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Samsung Galaxy S II  (Source: Samsung)
You can run, but you can't hide from Microsoft's wrath

Samsung may be the latest, but it likely won't be the last when it comes to paying royalties to Microsoft. Google's Android operating system may be dominating the smartphone market -- putting it well of Apple's iOS and RIM's Blackberry OS -- but some manufacturers are paying the price via lawsuits and license agreements [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8].

Samsung is already feeling the pinch from Apple with regards to software and hardware design patents, and Microsoft just scored a nice steady stream of cash today from Samsung (estimated to be anywhere from $10 to $13 per Android handset/tablet) thanks to a new licensing agreement. 

Now, new statements from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith suggest that the boys from Redmond are just getting started. “So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents,” said Smith to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD

Microsoft has already roped HTC into a licensing agreement (it even signed up Viewsonic and Acer), and bringing Samsung along for the ride covers a huge chunk of the Android devices on the market today. 

“I think there is a good chance we will look back at today and say this was the day that we reached a tipping point in the market,” Smith continued. 

For its part, a representative from Google blasted the agreement and questioned Microsoft's motives. The company released the following statement to TechCrunch:

This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.

After that response, Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s Head of Communications, took to Twitter to kick some dirt into Google’s eyes:

Given the statements from Smith and Shaw, it appears that Microsoft is just getting started with Android licensing agreements. Motorola had better watch its back, because the belly of the beast isn't quite full yet.

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By sprockkets on 9/28/2011 7:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents,”

That's not saying much at all. So far I haven't seen anything that hasn't infringed on someone's bogus patents.

RE: really
By carniver on 9/28/2011 7:53:48 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. I'm sure their pointless GUI patents can apply on iOS as well! Why must every behemoth pick on Android? Try suing Apple instead. You'll win our hearts if you have the balls to take on the strong and not bully the weak.

RE: really
By borismkv on 9/28/2011 8:00:28 PM , Rating: 3
Apple pays licensing fees to Microsoft as well. MS gets a certain amount of every i-device sold.

RE: really
By ussfletcher on 9/28/11, Rating: 0
RE: really
By lolmuly on 9/28/2011 10:00:40 PM , Rating: 3
care to elaborate? because i was under the impression that microsoft borrowed it from apple who borrowed it from xerox. Beyond icons, buttons, windows, menus, and cursors, what else is there?

Maybe transitions? But I'm pretty sure those can all be attributed to the film industry long before operating systems started using them.

Am I overlooking something obvious here? And if it's so obvious that I would overlook it, why should it have a patent?

RE: really
By nocturne_81 on 9/29/2011 6:51:20 AM , Rating: 2
Though it may have seemed revolutionary at the time.. The GUI's that we all enjoy are almost entirely the product of common sense alone..

If you can think of a better way to create an interface that doesn't use re-sizable/movable windows along with a 'bar' on some edge with a button to close it.. patent it now! Quick! DO IT BEFORE MS DOES!

RE: really
By retrospooty on 9/28/2011 10:53:49 PM , Rating: 3
"So far I haven't seen anything that hasn't infringed on someone's bogus patents"

If you have bogus patents (cough Apple) you sue for damages or to stop sales. If you have valid patents, you dont need to sue. You get royalties and you get paid , you get paid because there is not a question to the validity of the patent.

RE: really
By silverblue on 9/29/2011 5:13:49 AM , Rating: 3
MS is probably doing this the right way. Regardless of how well or badly their own mobile OS performs, they still get a tidy amount of revenue from cross-licencing.

If all judges had common sense (sadly, this isn't the case everywhere), any and all suits filed by Apple concerning such "bogus" patents would be thrown out of court. Suing competitors for developing products that look even slightly similar to yours is more than slightly tenuous and will, one day, with any luck, get stamped on with a giant Monty Python-style boot.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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