First ‘mobile’ phones were a lot of junk in the trunk

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The first mobile phones were car phones. Call quality was superb (if you could get a channel).
The first mobile phones were car phones. Call quality was superb (if you could get a channel).
Photo courtesy Geoff Fors

When Lars Magnus Ericsson installed a telephone in his car, he proved you could communicate from the road. But while the first mobile phone was indeed mobile, it was anything but simple to use.

Ericsson drove around Sweden and, when it was time to place a call, he would pull off to the side of the road next to telephone poles. Then his wife, Hilda, would take out two long sticks and hook them over a pair of telephone wires. Ericsson would then crank a handle on the phone to get a signal from the operator.

Pretty slick for 1910.

Ericsson takes lawsuit against Apple to Europe, wants up to $725 million per year

Apple is splurging on R&D.
Apple could be about to hand over a whole lot of cash. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Claiming that Apple is infringing on several of its patents, Ericsson has ramped up its legal efforts against the company by expanding lawsuits to cover Germany, Britain and the Netherlands.

“Apple continues to profit from Ericsson’s technology without having a valid license in place,” said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, adding that he is confident the courts will resolve the matter fairly.

Apple faces investigation by International Trade Commission

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Ericsson wants to stop Apple selling iPhones in the United States. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Ericsson wants to stop Apple selling iPhones in the United States. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Apple-Ericsson confrontation continues to heat up. The U.S. International Trade Commission says it will investigate Apple, based on two complaints alleging that Cupertino illegally infringed on Ericsson patents.

Ericsson previously asked the ITC to block Apple products, such as the iPhone, from selling in the United States while the case is being investigated.

Ericsson wants to block Apple from selling iPhones in the U.S.

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Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC
There's plenty of money at stake in the Ericsson/Apple clash. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

In one to file under “N” for “Never happening,” mobile phone company Ericsson has filed seven new lawsuits asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block Apple products, such as the iPhone, from selling in the United States.

The lawsuits allege that Apple is infringing on up to 41 patents, related to user interfaces, battery saving, and operating systems. Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson’s chief intellectual property officer, claims that the company has offered Apple a license for the technology, but has been turned down.

Apple and Ericsson battle it out over patent royalties

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Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC
Plenty of money's at stake in the latest lawsuit Apple is wrapped up in. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

Ericsson’s former CEO has gone on the record as saying his company should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived back in 2007. Today, everyone takes the iPhone seriously — and there are the lawsuits to prove it.

In the latest of these, Apple and Ericsson are suing each other after failing to come to an agreement about the pricing of Ericsson-owned patents used by Apple.

Apple is claiming Ericsson is chasing excessive royalty rates, while Ericsson is holding out for more cash.

And when you’re talking about a handset like the iPhone 6, which sold upwards of 10 million units in its first weekend, who can blame it for trying?