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Sure, Apple wins and Samsung loses. But does Nokia win, too?

Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple $1 billion in damages. But the Cupertino company might not be the only one to benefit from the verdict. 

By Matthew Shaer / August 28, 2012

Nokia, which makes a range of Windows Phone handsets, stands to profit from the recent showdown between Apple and Samsung.

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On Friday, the long courtroom battle between Samsung and Apple finally wound to a close. Apple came out on top. The Cupertino company was awarded approximately $1 billion in damages from Samsung, and Apple reps are currently seeking injunctions against a range of Samsung handsets, including the Galaxy S2 and the Droid Charge, both of which were found to violate patents established by Apple.

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Samsung, for its part, has vowed to fight on. But how will the verdict affect the rest of the smartphone industry? Well, many analysts believe that Microsoft and Nokia in particular stand to benefit from a weakened Samsung presence in the marketplace. In February of last year, of course, Microsoft and Nokia announced they would partner to release a line of handsets running Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. 

Among the products of that partnership is the Lumia smartphone; in September, Nokia is widely expected to introduce a line of handsets running Windows Phone 8, the upcoming version of the Windows Phone OS. 

"After the verdict, I am sure that vendors in the Android ecosystem are wondering how long it will be before they become Apple’s target," Gartner's Carolina Milanesi told Bloomberg this week. "This might sway some vendors to look at Windows Phone 8 as an alternative, and for the ones like HTC Corp. and even Samsung who have already announced plans to bring to market a WP8 device, how much stronger their investment should be."

As Bobbie Johnson of GigaOM notes, Nokia stock has climbed steadily since the conclusion of the Apple and Samsung case.

Still, Johnson warns against getting too optimistic about Nokia's prospects. The company is still an underdog in the smartphone wars. 

"While the promise of jam tomorrow might help Wall Street’s sensibilities," Johnson writes, "the reality is that it’s a long, long game that is far from sure. Does Nokia have the time, or the inclination, to wait for the world to change?"

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