TechWeek: How Apple Got a Sweet Deal
At least from a public relations perspective, this week wasn't a great one for Apple Computer (AAPL).
The company recalled 1.8 million batteries used in its notebook computers. Rival SanDisk (SNDK), the No. 2 maker of digital music players in the U.S., got a lot of buzz for a new product that, at least on paper, looks superior to Apple's iPod nano, its bestselling model.
And the company agreed to pay Creative Technologies (CREAF) $100 million to settle a patent dispute, essentially -- if not technically -- admitting that it had illegitimately borrowed some of Creative's ideas in designing the iPod's interface.
But PR -- not to mention $100 million -- isn't everything.When compared with the way other notable patent disputes have gone of late, Apple's settlement with Creative starts to look like one of the best ways to handle a bad situation: Faced with a serious threat to a core product, you get your lawyers on the phone with the other guy's lawyers, you throw some money at the problem, and you settle it -- and make it go away. And you get bonus points if, like Apple, you can turn your potential courtroom opponent into a business partner and give yourself a chance to recoup some of your settlement costs. "This is a smart move for Apple," says Scott Marrs, a patent attorney for Houston, Texas-based Beirne, Maynard & Parsons. "Someone really took a hard look at this -- and appropriately so -- and said, 'Let's focus on our future business.' "
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV