THE WRAP: Apple loses to Spanish minnow; Samsung takes smartphone lead

Sheila Lam
04 Nov 2011

Apple had its wings clipped in one of a series of patent lawsuits this week, with a small Spanish computer manufacturer overturning a ban on its Android tablet PCs, and Samsung shipping more smartphones than the US vendor in the third quarter.

In what is being billed as a David versus Goliath battle, Spanish computer maker Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá (nt-k) won court backing to re-start sales of an Android-based tablet PC in the country, over a year after Apple successfully had shipments stopped.

The Spanish firm is incensed Apple also pursued a criminal case against it, and says it will now seek compensation for lost earnings and damage to its reputation.

More worrying for Apple is that the Spanish court’s decision casts doubt on its main argument in a similar patent battle with Samsung that has already resulted in the South Korean firm’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 being banned in Germany.

Despite the pressure on its tablets, Samsung topped the 3Q smartphone shipments chart with 27.8 million units sent out the door compared to 17.1 million for Apple, and Nokia’s 16.4 million.

Third quarter results from BT and Chungwha Telecom provided an interesting counterpoint on the importance of cost control. While BT suffered a 10% year-on-year fall in revenue, it grew pre-tax profit 36% by lowering operating costs. In contrast, Chungwha recorded flat profit despite a 9.5% hike in revenue year-on-year, as operating expenses rose 14.9%.

Neither operator will see much growth in voice revenues without capitalizing on new methods of monetization, delegates at the Capacity Asia event in Kuala Lumpur warned.

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