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  (Source: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Apple and Microsoft are pretty friendly with one Android phonemaker

These days whether it’s paying big licensing fees [1][2][3] to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) or facing equally terrifying lawsuit barrages [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7][8] [9][10][11] from Apple, Inc. (AAPLlife seems pretty tough for Android OEMs, despite the operating system's sales success.

Life is pretty tough for Android phone makers, that is, except for Sony.

Japan's Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) is fortunate enough to be sitting upon a massive pile of international intellectual property.  To boot, it added over 6,000 patents to that collection when it joined with Microsoft and Apple in purchasing Nortel Networks' IP.

Sony via its wholly owned Sony-Ericsson unit, which it recently bought out, produces a number of distinctive Android smartphones including the Gingerbread-powered Xperia Play 4G (aka "The PlayStation Phone") and the "Live With Walkman" music-minded handset.

Yet Sony has had the good fortune of seeing nary a lawsuit from Apple.  Part of that could be written off to the company's relatively small share of the overall big Android pie.  It's true that Apple primarily targeted the world's top three Android smartphone makers -- Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930), HTC Corp. (TPE:2498), and Google Inc. (GOOG) subsidiary Motorola Mobility -- a group that Sony did not have the distinction of being part of.

But then there's the fact that Microsoft doesn't even mention Sony in its recent diagram of who it's suing and who it's cutting licensing deals with. 
 
Microsoft lawsuits
Look, no Sony! [Source: Microsoft]

Given that Sony's been on the market for some time now with Android product, the message seems clear -- Sony, for whatever reason, doesn't have to license from Microsoft.

Sony Xperia Play, Live With Walkman
Sony's Xperia Play 4G (left) and "Live With Walkman" (right)

It looks like Sony knows some special kung fu when it comes to smartphone IP.

Sony might not have won the Android market over quite yet with its slick designs, but with other manufacturers paying Microsoft as much as $15 USD per handset and seeing their devices banned from sales in some regions, IP-strong Sony could be poised to rise up the ranks in global sales -- assuming it can generate enough compelling product.


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Music sooths the savage beast
By Misterbear on 11/7/2011 8:58:45 PM , Rating: 5
Apple has iTunes. Microsoft has Zune. Sony has music; lots and lots of music. This should not be a mystery as to why Sony has escaped the wrath of litigation.




RE: Music sooths the savage beast
By TSS on 11/8/2011 8:47:25 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Sony is a good example then of where this whole patent mess will end up once the patent wars are over.

It's back to the MAD doctrine for companies... only then with patents. Just a few, giant corperations that can each sue eachother into oblivion.


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