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.
quote: First off, they didn't sue anyone. HTC and Microsoft have a very good relationship, HTC agreed to pay licensing fees.
quote: Second, as with Apples case against HTC, Android is an open source project, so its up the manufacturer to adhere to patents, not the main contributor to the project.
quote: Thirdly, read the last line of the article. HTC is Microsoft's primary mobile vendor, there is absolutely no advantage for MS if HTC were to go the way of the dodo.. The exact opposite actually, so this could very well be a case of MS trying to extend HTC's patent portfolio to help them in the fight against Apple (perhaps overlapping patents and such). Although pretty much everything is pure speculation at this point.