JULY 11

GO NEGATIVE WITH PR AT YOUR OWN RISK

by    |  TEXAS PR FIRM

Qualcomm issued a press release on Monday headlined, "ITC Commences Investigation of Nokia Based on Allegations of Unfair Trade Practices and Infringement of QUALCOMM Patents."

It didn't take long for trade pub RCR to discover that all the press release really meant was that Qualcomm had filed an ITC complaint against its rival.

Which led RCR's Phil Carson to write:

Much ado about nothing, so far.

That sums up Qualcomm Inc.'s press release, issued today, crowing that the United States International Trade Commission had initiated an investigation of Nokia Corp. on Qualcomm's June 9 complaint that the Finnish vendor is violating Qualcomm's W-CDMA patents.

However, the impetus for the onerous-sounding "ITC investigation" is simply the receipt of a properly filed complaint, according to the ITC -- nothing more.

The Qualcomm effort appears to be a public relations ploy to garner industry support and to keep Nokia under pressure as the two re-negotiate a cross-licensing agreement that expires in April 2007.

Do you sense that Carson was a little annoyed by Qualcomm's misleading headline? Believe us, he was.

Here are a few hints: "Crowing," "onerous-sounding," "ploy."

We don't know how it actually came down at RCR, but we wouldn't be surprised if Carson or his boss thought this was a big story when they first saw the release. Then Phil did a little reporting and realized he'd been had.

Reporters don't like being misled -- it makes them look bad, and makes the company doing the misleading (the "misleader," as a certain commander-in-chief might say) look worse.

It doesn't help that Qualcomm has gone negative in its PR efforts. Reporters might enjoy a good controversy, but ultimately they lose respect for companies that spend more time bashing their competitors than highlighting their own achievements.

Qualcomm should pursue this one on the QT.

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