Apple shares hit a five-month low as it loses Facetime battle

SHARES in Apple slumped to a five-month low yesterday after it was ordered to pay $368m (£230m) over a US patent dispute over its Facetime video calling service.

Although the fine, paid to Connecticut company VirnetX, is small compared to Apple’s $120bn cash pile, the ruling could affect future use of the technology in Apple’s iPhone and iPad. After the decision was made late on Tuesday, Apple opened 1.6 per cent down in New York yesterday and fell below $557. This was 21 per cent down on September’s record $705 price, a level that made Apple the most valuable company of all time.

The company also went on the offensive in the patent battles, it was revealed yesterday. On Tuesday night, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung which brought Google’s Android operating system into the fray for the first time.

The claims are against the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and, more significantly, Google’s latest version of its mobile and tablet operating software, Android Jelly Bean.

If Apple is successful, it could be encouraged to go after other devices using Android.