Microsoft strikes another Android patent licensing deal

By on January 12, 2012, 12:20 PM

Microsoft announced today it has signed a patent-licensing deal with LG covering the company's tablets, mobile phones and other devices running Android or Chrome OS. This marks the company's 11th such arrangement with Android device makers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, and means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now paying royalties to Microsoft -- though exactly how much remains unknown.

Google offers Android as an open-source operating system for mobile devices but Microsoft claims it infringes on technology developed by them. Apple also claims Android-based device manufacturers violate its patents and is battling the likes of Samsung and HTC in courtrooms around the world. However, rather than engaging in lengthy and expensive lawsuits, Microsoft has generally preferred to give manufacturers the option of a licensing deal for the patents Android allegedly infringes.

"We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement," said Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel in Microsoft's intellectual property group, adding that they are proud of the continued success "in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS."

Back in September, a note from Goldman Sachs's tech analyst team suggested Microsoft was getting somewhere between $3-$6 per Android device sold and estimated the company would make around $444 million in licensing fees between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Right now Motorola Mobility is the only major Android smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. without a license from Microsoft, and the two are battling it out in court at the same time that Motorola Mobility is being acquired by Google for $12.5 billion. The acquisition will add an estimated 24,000 patents to Google's portfolio. Whether that will give Google enough ammo to defend its mobile platform and partners remains to be seen.




User Comments: 12

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

bandit8623 said:

bunch of crap.

So I gather that you prefer something like Apple's "sue everything that moves" philosophy instead?

Licensing is the more mature approach to patent enforcement and protection, and I guarantee you it puts FAR less onto the bottom line of a company's products than excessive legal fees and long drawn-out court battles.

bandit8623 said:

Vrmithrax said:

bandit8623 said:

bunch of crap.

So I gather that you prefer something like Apple's "sue everything that moves" philosophy instead?

Licensing is the more mature approach to patent enforcement and protection, and I guarantee you it puts FAR less onto the bottom line of a company's products than excessive legal fees and long drawn-out court battles.

nope, its sad on microsofts part where they have to charge for a product that android does better and is free.

suing and lawsuits are also stupid.

yRaz yRaz said:

bandit8623 said:

nope, its sad on microsofts part where they have to charge for a product that android does better and is free.

suing and lawsuits are also stupid.

I had some lengthy argument for you, but everyone asking me to root their Android phone every 4-6 months speaks for itself. WP7 is more stable, efficient, and responsive than Android.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

bandit8623 said:

nope, its sad on microsofts part where they have to charge for a product that android does better and is free.

Just because you can do something better and free, that doesn't give you the right to infringe on patents. If you use something that someone else owns, licensing is the best approach. It's not sad, it's how business works. And, as broken as our patent system is, it still serves to keep a semblance of order and prevent rampant copying anarchy.

Chazz said:

Vrmithrax said:

bandit8623 said:

nope, its sad on microsofts part where they have to charge for a product that android does better and is free.

Just because you can do something better and free, that doesn't give you the right to infringe on patents. If you use something that someone else owns, licensing is the best approach. It's not sad, it's how business works. And, as broken as our patent system is, it still serves to keep a semblance of order and prevent rampant copying anarchy.

I agree with you. It's fact that Google has violated patents with Android. That's not a major deal, as companies do this all of the time, but they typically seek out the maker and pay them a licensing fee. Google just tried to bypass this by offering it for free.

There are many problems with the patent system and it needs a huge reform, but this isn't want of them imo. Google is just trying to game the system which kinda sucks imo.

Guest said:

Android has been problematic to Vendors.

Silly Vendors !

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

yRaz said:

bandit8623 said:

nope, its sad on microsofts part where they have to charge for a product that android does better and is free.

suing and lawsuits are also stupid.

I had some lengthy argument for you, but everyone asking me to root their Android phone every 4-6 months speaks for itself. WP7 is more stable, efficient, and responsive than Android.

Unfortunately yRaz, it is like trying to make a cow understand fine points of music ........ that is why we read this non-sense of freeware again and again. Having used several droids (these days it is an HTC Sensation), iPhones (haven't got my hands on 4S yet) and WP phones (generally excellent performance, ease of use and stability), my personal opinion is iOS and WP are the best of the lot, android even on this sensation (hardware wise excellent platform) is unstable, e.g. since I got it it has rebooted 3 times with no apparent reason. I have found such instabilities on almost every droid I have had chance to play with. So for me, if freeware's quality is like this, it is nothing but a sh** load and half.

Then there is small matter of stealing every patent they (Google) could get their hands on, so giving their OS for free doesn't absolve them of blame and responsibility in anyway.

Guest said:

Wow there are a lot of MS / iOS apologists out there. Android may not have the polish of iOS yet but it certainly outshines Microsoft's offerings. Now, this is my opinion just like yours are whatever you hold near and dear. Speaking to the matter at hand. The fact is that nobody even knows what patents Microsoft holds that Android supposedly infringes on. Microsoft is using their patent holdings as shakedown tactics. While Apple just sues the hell out of everyone(except M$ because they have a deal). Google is attempting to bolster it's own patent portfolio to help protect Android vendors from these shaky business practices. Although in my opinion, the whole patent farce is getting too far out of hand when a company doesn't have to produce anything and make an estimated 450 million off someone else's hard work.

Guest said:

Is it possible for manufacturer to sell phones without OS? just like some laptop manufacturer did. that way manufacturer dont need to pay this licensing from MS.

and let the user install whatever they want android/WP/meego etc... etc....

SCJake said:

Guest said:

Is it possible for manufacturer to sell phones without OS? just like some laptop manufacturer did. that way manufacturer dont need to pay this licensing from MS.

and let the user install whatever they want android/WP/meego etc... etc....

now why would they go and do a thing like that? oh yea. because the general populace of the world would not be able to understand the incompatibilities of such things (aka install iOS on a noncompatible device). now granted the companies would just say "we dont support that", but then they have to deal with pissed off retar- i mean general consumers all the time. Its a socialism thing. On a pure logical sense it is the best way to do things, but then you throw human beings into the mix and it all goes to sh**

Guest said:

To all those folks trying to paint a 'Microsoft is better than Apple because it licenses instead of sues' case, GET A LIFE! First, you have to have something to license. Microsoft's claims on Android are as follows:

1. '372 Patent (Web browser background image loading).

2. '522 Patent (Operating system provided tabs).

3. '551 Patent (Electronic selection with handles).

4. '233 Patent (Annotation of electronic documents).

5. '780 Patent (Web browser loading status icons).

Trivial, and Barnes & Noble have shown there is prior art on most.

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