Apple’s Android settlement with HTC could be worth at least $3 billion

Apple and HTC last Saturday announced a global settlement in their long-standing Android dispute. The agreement dismissed all patent-related lawsuits between the two firms and put forth a 10 year cross-licensing deal for all current and future patents. While the terms of the settlement are confidential, one analyst thinks that Apple gets up to eight bucks per every Android-based HTC phone sold. With 30-35 million Android-based HTC smartphones sold annually, Apple could pocket a cool $280 million annually on this patenting pact…

Based on “conversations with industry sources” the analyst believes (via BusinessInsider) that Apple got a good deal because HTC previously signed up for Android protection with Microsoft for an estimated $5 in per-device royalty.

HTC sells 30-35 million Android smartphones annually, so it will generate $180-$280 million in annual revenue for Apple. Since there is no almost cost associated with that revenue, it should be pure profit.

Patent expert Florian Müeller noted on his blog that the Apple-HTC settlement is already the fifteenth official Android patent license deal.

It is, however, already the 15th patent license deal involving Android to have been announced (there may also have been some secret deals). Each and every one of those deals reduces to absurdity Google’s claim of Android being “free”. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Now, $280 million annually is pocket change for the Cupertino, California-headquartered gadget maker, which in the September quarter sold more than 50 million iOS devices, raking in $36 billion in quarterly revenue and netting profit of $6.6 billion.

But over the span of ten years, Apple could get – assuming current levels of HTC phone sales – at least $2.8 billion in licensing revenue.

Another way to look at it: profit-wise, the HTC settlement certainly beats a one-time $1+ billion in damages Apple was awarded in the recent Apple v. Samsung monster suit.