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Android gains on Apple in surging tablet sector: survey
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 5, 2012


Nokia Siemens axes services unit, 1,000 jobs at risk
Frankfurt (AFP) Dec 05, 2012 - Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Finnish and German engineering giants Nokia and Siemens, said Wednesday it will shut down its German networks services unit, putting 1,000 jobs at risk.

"Nokia Siemens Networks is planning to close its German unit Nokia Siemens Networks Services, a network infrastructure services provider in the area of traditional telecommunications... by end-2013 at the latest. The closure will affect 1,000 employees at 16 sites in Germany," the company said in a statement.

The business has never been profitable in the five years since it was set up in 2008, instead running up accumulated losses "in the double-digit millions of euros," Nokia Siemens Networks explained.

"In addition, given the decision to focus on mobile broadband as part of the strategic reorientation of Nokia Siemens Networks, these sort of network infrastructure services are no longer part of our core business," it said.

The unit, NSN Service, specialises in the installation and maintenance of so-called passive network technology such as cables, antennae and other components.

"We have made every effort to make the unit cost-effective on a lasting basis. But the business continues to be loss-making and there is no sign of it ever breaking even," said the head of Nokia Siemens Networks' German operations Hermann Rodler.

"From our point of view, these losses in an business area that is no longer core are unacceptable," Rodler said.

Negotiations were underway with labour representatives regarding the fate of the unit's employees, the company added.

The global market for tablet computers is growing faster than earlier estimates suggested, with Android-powered devices gaining on the market-leading iPads, a survey said Wednesday.

IDC said it boosted its forecast for global tablet sales for 2012 to 122.3 million, from 117.1 million, in large part due to demand for Android tablets and the new iPad mini.

IDC also raised its 2013 forecast number to 172.4 million, up from 165.9 million and said shipments by 2016 worldwide shipments should reach 282.7 million.

"Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower price points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond," said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC.

"Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple's November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season."

IDC now expects Android's worldwide tablet share to increase to 42.7 percent for 2012 from 39.8 percent in 2011. Apple's share is expected to slip to 53.8 percent from 56.3 percent in 2011.

"The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space," said Ryan Reith, an IDC analyst.

"Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform's low barrier to entry on manufacturing. At the same time, top-tier companies like Samsung, Lenovo, and ASUS are all launching Android tablets with comparable to premium products, but offered at much lower price points."

IDC predicts Windows-based tablets, including new devices from Microsoft and others, will gain share from both iOS and Android, growing from one percent of the market in 2011 to 2.9 percent in 2012 and 10.2 percent in 2016.

Apple-Samsung billion-dollar legal duel continues
San Francisco (AFP) Dec 4, 2012 - Apple and Samsung will face off in federal court on Thursday over whether a juror's own legal dispute wrongly led to the South Korean firm being hit with a billion-dollar patent damages award.

At the hearing before US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, Samsung will present a motion to have the $1.049 billion jury verdict tossed out based on the jury foreman's undisclosed legal skirmish with Seagate nearly 20 years ago.

The foreman had worked for Seagate, a technology company in which Samsung owns a small stake, and wound up declaring bankruptcy after a court battle with his former employer.

Samsung hopes to convince Koh that the juror's experience influenced the August verdict, in what amounted to misconduct strong enough to have the outcome overturned.

Samsung also called for Apple lawyers to reveal whether they knew that aspect of the juror's past -- and opted not to share it in court.

In a filing late last week, Apple attorney Mark Selwyn said that the legal team had not been aware of the juror's history with Seagate and argued that deliberations were not tainted by misconduct.

The "lawsuit with Seagate nearly two decades ago is irrelevant to any issue raised by Samsung's post-trial motions," Selwyn contended in the filing.

Koh will hear from both sides in her San Jose, California courtroom, but legal experts caution that the hurdle for overturning a verdict based on jury deliberations is dauntingly high.

The hearing agenda also includes a motion by Apple for an injunction banning US sales of Samsung smartphone models said to contain patented technology at issue in the trial.

Apple asked Koh to ban eight Samsung mobile phones in the US market in the days after its August victory in the patent suit against the South Korean electronics giant.

The request includes phones being sold by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to US customers that were found to have infringed on Apple's patents from its iconic iPhone.

Apple asked the court to ban some of the newer 4G phones from Samsung's Galaxy line as well as the Droid Charge sold through Verizon.

The phones include the Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T model, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile model, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail.

Along with Samsung motions to reduce or dismiss charges, Koh is expected to consider Apple's request for "punitive" damages, which could triple the award.

In August, the jury decided that Samsung should pay Apple $1.049 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features, in one of the biggest patent cases in decades -- a verdict that could have huge market repercussions.

Samsung has depicted the verdict as "a loss" for consumers and contended that Apple had "manipulated" the patent system.

The jury decided the case with over 700 separate claims in less than three days of deliberations.

Samsung had steadfastly denied the charges by Apple, claiming it developed its devices independently. It unsuccessfully argued that Apple infringed on its wireless patents.

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