Corp. (MSFT) has already inked lucrative licensing details with
General Dynamics Corp. (GD) (owners of Itronix, a
maker of rugged tablets) [source]; Velocity Micro, Inc. [source]; Onkyo Corp. [source] (JSD:6628); and HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) [source]. It's pressuring Samsung Electronics
Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930) into a similar licensing
deal. Reportedly it wants up to $15 per device sold.
do all these companies have in common? They all use Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system and all are
afraid that Microsoft may make good on its threat to sue them if they don't pay
Now Taiwan's Acer Inc. (TPE:2353) has agreed [press release] to a
similar licensing arrangement, though it declined to disclose how much it had
agreed to pay per device. Acer makes the popular Android 3.x
"Honeycomb" Iconia tablet.
Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of
Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft comments, "We are pleased
that Acer is taking advantage of our industry wide licensing program
established to help companies address Android's IP issues. This agreement is an
example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements
that address intellectual property."
Of course of amiable phrasing "Help... address Android's IP issues"
translates roughly to "forced to pay under threat of lawsuit".
Google does offer Android to device makers for free, so licensing isn't game
over to Android manufacturers unlike Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) lawsuit campaign , which simply looks to
ban Android devices from the market. However, it does shift the balance
of power slightly in the favor of Microsoft, who is trying to push its own Windows
Phone 7 smartphone operating system on the masses, by making it less
profitable to make Android devices.
Many more manufacturers will like opt the route of Acer and HTC -- simply
paying Microsoft's demanded toll.
quote: The acquisition of Motorola's wireless division (and it's patents) tells me that Google still has no intention of protecting their partners. By acquiring patents themselves, Google is hoping that they can prevent any patent infringement issues by holding onto their own patents to use as leverage in the event infringements come up. Basically, "Mutually Assured Destruction" if any of these companies goes after Google directly.
quote: How do Microsoft and Apple sue hardware makers for their products, when it is Android that is infringing the patents?
quote: Shouldn't Microsoft and Apple be going after Google?
quote: For instance, that would be like Microsoft suing Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Tyan, etc because people build PC with their parts and put a pirated copy of Windows on it. As far as I know this doesn't happen. So I can correlate that part of the problem lies with Samsung and company releasing the hardware with the OS attached to it.
quote: By extension, it reinforces why companies are afraid of using Open Source software that has no amendments around the GNU/Apache License indemnity.