Microsoft announced it has struck a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung that would see the Korean manufacturer pay millions of dollars in royalties for using Android software on its smartphones and tablets. The deal follows a string of similar agreements with the likes of HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, Velocity Micro and Winstron for the use of several mobile patents from Microsoft and avoiding a battle in court against the Remond giant.
Under the agreement, Samsung will pay an undisclosed fee to Microsoft (it was initially asking $15) for every Android tablet and smartphone sold and the two will work together to further develop and market Windows Phone devices.
"Together with the license agreement signed last year with HTC, today’s agreement with Samsung means that the top two Android handset manufacturers in the United States have now acquired licenses to Microsoft's patent portfolio," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith and IP lawyer Horacio Gutierrez said in a blog post.
These two companies together accounted for more than half of all Android phones sold in the U.S. over the past year, according to Gutierrez, leaving Motorola Mobility as the only major Android smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. without a license. Microsoft is currently in litigation with Motorola Mobility, which itself is being acquired by Google -- along its huge collection of patents -- in a bid to defend its mobile platform and partners from legal threats.
Rather than waiting until that deal is closed Samsung decided to address Android's intellectual property issues on its own -- perhaps foreseeing that it couldn't rely on Google for the long term now that it will be competing with it. But the company's legal woes are far from over as it continues to battle against Apple in various courts around the globe.