Microsoft Announces Android-related Patent Deal with Samsung

Microsoft Announces Android-related Patent Deal with Samsung

2011/10/9

 Microsoft on Wednesday announced a broad cross-licensing patent agreement with Samsung, the biggest Android-related patent deal to date.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will get royalty revenue on every smartphone and tablet running Google's Android mobile operating system that Samsung sells.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In July, U.S. media reports citing Korean media said Microsoft wanted Samsung to pay 10 to 15 U.S. dollars for each Android device. Samsung has sold more than 10 million Galaxy S II smartphones since its launch in May, which means that the Korean phone maker could have to pay Microsoft royalty fees totaling 100 million dollars.

Last April, Washington-based software giant Redmond, also signed a license deal with another major Android smartphone maker HTC.

Microsoft said in a blog post on Wednesday that together with the agreement with HTC, the deal with Samsung means that the top two Android handset manufacturers in the United States have acquired licenses to Microsoft's patent portfolio. Samsung and HTC accounted for more than half of all Android phones sold in the U.S. over the past year, according to Microsoft.

"That leaves Motorola Mobility, with which Microsoft is currently in litigation, as the only major Android smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. without a license," the blog post noted.

Last October, Microsoft filed suits against Motorola with the U. S. International Trade Commission and the federal court in Seattle, alleging that several Motorola's Android phones infringe on Microsoft's patents.

Microsoft noted in the blog that its deals with Samsung and HTC can be used as a model for the industry, saying "they show that can be achieved when companies sit down and address intellectual property issues in a responsible manner."

On Aug. 15, Google announced a 12.5 billion-dollar purchase of Motorola Mobility, noting that the company's portfolio of patents will help protect Google and its Android software.

The booming smartphone market has been harassed by acrimonious legal battles over patent infringement. Being an open source operating system, Google's Android has become a major target of patent suits.

Microsoft has been going after companies that make phones and tablets running Android, rather than directly against Google. But the two tech giants still engaged in public spats over the issue after Google's top legal officer posted a scathing blog early August accusing Microsoft and other companies of waging "a hostile, organized campaign against Android."

In Wednesday's blog post, Microsoft did not forget to give Google a dig, saying "We recognize that some businesses and commentators Google chief among them have complained about the potential impact of patents on Android and software innovation. To them, we say this: look at today's announcement. If industry leaders such as Samsung and HTC can enter into these agreements, doesn't this provide a clear path forward?"

Florian Mueller, a well-known intellectual property analyst, called Wednesday's agreement "the most important Android-related intellectual property deal in its own right and even more significant against the background of Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility." "If Samsung truly believed that Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility was going to be helpful to the Android ecosystem at large, it would have waited until that deal is closed before concluding the license agreement with Microsoft. But Samsung probably knows it can't rely on Google. It decided to address Android's intellectual property issues on its own," said the analyst in his blog "Foss Patents."

 

(Source: Xinhua)




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