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Qualcomm, Nokia partner on new 3G phones

After battling over patents and royalties, Qualcomm and Nokia have now kissed and made up. And now they're partnering on new 3G smartphones.

Qualcomm Qualcomm

BARCELONA--It looks like mobile chipmaker Qualcomm and handset maker Nokia have finally buried the hatchet.

On Tuesday, the companies, which were once entangled in a bitter legal battle, announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 here that they would collaborate on developing technologies for 3G smartphones sold for the North American market.

The new devices will use Nokia's S60 software, which uses the Symbian OS, and advanced chipsets from Qualcomm that use its Mobile Station Modem technology. The first mobile devices to come out of this collaboration are expected in mid 2010, the companies said. And they will be compatible with technology being developed by the new Symbian Foundation.

Nokia's CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, touted the partnership during a keynote speech at GSMA MWC on Tuesday morning in which he talked about the need for more collaboration.

"We need to be open to change," he said. "We have to work with competitors and our partners in different ways than we have done in the past."

Indeed, the pairing is somewhat surprising considering the two companies' litigious past. For three years, the companies were in a battle over patent licenses and royalty rights. The companies ended up suing each other and finally settled their legal differences in July 2008. As part of the agreement, Nokia agreed to pay Qualcomm back-royalties, plus royalties going forward. Financial terms of the deal were never released publicly.