Bloomberg News

Apple Deadlocks With Nokia on Standard for Shrunken SIM Card

March 30, 2012

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s proposals for smaller SIM cards face a second round of debate after talks stalled following the Finnish mobile-phone company’s threat to withhold its patents.

A two-day meeting in Sophia Antipolis, France, to adopt a standard from competing proposals by Apple and Nokia finished today without reaching a decision, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute said in an e-mailed statement.

The tiny smartcards that identify wireless subscribers are standardized to reduce industry costs and give consumers freedom to switch handsets and networks. Smaller versions permit the design of thinner phones. Nokia said before the meeting that it would not permit its patents to be used in the Apple standard, said Mark Durrant, a spokesman for the Espoo-based company.

“Generally in ETSI all of our decisions are taken by consensus and it’s very uncommon that we have a technical vote,” said Ultan Mulligan, an ETSI spokesman. “If they have decided to postpone the vote, that would give them more time to achieve consensus.”

ETSI began to develop a standard last year for identity cards at least 25 percent to 40 percent smaller than the mini- SIM standard, according to its website.

The decision could be made at a meeting starting May 31 in Osaka or at a new meeting with 30 days’ notice, ETSI said in the statement.

“We hope that this extra time will allow ETSI members to work collaboratively on selecting the best technology solution that meets ETSI’s pre-agreed requirements, rather than adopting an inferior solution,” Durrant said by e-mail. The Nokia proposal incorporates work by BlackBerry handset maker Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), he said.

Apple declined to comment, Tanya Ridd, a spokeswoman, said by e-mail today.

Nokia closed up 2.1 percent at 4.08 euros in Helsinki. Apple declined 1.5 percent (AAPL:US) to $600.52 at 3:11 p.m. in New York.

To contact the reporters on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net; Marie Mawad in Paris at mmawad1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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