Samsung declares all-out war on Nokia
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics has been fighting Apple over technology patents for mobile handsets and tablet computers.
Now, it is facing off against Nokia, an important client for its flat screens, about price fixing allegations.
Samsung said it would pursue without compromise a breach of trust case involving the Finnish firm.
``Samsung will appeal to a higher court in the United Kingdom as we aren’t involved in price-fixing for LCDs,’’ said company spokesman Cho Yong-woo.
The Korean company is the world’s top supplier of LCD screens for use in almost all digital devices from TVs to handsets. They are used in strategic products by top firms including Apple, Nokia, Hewlett-Packard and Sony.
A judge recently ruled in favor of Nokia in a London court, allowing the Finnish company to proceed with the price-fixing dispute that has been running since 2009.
Samsung denied that it lost to Nokia after foreign media insisted that Hitachi Europe and Samsung lost their bids to have a U.K. court throw out an anti-trust lawsuit filed by Nokia over the creation of price cartels.
``The latest court ruling means Samsung’s request to dismiss a claim by Nokia asking for compensation from us was dismissed. The U.K. court didn’t rule that Samsung conducted price fixing over LCDs with Hitachi in Europe,’’ said Cho.
Nokia officials in Korea weren’t available for comment.
The European Union imposed a combined fine of $860 million last year on five LCD makers, including Taiwan-based AU Optronics for creating an LCD price cartel.
Sharp of Japan, Samsung and five other manufacturers have previously agreed to pay $538.6 million to settle U.S. antitrust claims filed by indirect purchasers.
``Again, Samsung asked the U.K. court to completely dismiss the claim by Nokia but the issue is still pending," Cho said.
Nokia has been losing its edge in the global handset market as its insistence to keep its own mobile platform has hurt the company due to the rapid rise of Google’s Android software.
Samsung Chief Executive Choi Gee-sung earlier said his firm will sell more handsets than Nokia this year and added he has no big doubt that Samsung will become the world’s biggest handset manufacturer.
By the third quarter of 2010, Samsung had shipped 71.6 million handsets to Nokia’s 117.4 million, claiming a 17.2 percent market share to Nokia’s 28 percent, said market research firm Gartner.
A year later, Nokia continued to lead but not by quite as much. In the third quarter of 2011, Samsung’s handset shipments rose to 78.6 million while the Nokia’s declined to 105.4 million.
This year, Samsung plans to sell up to 400 million handsets globally from 325 million last year. If this happens it would end Nokia’s 14-year dominance of the market.