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I had previously speculated on the probability of a consortium-based approach but one centered around traditional telecom players competing head on, and one-on-one, with the industry’s new Internet-oriented leaders.
I got the consortium part right but the composition wrong. In the end, Apple and Microsoft have made common cause with Ericsson, the wireless industry leader. The pockets of the arrivistes proved far too deep to allow Ericsson to directly replicate its 1999 acquisition of Qualcomm’s CDMA infrastructure assets and critical IPR portfolio on the eve of the 3G era. Ericsson gains a similar strengthening of its position in 4G through this consortium. It has to share its access rights this time round, albeit not with any companies that are direct competitors in its core business of mobile network infrastructure and services.
The two biggest absentees from the consortium are Huawei and Google. But they are big enough that they can bear the exclusion and still be highly competitive - either with cash or further patent development of their own.
ALU and NSN would doubtless have liked some level of involvement but as pure-play infrastructure vendors their exclusion is probably not as detrimental to their prospects as it would have been if they had their own smartphone and devices play.
Samsung is also excluded but already has a very strong 4G IPR portfolio of its own. From that perspective, Samsung loses some part of the competitive advantage that it held versus Microsoft and Apple from this deal rather than emerging as a net loser. And Samsung also retains that IPR edge over Google and many other players in the terminal space.
At first glance this might appear to be an era-defining milestone. Then again, perhaps all it does is reaffirm and encapsulate mobile industry trends that have been evident for the last three or four years.
I was thinking that Ciena did acquire all the optical patents that came along with the MEN acquistion. Did Ciena select and pick only a subset of the optical patents or is "optical" related to someting else here?