HTC could drop its planned purchase of S3 Graphics following the ITC ruling favoring Apple

Taiwanese handset maker HTC’s lawsuit against Apple over infringement of S3 Graphics’ patents has suffered a fatal blow (in addition to this one) as the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), which can block the import of products, reversed its earlier decision and ruled in favor of Apple on November 21. The Commission has officially ended its investigation of the case and HTC shares fell 4.9 percent on the news.

And now, Bloomberg reports that HTC “will reevaluate” its planned purchase of S3 Graphics following the ITC ruling.

HTC Corp. will reevaluate its planned purchase of S3 Graphics Co. after the target company lost a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling it brought against Apple Inc. over patent infringement, the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a statement today.

Just yesterday, HTC’s general counsel Grace Lei told DigiTimes yesterday his company “will consider an appeal”. But after closer inspection of the ITC ruling, the company clearly concluded the best course of action is to consider dropping the $300 million acquisition of graphics maker S3 Graphics announced back in June, which only proves this acquisition may have been planned as a leverage in HTC’s other legal dealings with the iPhone maker.

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HTC boss: College kids don’t want an iPhone ‘because their dad has one’

Martin Fichter, the acting president of HTC America, has a daughter down at Steve Jobs’ alma mater, Reed College, where he conducted the very scientific focus group:

On the iPhone 5 hype: “Apple is innovating. Samsung is innovating. We are innovating. Everybody is innovating. And everybody is doing different things for the end consumers. I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacture’s devices. If you look at a college campus, Mac Book Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.”

They also have no interest in dad’s Porsche. Read more

Apple awarded sixth consecutive J.D. Power and Associates Award for top smartphone manufacturer

J.D. Power and Associates has just announced the results of their annual 2011 U.S. Wireless Handset Customer Satisfaction Study. Apple has earned the top-spot on the list for the sixth consecutive time. Apple scored a 838 on a 1,000-point scale with the iPhone, while the runner-up HTC scored a relatively close score of 801. 6,898 smartphone owners took part in the study. As if we already didn’t know, customers are pretty satisfied with Apple’s iPhone, and its 5-star rating for “Ease of Operation”. (via BGR)

Press release after the break:

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Apple to ship 86.4 million iPhones in 2011, blow past Nokia –report

We knew in July that Apple had passed the imploding Nokia for the global smartphone unit lead by manufacturer. However, today Digitimes forecasts that by year end Apple will have sold 86.4 million iPhones by year which will easily best Nokia’s once insurmountable lead (Nokia had over double Apple’s share just last year).

Apple’s smartphone shipments are projected to top 86.4 million units in 2011, up 82% from 47.5 million units in 2010. In contrast, Nokia’s smartphone shipments in 2011 will decline to 74.4 million units from over 100 million in 2010, said Luke Lin, analyst for Digitimes Research.

Just because it almost doubled its unit shipment, doesn’t mean it is game over for Apple, however. Android makers Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei and ZTE all showed better percentage gains though they shipped relatively few smartphones in 2010. Read more

WSJ: Apple’s Board members mulling replacement for Jobs. Jobs: “It’s hogwash”

Just hours before today’s earnings call, the well-connected Yukari Kane, Joann S. Lublin and Nick Wingfield of the WSJ report:

Since Steve Jobs went on medical leave this winter, some members of Apple Inc.’s board have discussed CEO succession with executive recruiters and at least one head of a high-profile technology company, according to people familiar with the matter.

The conversations weren’t explicitly aimed at recruiting a new chief executive and were more of an informal exploration of the company’s options, said these people. The directors don’t appear to have been acting on behalf of the full board, some of these people said. Apple has seven directors, including Mr. Jobs. It is also unclear whether Mr. Jobs was aware

Interestingly, the WSJ actually got a response from Jobs. “I think it’s hogwash.” he said.

According to the report, Board members have even held talks about the company’s leadership with some search firms after those recruiters informally approached them, said three of these people. (…or at least according to voicemails left on their machines?)

It would be shocking if Apple had to look outside its own walls for a successor, at least outside of interviewing for due diligence purposes.  Full article available through Google Plus.
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HTC shares bleed red amid import ban fears

Shares of the Taiwanese Android phone maker HTC fell 6.5 percent this morning following the ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that the company violated two patents held by Apple. The company’s shares had been pretty much in a free-fall throughout last week as well. The agency’s commissioners still have to support the ruling, but investors are already panicking over fears that the ruling will favor Apple. This, in turn, would open doors to ITC’s ban on imports of HTC’s phones into the United States. In response to the crisis, HTC announced a share buy back program worth up to $760 million in an attempt to stabilize its share price and restore investor confidence, reports Financial Times:

The attempt to prop up HTC’s share price appeared to have little effect as the stock fell below HTC’s minimum purchase price of T$900 to close down 3.9 per cent at T$871. The sell-off highlights investor fears that the legal battle could have wider implications for the competitive balance between Apple and Google Android-based phonemakers like HTC, Samsung and Motorola.

HTC is thought to have recently acquired S3 Graphics for $300 million in a bid to secure a stronger ground in its legal dealings with Apple, which filed its patent infringement complaint against the Taiwanese company back in March 2010. That’s not all HTC’s been doing lately in order to buy its way out of this mess…

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