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Licensing rates were not disclosed

Remember Nikon Corp.'s (TYO:7731) Android-powered smart cameras like the Coolpix S800c?  Well it appears that adding Google Inc.'s (GOOG) free operating system isn't going to be quite so free -- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has successfully shaken down the Japanese camera maker for a licensing fee.

Most of the top Android phonemakers -- including HTC Corp. (TPE:2498and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) -- pay licensing fees ranging from $10 to $15 per unit to Microsoft.  Now it appears that the camera makers will be following in suit.  (Samsung presumably pays Microsoft a licensing fee on its "Galaxy" Android smartcameras).

In a press release Microsoft gloats:

The patent agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Microsoft’s specific patent licensing program for Android device makers has resulted in signed license agreements with numerous companies including Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer and Barnes & Noble.


Nikon Coolpix S800c

The licensing agreement is a cautionary tale to other camera makers.  Incorporating a smartphone-like OS into your point and shoot camera may be appealing, but it won't be free -- you'll have to pay the Microsoft tax.

Source: Microsoft



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What a crappy spin on a common business practice
By Nekrik on 2/22/2013 1:11:49 PM , Rating: 4
MS spends hundreds of millions on RND, and to keep funding that RND, which covers new techs like Kinect, or their efforts to thwart malware, bots, etc... they collect liscensing fees for the IP that they own (as mentioned in the article where the author refers to them gloating). Its sad to see well known sites like this try to inject such negetive spin on a common business practice that is utilized by nearly every company. As mentioned in another post, it's far better that they share the IP rather than use to push other players out of the market.




By kingbee1333 on 2/22/2013 1:42:52 PM , Rating: 3
Yeap Google just uses whatever they want, leaves the OEMs to fend for themselves, Apple just plays the sue card. Microsoft must not be extorting these companies, Motorola is the only holdout. B&N threatened a lawsuit, but ended up in a joint venture with MS instead.


By ResStellarum on 2/23/2013 11:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
Just to add to what you said sprockkets, none of Microsoft's claimed patents against Android have actually been tested in court. I have a feeling they'd all be invalidated like FAT due to prior art and being far too vague.


By JPForums on 2/25/2013 11:12:07 AM , Rating: 2
Back in the day, they may not have been so obvious and perhaps even deserving of the patents at the time, but seriously, how long can they keep charging for them. It may have been innovative two decades ago, but its old school now.


By reneemariejones on 2/22/2013 11:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
Coal miners work hard. Do they get a monopoly on coal? Microsoft never invented any of this crap. Read the patents. They are worthless junk that describe nothing. Worthless junk. Just licenses from the government to shake down the people who actually build things.


By Strunf on 2/25/2013 12:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
As if no other companies spent hundreds of millions in RnD... Intel and Samsung spend BILLIONS in RnD, Nikon itself spends close to a billion... it's not uncommon that companies in this fields spend over 10% of their budget in RnD.


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