technical requirements and which would be inferior for consumers and the mobile industry”. Thanks for looking out for us, Nokia.

Not content to let a standards body make a decision based on the merits of the nano-SIM’s design alone, Nokia has now threatened to pull licensing from standards-essential patents it holds that “may be essential to Apple’s proposal ” if Apple’s design should be chosen.


What a humorous little temper tantrum. First, check out the balls on Nokia in speaking for the ETSI when it claims the design “does not meet ETSI’s technical requirements.” Isn’t that the ETSI’s job? But then trying to ice a standards board by threatening to pull your FRAND patents if the ETSI votes wrong? If that was my kid, they’d be sitting in the time out chair to think about their behavior. For a year.

For Nokia’s part, they claim that “This decision has no impact on Nokia’s existing commitments to license its standard essential patents under FRAND terms to earlier adopted ETSI standards.” I wonder if the EU courts will see it that way.

Once again, we see that companies who fear Apple’s innovation have to resort to a tactic of “taking their ball and going home” if decisions made by an impartial third-party don’t go their way.

What a bunch of dicks.

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