Print 46 comment(s) - last by Daemyion.. on Oct 4 at 11:17 AM

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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RE: For those who asked
By sprockkets on 9/28/2011 10:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. I'm also willing to bet if WM7 ever gets any significant market share, Apple will sue over "multi-touch" next. They haven't shown any willingness to license that tech they think they invented.

RE: For those who asked
By sprockkets on 9/28/2011 10:22:35 PM , Rating: 5
Can't forget this gem either:

Microsoft sang a very different tune in 1991. In a memo to his senior executives, Bill Gates wrote, “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.” Mr. Gates worried that “some large company will patent some obvious thing” and use the patent to “take as much of our profits as they want.”

Mr. Gates wrote his 1991 memo shortly after the courts began allowing patents on software in the 1980s. At the time Microsoft was a growing company challenging entrenched incumbents like I.B.M. and Novell. It had only eight patents to its name. Recognizing the threat to his company, Mr. Gates initiated an aggressive patenting program. Today Microsoft holds more than 6,000 patents.

It’s not surprising that Microsoft — now an entrenched incumbent — has had a change of heart. But Mr. Gates was right in 1991: patents are bad for the software industry.
Bold mine.

RE: For those who asked
By Ilfirin on 9/29/2011 10:36:54 AM , Rating: 4
They are still one of the biggest proponents of patent reform and the removal of software patents.

Until the day that happens, however, they will continue playing the same game every company does.

RE: For those who asked
By djdjohnson on 9/29/2011 12:31:06 AM , Rating: 4
Apple doesn't own a patent on multi-touch. Stop spreading this bogus lie.

They have patents on a few aspects of their implementation of multi-touch, none of which I've seen used in a Microsoft product.

RE: For those who asked
By dark matter on 9/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: For those who asked
By Kel Ghu on 9/29/2011 7:31:57 AM , Rating: 3
Please stop showing your dumbness. People trolling around like you are tiring.

A patent on the "Implementation of Multi-Touch" is not the patent on "Multi-Touch" you fool.

And it has been refused its trademark by the USPTO:

RE: For those who asked
By sprockkets on 9/29/2011 7:51:20 AM , Rating: 3
They patented the pinch to zoom gesture AND the heuristic of scrolling with your finger.

YES, it's a weak attempt to try to stop competitors from stealing their idea, BUT IT DOES EXIST. And they have sued others over it already.

Your turn.

RE: For those who asked
By someguy123 on 9/29/2011 3:21:24 PM , Rating: 1
This isn't really contrary to his post. Like he said, they have implementation patents, not a patent on the multi-touch technology itself.

RE: For those who asked
By Flunk on 9/29/2011 9:32:09 AM , Rating: 4
The only reason Apple and Microsoft don't sue each other is that they each know the other has a huge patent portfolio so they would end with a pricey trial and probably end up paying licensing to each other of roughly equivalent value. It's just not worth it.

RE: For those who asked
By Gungel on 9/29/2011 1:54:54 PM , Rating: 2
What's WM7? WP7 is a Microsoft product and they have cross-license agreements with Apple on almost everything.

RE: For those who asked
By cjohnson2136 on 9/29/2011 1:56:58 PM , Rating: 2
WM7 is Window Mobile 7, some people call it that because 6.5, 6.0 were all Windows Mobile xx so some have cared that over to WP7 even though they are two extremely different products

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