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Microsoft Extracts Android Royalties From Dell

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Microsoft continues its pursuit of companies using Google’s Android operating system for royalty payments

Dell has agreed to pay Microsoft royalties over its use of the Android, becoming the latest in a series of companies agreeing to pay the Redmond-based company, which claims the operating system infringes its patents.

Google has previously labelled Microsoft’s controversial campaign against Android as nothing more than ‘extortion‘, but both Microsoft and Dell have issued a statement confirming they had signed a patent licensing agreement in order to “share technology and build on each other’s innovations.”

Licensing Deal

Android

The deal means Dell will pay royalties for products running Android or Chrome OS, while both firms will be able to license each other’s intellectual property relating to the two platforms, as well as the Xbox gaming console.

“Our agreement with Dell shows what can be accomplished when companies share intellectual property,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We have been partnering with technology manufacturers and vendors for many years to craft licensing deals, instead of litigation strategies.”

“Today’s announcement builds on our history of collaborating to bring new technologies to market. The relationship between Dell and Microsoft continues to help Dell deliver choice and flexibility to customers looking for the best technology to meet their needs,” said Neil Hand, vice president, End User Computing Products at Dell.

Controversial Campaign

Over the years, Microsoft has extracted licensing agreements from many tech vendors. According to patent blogger Florian Mueller, Dell has now become the 23rd Android patent license. He has previously stated that Microsoft owns “hundreds of patents relevant to Android.”

Some big names have bowed to Microsoft’s claims. In April last year, Foxconn (or Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd) signed up. That deal was highly significant, as Foxconn is estimated to manufacture 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronic devices.

Microsoft has also signed royalty deals with smartphone titan Samsung, as well as Acer, Compal Electronics, General Dynamics Itronix, HTC, Onkyo, Quanta Computer, Velocity Micro, Viewsonic and Wistron.

This of course leaves one very notable company that has not signed Microsoft’s licensing deal, namely Motorola. That company is of course owned by Google, but in January the search engine giant announced it was selling Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion (£1.76bn), just 19 months after the search giant completed a $12.5 billion (£7.58bn) takeover of the US smartphone manufacturer.

That prompted speculation that Lenovo could also eventually sign Microsoft’s patent agreement. However, it should be noted that Google will still retain the vast majority of the patents it acquired in the Motorola deal.

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