Microsoft’s legal onslaught continues with the company grabbing its tenth Android patent license deal
Microsoft’s legal fight against Google’s Android operating system continues to deliver results, after another company signed on the dotted line.
Microsft revealed that Compal, one of the world’s largest original design manufacturers (ODM), has signed up to Microsoft’s Android patent licensing operation.
The news will prove to be another bitter pill for Google to swallow, after it accused Redmond of extortion last month, following the news that Samsung had agreed to pay Microsoft undisclosed fees for every Android smartphone and tablet it ships.
Samsung had joined HTC as the second major Android OEM to settle with Microsoft to head off prolonged patent infringement litigation. And the news that Compal has now also signed, will no doubt add to the pressure on those still resisting.
But the Microsoft blog posting, from executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel, reveals that Compal is actually the tenth license agreement Microsoft has reached so far.
“Today’s agreement is with Compal, one of the world’s largest Original Design Manufacturers, or ODMs,” said the blog. “Compal is based in Taiwan, where it produces smartphones and tablet computers for third parties and has revenue of roughly $28 billion (£17.6bn) per year.
“Today’s announcement marks Microsoft’s ninth Android agreement in the last four months,” they said. “More important, today’s announcement means that companies accounting for over half of all Android devices have now entered into patent license agreements with Microsoft.”
Microsoft published a couple of graphs to illustrate the state of Microsoft’s Android licensing progress.
As of the second quarter, 55 percent of ODM’s worldwide had signed a Microsoft license, while 45 percent remain unlicensed.
And overall, Microsoft revealed that 53 percent of all Android smartphones now being shipped are covered by a Microsoft licence thanks to Redmond’s deals with Samsung, HTC, Acer etc, with 47 percent remaining unlicensed.
And Microsoft issued a stark warning for those shipping Android devices not covered by a Microsoft deal.
“For those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it’s past time to wake up,” the blog warned. “As Microsoft has entered new markets from the enterprise to the Xbox, we’ve put together comprehensive licensing programs that address not only our own needs but the needs of our customers and partners as well. As our recent agreements clearly show, Android handset manufacturers are now doing the same thing. Ultimately, that’s a good path for everyone.”
The Motorola Factor
Of course Motorola Mobility remains the third and final major Android OEM with which Microsoft is seeking a licensing agreement.
However Google is trying to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion (£8bn) in an effort to boost its patent portfolio.
Microsoft has so far not revealed the exact Android-related patents that its rivals are allegedly infringing, but Redmond is thought to be pocketing as much as $440 million (£276m) a year from its Android licensing deals.
Patent blogger Florian Mueller shed a little light on the subject when he tweeted that Microsoft owns “hundreds of patents relevant to Android.”
He also uploaded a PDF that includes 21 examples of the Microsoft patents being used against Android.