How Apple Plans To Define The Industry Standard In SIM Cards

Last week we reported that Nokia, Motorola and RIM were squaring up to Apple over a disagreement about the future of nano-SIM cards. Now, Apple is proposing that its patented design could be used for free, by anyone -- dependent on one, rather large, condition.

Currently there are two competing nano-SIM card designs, and Motorola, Nokia and RIM are nervous that Apple's design might win out and lumber them with expensive ongoing licensing costs. Apple's response to ETSI, the European Telecoms Standards Institute, is simple.

According to Foss Patents, Apple is happy "to grant royalty-free licenses to any Apple patents essential to nano-SIM, provided that Apple's proposal is adopted as a standard and that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity."

So, while Apple might be happy to make no profit from the concept, in return it demands an increased dominance and power over the market. Here we go. [Foss Patents via Engadget]

Image by Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock



    Nothing's free when it comes to Apple...

      can you name any other brand which provides free things?

      yeah, didnt think so.

        I think you just got told...

          Oh, and add Sun Microsystems and Mozilla to that list...

        Virgin. They give me free microSIMs to replace my old SIMs. Mozilla give me FireFox for free. Lots of companies in the professional audio market give away fully functional, though simplified, versions of their products. e.g. Kjaerhus have a whole collection of free effects plugins that are excellent.

        Google Search, Google Maps, Google Translation, Google Earth, Google Sky, Google Goggles.
        Perhaps Deshan has found a way to pay Cupertino for these free services.

          No, I think Deshan is an Apple fanboi who's used to paying too much for everything, and is so indoctrinated into the Apple way that he is simply incapable of understanding that any other corporations might actually be less greedy.

        facebook, dropbox

        Kellogs. Lots a fun toys in their cereals.

    Hmmmm...Buyer beware. Just like dealing with a dodgy car saleman. Actually, they make car saleman look respectable

    It's all about money when it comes to Apple. I'm afraid its that simple.

      It's a BUSINESS. That's kinda the point.

      And someone doesn't understand how business economics works.

    It would be a devil's bargain, very clearly. Pretty fatal for the industry, but very weird for them to offer it because it would be so disadvantageous to take.
    "Here, have our designs for something you've already got and along with that, which you don't need, now you'll have to give us free access to all your other goodies! And we will still sue you over other stuff if we feel like".

    Quite insane. I wouldn't expect Apple to accept terms like that either.

      It's not like if Apple's design isn't taken, sim-cards will just sit as they are. Nokia & co also have plans for changing "something you've already got." Either way a smaller sim-card is in the works.

    This would be a mistake. One companies' patented idea does not a standard make. It's been a bad idea in the past (Intel/Micro dominance) and it's bad idea now. Particularly with Apple's attitude towards sharing and patent trolling. I thought the EU had more sense than this. They've taken Micro to court over IE and slapped Samsung AND Apple both down over patents. I know it appears this will be open-licensed, but you can bet Apple will turn it to its' advantage somehow.

      "One companies’ patented idea does not a standard make"


        This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    Apple has tried and failed to do away with SIM cards altogether when the Telcos banded together against the move. It will be interesting which way the various Telcos will go with this one, I am sure there will be a lot of pressure and incentives given by both sides in order to gain support for 'their' Nano-SIM.

    “to grant royalty-free licenses to any Apple patents essential to nano-SIM, provided that Apple’s proposal is adopted as a standard and that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.”

    For consumers the terms seem seem quite good though? It'd mean the card was adopted as a standard and that all the companies who have any interest in its patents offered it royalty free. The terms seem pretty reasonable to me? Isn't the whole point of this ongoing debate to lock down on a standard anyway and if Nokia etc win, surely they would want the same outcome also?

    Sure sure.. you can have it.. just bend over and take it up the ***, worship us as your true and only gods and you can have it.. for free.. naturally it is for free..

    I don't see much of a problem here. SIM cards are 3rd party devices, phones don't ship with them. For manufacturers it is just a protocol to work to, like DirectX or anything else. Why would they care where it came from, as long as it does the job and they have unrestricted access to it? The only objection I can think of is that Apple haven't done as good a job as the others.

      There are three objections:
      (1) A new standard is unnecessary. The proposed "nanoSIM" designs (from Apple and others) shave ~30% off an already tiny card. A fraction of a fraction of the space available in a modern smartphone - the benefits of this are unclear at best.
      (2) Apple's design relies on a tray, similar to current mSIM designs. Suddenly your already-insubstantial space saving is totally null and void as any tray will have a minimum size to be human-useable.
      (3) The technical specifications are identical. There is no functional improvement on the existing SIM standard. The ONLY supposed benefit is space-saving, and that is insignificant at best.

      In short: what a waste of time and effort.

        I don't think the space saving is insignificant. They cram a lot into phones and they spend an awful lit to shave fractions of a millimetre of various components inside the devices. However small it may be, the space taken up by a piece of plastic in the phone is a waste if the same function can be performed but taking to that plastic with scissors.

        It may not seem like much, but I'd rather see those few millimetres used by something I care about such as having a larger but better camera module or whatever else.

        I also don't think a trays a bad my eyes it probably saves more space over many of the implementations used by other providers that call for the back of the phone to be removable. Still, I don't see why a tray needs to be forced onto companies.

    Only if apple stick with the micro-usb standard.

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