Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Are the Android Wars Finally Ending?

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

On Saturday, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and HTC settled their differences, ending another battle in the Android wars.

All we have are broad strokes at this point. In a press release, the two companies announced a "global" agreement that dismisses all current litigation and includes a 10-year licensing pact covering patents held by both companies. All other terms are confidential.

A little history
How important is this deal? Call it the closing of one chapter in a very full book.

Apple first targeted HTC in 2010. About a year ago, the International Trade Commission mostly sided with Apple in ordering a ban on HTC smartphone shipments to the United States. At the time, HTC insisted the ruling was a win because the body didn't rule comprehensively in the Apple's favor. Some patents weren't infringed.

So infringing on fewer patents equals victory? Talk about spin.

Thanks to Walter Isaacson's biography of the man, we know that the late Steve Jobs was out to destroy Android. Patent suits were and still are a part of the strategy. A battle with Samsung is ongoing (but trending Apple's way), while an old tussle with Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Motorola Mobility unit isn't going as well as the Mac maker would like.

Apple's targeting of HTC has been much more effective. Indeed, the company has mostly suffered since introducing its own touchscreen phone in the U.K. a month before the iPhone's first appearance in the U.S., in July 2007:






Year-over-year revenue growth





Returns on capital





Gross margin





Net margin





Source: S&P Capital IQ.
*Trailing 12 months.

Troubling numbers, right? HTC's recent performance is more reflective of Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) than Samsung. The former two have seen revenue decline sharply as latter's sales surged 20%. Samsung's gross margins are also on the rise.

All of which brings us to the question: Are the Android wars ending? Not likely. Instead, the theory posited by Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch seems to be much more on target: Apple couldn't do much more to hobble HTC, so it settled to save money on legal fees.

Meanwhile, the war with Samsung goes on. Will investors benefit? There's plenty at stake: iPhone-related products and services already accounted for more than $80 billion, or 51%, of Apple's fiscal 2012 revenue. Huge component commitments suggest even bigger numbers in fiscal 2013, but there's also a lot more to this story than just handset sales.

To help investors make better decisions about the stock, we've added two bonus reports to our premium Apple research service. Each one addresses a different area of the Mac maker's business, and they're included -- right now -- at no additional charge. Learn more by clicking here

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2012, at 10:20 PM, H3D wrote:

    "Not likely. Instead, the theory posited by Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch seems to be much more on target: Apple couldn't do much more to hobble HTC, so it settled to save money on legal fees."

    I suspect that the agreement will hobble HTC quite enough. HTC won't have got off lightly.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2106488, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/10/2015 5:23:17 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

Today's Market

updated 8 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 17,084.49 33.74 0.20%
S&P 500 2,014.89 1.46 0.07%
NASD 4,830.47 19.68 0.41%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/9/2015 4:00 PM
AAPL $112.12 Up +2.62 +2.39%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
GOOGL $671.24 Up +4.24 +0.64%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: ****
BBRY $7.42 Up +0.13 +1.71%
BlackBerry CAPS Rating: *
NOK $6.98 Down -0.06 -0.85%
Nokia CAPS Rating: **