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Microsoft claims Google ripped off its intellectual property in making the wildly successful Android OS. Microsoft has reach a licensing agreement with HTC. HTC will pay Microsoft for every Android handset it produces.  (Source: The Mobile Shop)
Microsoft is the latest company to try to attack Google's charging operating system

At the start of March, Apple filed suit against HTC alleging the company's Android operating system handsets violated over 23 of the company's patents.  And this week Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez claims that Google's Android OS infringes on many patents that it holds.  He says that Microsoft will try to reach licensing deals with Android handset makers, stating, "competitors do not free ride on our innovations."

The moves hardly come as a surprise.  Google's operating system, led largely by HTC handsets, came out of nowhere surprising smartphone veterans Microsoft and Apple.  Google is poised to pass a slumping Microsoft in smartphone market share sometime this quarter.  Google and its growing Android market are viewed by many as the best alternative to Apple and its App Store.

One key difference is that Android is currently offered for free to hardware makers, significantly cutting their costs.  Microsoft, charges for its operating system, and Apple refuses to license the version of OS X used on the iPhone, preferring a closed platform.

At least one Android handset maker was willing to cut a deal with Microsoft.  HTC, which also makes many Windows Mobile handsets, decided to license the patents involved to avoid endangering its Windows Mobile business.  

Horacio Gutierrez announced the news in a press release, stating, "HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property.  We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC."

HTC has agreed to pay Microsoft royalties on all Android handsets it makes.

That move leads to a curious conclusion.  The only person that HTC will be paying for Android OS is Microsoft (not Google!).

There may be a little more logic behind the development, though.  Analysts are speculating that the licensing agreement could give HTC access to intellectual property that it could use to defend itself against Apple.

While the threats and royalty demands will likely do little to slow Google's momentum, they do help to ensure Microsoft retains a small cut of the market, in case it goes the way of Palm, seeing its smart phone market share further collapse.



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RE: MS Extortion
By jvillaro on 4/28/2010 10:02:46 AM , Rating: 5
I think you are getting a little bit ahead of yourself.
HTC is probably the top windows mobile phone maker around, there must be something more about this than just extorsion as you put it.
I´m more inclined to think this is a move to help HTC in its suit from Apple (the original extorsionts). I think Microsoft and Apple have some sort of cross patent agreements or something like that. If it had a real gripe Android, I think they would attack Google.
In the end I don´t think they would be trying to "hurt" an important ally, and somebody they need to sell their windows phones


RE: MS Extortion
By The0ne on 4/28/2010 10:20:07 AM , Rating: 3
I couldn't agree more. There's something fishy about this story and it's not just that it's poorly lacking in the details. Hope there's more "news" to come.


RE: MS Extortion
By Gio6518 on 4/28/2010 2:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
Prove that when HTC steps on patents theyre willing to settle....also proves that even HTC feels that Apples claims are fictitious


RE: MS Extortion
By omnicronx on 4/28/2010 4:50:59 PM , Rating: 2
The only fact here is that HTC agreed to pay licensing fee's. Aside from that, there is absolutely nothing being 'proved' here..

For all you know this was not merely MS asking HTC to payup, but a cross patent deal that gives HTC access to MS patents. That would give them the fire power to fight Apple.

In fact I could make claim that the exact opposite is true. HTC realizes that some of Apples claims may not be fictitious, and they are acting accordingly.(by beefing up their patent portfolio)

All of this is speculation at best until we know more details.


RE: MS Extortion
By alanore on 4/28/2010 10:58:44 AM , Rating: 1
Its obvious that MS has something over HTC.

It maybe that this is the pre-positioning move that HTC and MS agreed, which would allow HTC to argue that Apple don't hold the patents but MS do, with out fear of retribution. Although that assumes that MS have the patents to counter Apples in HTC legal case.

This wouldn't be the first time MS bullied companies using it's IP. MS made Amazon, Novell, Brother International Corp, Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd, Kyocera Mita Corp., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. I-0 Data and TomTom buy Linux patent protection. For alleging Linux stole 250 of its patents. MS never sued Linux, nor did it reveal any of the patent infringment, it just taxed large companies that did.

Definition: Extortion is the crime of obtaining something from someone, especially money, by using force or threats.


RE: MS Extortion
By Roffles on 4/28/2010 11:42:49 AM , Rating: 2
I read a different article (source unknown from my phone) and that's how it's explained in the article. This is to give HTC some ammunition as it defends itself against the Apple lawsuit.


RE: MS Extortion
By Danish1 on 4/28/2010 3:13:26 PM , Rating: 3
I think you are right and it's very well played by MS/HTC, it's a win for both of them and too some extent both a win and a loss for Google.

MS gets one up in the bank on Google by having a showcase of Android royalties being paid to them and they get a little cash from HTC as well, plus being a the thorn in the side of aggresively expanding Apple must be sweet as well.

HTC got itself some ammo and another major ally in its fight with Apple for what I'm sure is a very reasonable price.

Google lose one vs. MS but gains one on Apple.

The only big loser is Apple.


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