Nokia says ‘Xiaomi the money’

Nokia’s Chinese whispers continue with the announcement of a business collaboration agreement with Xiaomi, which includes some smartphone patent cross-licensing.

The business collaboration is not, as you could be forgiven for presuming, around smartphones however. Instead Nokia is providing a bunch of networking gear, including IP routing and datacenter interconnect equipment, apparently intended to help Xiaomi serve large ISPs and datacenter players. Who knew?

The smartphone patent cross licensing agreement is also intriguing as the industry was supposed to have got all that stuff out of its system following the patent wars that accompanied the early days of the contemporary smartphone industry. Patent cross-licensing strengthens both party’s patent position, protecting them from litigation and empowering them to take action themselves if the mood takes them.

“Xiaomi is one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with them,” said Rajeev Suri, President & CEO of Nokia. “In addition to welcoming such a prominent global technology company to our family of patent licensees, we look forward to working together on a wide range of strategic projects.”

“As a company seeking to deliver more exciting technological innovations to the world, we are excited at the opportunity to work more closely with Nokia in future,” said Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi. “Xiaomi is committed to building sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders. Our collaboration with Nokia will enable us to tap on its leadership in building large, high performance networks and formidable strength in software and services, as we seek to create even more remarkable products and services that deliver the best user experience to our Mi fans worldwide.”

Having taken the smartphone world by storm a couple of years ago Xiaomi has subsequently been losing ground to other Chinese OEMs like Oppo and Vivo. The collaboration with Nokia will apparently also encompass a portfolio of buzzwordy acronyms, including IoT, VR, AR and AI, so Xiaomi seems to have sensibly concluded that diversification is the way forward. For Nokia this not only furthers its Chinese ambitions but gives its Technology division a bit more patent ammo.

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