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Microsoft has "concerns" with Android, looking to license its patents to Android manufacturers

News by Michael Oryl on Wednesday April 28, 2010.

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A day after it was reported that smartphone manufacturer HTC is entering into a patent licensing deal with Microsoft, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, Horacio Gutierrez, issued the following statement

"Microsoft has a decades-long record of investment in software platforms. As a result, we have built a significant patent portfolio in this field, and we have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations. We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform."

While the above statement does not directly link yesterday's HTC news with Microsoft's "concerns" with Android, the timing certainly suggests that it may well have to do with HTC's recent success with Android-powered smartphones. It will be interesting to see if other major Android players like Motorola and Samsung also ink patent licensing deals with Microsoft in the near future.


methos @ 10:37:44AM EDT on Thursday April 29, 2010

Being a Windows person, and the proud owner of an Android....PLEASE don't let M$ screw up the Android like they do their own mobile devices! (which I left for a reason)

McHale @ 12:07:26PM EDT on Thursday April 29, 2010

I have yet to see that HTC was biting the bullet on behalf of the Android OS. If it were the OS itself, that would be a Google responsibility. How do we know this isn't "HTC Sense" related or something interms of hardware which is independent of the Android OS. I'd sure like to see some facts before all these websites say that HTC is paying Microsoft because of the Android OS because it's simply not accurate.

Michael Oryl @ 9:44:29AM EDT on Friday April 30, 2010

@McHale Actually, it wouldn't be a "Goggle responsibility". Anybody using the technology that infringed on patents would be potentially responsible for royalties. We've seen this many times before with chip maker related patents, such as Samsung not being able to import phones using Qualcomm chips that infringed upon Broadcom patents.

And we don't *know* what the HTC deal was about, and we never claimed to. I simply said the timing is suspect, and that Microsoft specifically said it has patent concerns with Android. My guess is that the HTC deal encompasses all sorts of things since the two companies have worked so closely in the past, but based on Microsoft's recent statement, I'd bet that at least some of it covers what Microsoft considers to be issues with the base Android OS. Microsoft is possibly trying to set a precedent that will persuade other manufacturers to seek licensing terms. Again, a tactic we have seen time and time again. The earlier you license (like HTC), the better the terms you get because it gives the selling company (Microsoft) additional leverage on getting deals with other companies.

Nobody @ 5:31:43PM EDT on Saturday May 1, 2010

Microsoft and innovation in the same sentence? LOL. No, I don't think so. Microsoft equals viruses, Blue Screens of Death, malware, bugs, exploits, etc. But not innovation. Bye!

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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