We heard the CEO of Nokia, Oli-Pekka Kallasvuo at a CEO conference in Paris just two weeks ago shrugging off the iPhone and the BlackBerry as competitors.
Now Nokia is showing all the signs of a company in desperation after it launched a law suit against Apple for allegedly breaching its patents.
He said then: "You have traditional competitors like the Korean and Japanese companies and now we have new competitors like Apple and RIM. We are talking about redefining what's happening."
A law suit could certainly redefine what's happening but as watchers of the continual litigation between Intel and AMD know, these kind of court cases take years and years to resolve, and there's some justification for considering law suits as a type of weird marketing.
Typically, lawyers from one side will get on their high horses and impugn a competitor for daring to breach their intellectual property. On the defendants side, another brace of lawyers will mount similarly high horses and absolutely deny that patents have been breached and that the integrity of their client has been impugned.
After several millions of dollars slip into the pockets of the lawyers, and sheaves of paper are exchanged between the two sides, the whole thing tends to get settled out of court and a brief paragraph appears saying the lawsuit is settled - and details can't be disclosed.
The question here appears to be whether Nokia realized its patents were being breached when Apple's iPhone was first introduced. if it did, then why didn't it stamp on Apple hard then?
It doesn't matter. The whole matter is now in the hands of the courts and Nokia has fired a broadside across Apple's bows. Justice is blind, but marketing has 20/20 vision.