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Acer, maker of the popular Iconia Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet has become the latest device maker to cave in to Microsoft's licensing demands.  (Source: Amazon.com)
Acer, Viewsonic agree to pay Microsoft's toll

Microsoft 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.  

So what 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 licensing fees.

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 [1][2][3][4][5][6], 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.



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By michael2k on 9/8/2011 6:23:52 PM , Rating: 3
Google designs bullets
HTC makes guns, and licenses a bullet design from Google to use in their gun.
Apple makes both guns and bullets, says HTC's guns infringe on Apple's guns, sues HTC.

Microsoft and Apple have no need to go after Google. Why should they? They could, but why? How, for example, could Microsoft extract license fees from HTC and Samsung et al by suing Google? How, for example, would Apple ban phones manufactured by Samsung when the icons and customizations in question belong to Samsung and not Google?

The analogy you use is poor. The correct analogy is Microsoft suing people for putting a pirated copy of Windows even though the pirate distributing said copies never installed Windows.


By SilthDraeth on 9/8/2011 10:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was the OS that was getting Samsung in trouble, hence why stuff running 2.3 is banned, but 3.1 isn't.

I know Apple is in fact sueing over the device looking similar, but several of the patent lawsuits deal with software aka bullet issues.

Nevermind, I will probably never understand it. Thanks for your reply though.


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