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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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