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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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RE: Sony... meh.
By retrospooty on 11/8/2011 5:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
"The fact remains they all, with the exception of Mac OS since Apple locks it to Apple hardware"

Exactly... Then Swash makes it sound like an asset... Honestly, if Mac OS were available and installable on my self built PC, I would buy it right now today (and actually pay real money LOL)

The fact is Apple cant do what MS does. If they had to support 10's of thousands of different hardware and software from thousands of makers it would the most unstable OS out there. They lock out most software vendors, and lock out most hardware vendors, then don't allow their OS to be installed on REAL PC's ... This is why in spite of their "vast superiority" they can only muster 5-6% of the global market (and that is after their recent popularity surge).


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