Will Apple's Victory Over Samsung Help Nokia?

Yes, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) scored big time last week in its patent lawsuit victory against Samsung. But assuming that verdict holds up under the scrutiny of an inevitable appeal (or if the presiding judge just doesn't throw out the jury's verdict), what will it mean for the non-Android phone makers out there?

Most notably, what effect will the ruling have for long-suffering Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , which decided to forgo Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android smartphone operating system in favor of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Phone OS?

The market talks
For the short term anyway, investors think it will give a boost to the Finnish phone maker's fortunes. Monday opened with Nokia's share price jumping almost 9% on the NYSE and more than 11% during trading hours in Europe.

But can the company take advantage where it really counts, by changing the competitive smartphone landscape in its favor? At the moment, it is far behind in smartphone market share. Android phones had a 68.1% global share of smartphone shipments last quarter, according to research firm IDC. Apple's iOS had a 16.9% share.

But the combined Windows Phone 7 and its predecessor OS Windows Mobile could garner only a 3.5% share. That means Nokia has a lot of distance to make up with its Lumia line of WP7 phones. Even beleaguered Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) BlackBerry has a larger slice: 4.8%.

First Samsung, then the world
Samsung was ordered to pay Apple at least $1.05 billion in damages, which could triple if the willfulness aspect of the patent infringement suit holds up. But the real damage to the Android world -- and the lift to the Windows Phone world -- could come as the result of a potential permanent ban on U.S. sales of the Samsung products that infringe on Apple patents. That would certainly give pause to the other Android smartphone makers out there.

Saxo Bank analyst Peter Bo Klaer told MarketWatch: "Apple is fighting Samsung, but also Android as this is the biggest competing operating system. It is now possible that Apple will turn up the heat on HTC as Android is their operating system as well."

HTC, by the way, is second behind Samsung in terms of worldwide smartphone sales.

Despite the initial optimism from Nokia investors after the verdict, any positive change for Nokia won't happen immediately. But maybe the door has been opened just enough for the company to get its foot in and have the world take a longer look at its Windows Phone offerings, especially with the anticipated launch of its new Windows Phone 8 handsets.

And can Microsoft leverage the Apple-Samsung lawsuit to get other handset makers to give more attention to its Windows Phone OS? This could be the opportunity for the once-dominant tech company to regain much of its past glory with a solid entrant into the mobile-computing world. Anybody thinking about investing in Microsoft shares can't afford to miss this premium Fool report. It comes with a full year of analyst updates and is available instantly.

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns shares of Nokia. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2012, at 7:02 AM, RandomMeaning wrote:

    There is only one thing which will help Nokia: selling a quality phone at a reasonable price supported by a diverse ecosystem of apps that the consumer can rely on being fully supported for the next 2-4 years (like Apple - constant updates for at least 2 years and even beyond 4 like the 3GS), not cut off at the knees because their maker decides to abandon the current line to chase their next executive bonus target.

    For some reason consumers aren't thrilled buying brand new technology with the assurance that this would be the latest and greatest only to be told a few months later that it is now a dead end and would only receive a partial update. Once. Maybe.

    If at all.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft has a long reputation for jumping in with a big splash (Vista Ultimate Extras, Kin, Zune, Plays for Sure, Windows Mobile 6, Windows Phone 7) with lots of grand claims only to quietly let the product die from lack of continued development as MS moves on to whatever new thing catches their interest next.

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2012, at 8:18 AM, XMFDRadovsky wrote:

    RandomMeaning,

    I have to agree with you about Microsoft's history of short attention span product development. For Nokia's sake -- and for those t

  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2012, at 8:19 AM, XMFDRadovsky wrote:

    RandomMeaning,

    I have to agree with you about Microsoft's history of short attention span product development. For Nokia's sake -- and for those that don't want to be trapped in a one-mobile-operating-system-world -- and for its own long-term health, Microsoft should show much more resolve in developing a true Windows Phone ecosystem.

    I don't believe Android is going to be killed off by Samsung's legal setback, but this ripple of wind could fill Nokia's sails long enough for it to gain some forward momentum.

    Let's see what Nokia and Microsoft make of this opportunity.

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