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The wireless world used to be pretty straightforward. Tech companies that made those devices we all use paid a licence fee to the developers and patent holders of technologies, such as chips, needed to make them function. Regulators ensured that innovators were rewarded for their efforts, but at the same time that access to the resulting technologies was fair and non-discriminatory.

Now, as Rana Foroohar argues, this settlement is being disrupted by the evolution of 5G and the internet of things that will see a massive expansion of the number of connected devices and appliances. At issue is how to calculate the value of the essential embedded intellectual property. The patent holders say it should be based on the price of the finished product, while the tech companies want to see it based on the value of the chip. The gulf between the two — a few dollars for a chip, several hundred for a smartphone, tens of thousands for a car — is considerable.

The result is a stand-off as patent holders, such as chipmaker Qualcomm, refuse to ship products, and tech companies, such as Apple, refuse to pay fees. An estimated two-thirds of wireless tech patent holders say they will not provide assurances that they will licence their technologies, a threat that could undermine overall connectivity. The lawsuits are already flying. But, says Rana, this is only the beginning of what promises to be a bitter battle.

Border solution: As UK and EU negotiators work towards reaching a deal of the first phase of talks by mid December, Niall Fitzgerald argues that a new customs partnership is the way to address the outstanding issue of relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic. This, he says, could also serve as a template for a wider Brexit arrangement.

Centre failure: Christian Lindner’s decision to quit Germany's coalition talks quickly saw the head of the liberal Free Democrats blamed for bringing instability to the heart of Europe. Not fair, says Wolfgang Munchau. Lindner was, he says, refreshingly principled and has simply exposed the rot in the centre ground of German politics.

Best of the rest

Germany’s Social Democrats should not be afraid of a grand coalition, says Heribert Prantl in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Angela Merkel, chancellor, will no longer be able to grind down a junior coalition partner as she did in the past, he argues.

The kinship between Britain and Ireland was hard won. Now, argues Fintan O’Toole in the Observer, it is threatened by Brexit idiocy.

In this fascinating New York Times op-ed, a top flight lawyer with a degree from Oxford, denied a visa to remain in the US, asks Is Anyone Good Enough for an H-1B Visa?

I’m on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality pleads Jessica Rosenworcel in her Los Angeles Times Op-ed on keeping the internet open for everyone.

What you’ve been saying 

No stigma attached to a spacious family home— letter from Patricia Brown, London

“Stigma? What stigma? I certainly didn’t feel any about being brought up in a council house, which provided a comfortable and spacious (Parker Morris standards) family home. It was only my move to London, where I encountered the scarcity of quality, affordable, rental housing, that pushed me into owner occupation. There are numerous reasons why we will not achieve the sufficient quantities of affordable housing, in the right places, by relying solely on the market. So, if we are to make a dent in our woeful housing shortage, we need quality housing of all tenures, including social housing, whether housing association or council.”

Comment from Berthelm on Tim Harford’ s piece Economicky words are just plain icky

“Economics has always been, and remains, unable to predict anything of great value. Crashes occur frequently, if irregularly, and destroy lives, value and faith in economists. And economists don't have a clue. Until Economics can describe even moderately accurately the functioning of an economy so that it produces useful outputs/predictions for society, it will be derided and its practitioners limited to hedging their statements with weasel words for fear of clearly being shown to be wrong.”

Lottery players have lost interest in paltry prizes— letter by R L Parsons in Shrops

“From my own experience and talking to other players, the feeling now is that even if you “win” you’ll get very little except from the top two tiers (matching all six numbers, then five numbers and the bonus ball), which most people recognise is almost, but not quite, impossible. If you do, then great. But at the next tier, matching five numbers out of six, last weekend 54 players won £1,573 each. Not exactly life changing!”

Today’s opinion

The essential ingredient for European tech dominance The main issue is the ability to attract and retain world-class talent

Irish border solution is a template for post-Brexit trade The route to this is a new customs partnership between the UK and the EU

Let the 5G battles begin There is exponentially more wealth to be made and tech titans are vying for position

Germany’s coalition woes reveal the failing centre Lindner’s decision to walk out of the talks heralds a fracturing future

Gavyn Davies’ blog: BoJ hints at normalisation, with Japanese characteristics

FT View: A fall in apprenticeships is no cause to worry — yet The point of the UK’s levy was to make employers focus on quality

FT View: Yemen’s looming famine is on 20th-century scale Saudi allies risk complicity in the use of starvation as a weapon of war

Changes to universal credit are just tinkering at the edges Iain Duncan Smith’s zeal may have gone, but serious problems with the UK’s benefit persist

FT View

FT View: A fall in apprenticeships is no cause to worry — yet The point of the UK’s levy was to make employers focus on quality

FT View: Yemen’s looming famine is on 20th-century scale Saudi allies risk complicity in the use of starvation as a weapon of war

The Big Read

The Big Read: Emmanuel Macron: in search of the popular touch Six months after his election, the weaknesses of France’s leader and his upstart party are apparent but he insists his reforms will satisfy voters

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