Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

Summary:It looks like Microsoft is going to continue to roll out, one by one, the names of Android OEMs which have agreed to sign patent-protection deals with the company.

It looks like Microsoft is going to continue to roll out, one by one, the names of Android OEMs which have agreed to sign patent-protection deals with the company.

The first to be announced this week, on July 5, was Taiwanese OEM Wistron. Wistron -- like General Dynamics, Velocity Micro and Onkyo -- is paying Microsoft some undisclosed sum. Other than that, terms of their deal are not being disclosed.

Wistron, according to Microsoft's press release, is signing up fro coverage of its "tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform."

Like most of the Android OEMs which have signed up recently to license Microsoft's patents, Wistron isn't a household name. It is an ODM (original design manufacturer), whose customers are other OEMs which create commercial devices. Wistron provides these OEMs with everything from circuit boards, to testing and customization, to finished goods and services which they can label with their own branding. Wistron formerly was the design arm of Acer. In 2002, the two became separate legal entities. Acer is a key Microsoft partner, which increasingly has been rolling out a number of non-Windows-based wares -- including Chromebooks -- as of late.

At one point, Wistron also was manufacturing the Xbox 360, thought that no longer seems to be the case.

Not every Android device maker is conceding (or seemingly conceding) that Android is violating Microsoft patents. Barnes & Noble is fighting Microsoft in court to avoid paying patent royalties on the Android-based Nook e-reader.

Update: A related aside: Microsoft isn't the only one that B&N is fighting over potential patent royalties, as Bloomberg noted today. It is fighting chipmaker LSI over the Nook, too. (Thanks to @FOSSpatents for the link.)

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Operating Systems

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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