The large Finnish communications company, Nokia, filed a massive legal action against Apple today. The complaint alleges that Apple has infringed on numerous Nokia patents throughout nearly all of Apple's current product portfolio. If proven to be true, this complaint could have major ramifications for Apple - something that was evident in Apple's declining stock price following the announcement of the legal action.
In a world where "free" seems to be the hip new business model, this event shows the relative dominance of old capitalistic principles. The international protection of innovation and the investments required to create such innovation will be clearly tested. The sales of expensive hardware are still so significant so as to foster this continuous innovation - and the consequent struggles over fundamental intellectual property.
So we end a decade in which the proliferation of digital distribution of information goods has made charging for something into nearly a sin, with the ultimate battle over the most basic business model - over who has the right to charge a fair price for the mobile phone.