Microsoft adds Foxconn parent to list of Android patent deal scalps

Summary:The world's largest contract manufacturer has joined Microsoft's Android licensing party.

Microsoft has finally convinced Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai to agree to its Android licensing deal, joining the already sizeable list of original device manufacturers that produce Android devices that have already signed on the dotted line.

Like previous agreements Microsoft has struck with Hon Hai's rivals, details of the worldwide patent licensing agreement were not disclosed. However, Microsoft said that it will receive royalties from Hon Hai.

The agreement, announced on Tuesday, offers Hon Hai coverage for Microsoft's unspecified patents for devices running Android and Chrome OS, which have included makers of smartphones, embedded devices, and cameras.  

"The licensing agreement with Microsoft represents those efforts and our continued support of international trade agreements that facilitate implementation of effective patent protection," said Samuel Fu, director of the intellectual property department at Hon Hai, adding that the company holds 54,000 patents of its own. 

Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft, commented that the "world's largest contract manufacturer" had now joined its program that already includes rival ODMs, Compal and Quanta Computer, in addition to Acer, Samsung, Barnes & Noble, LG Electronics, and HTC among others .

While a significant addition, Hon Hai, Apple's primary iPhone contract manufacturer, draws most of its revenues from iDevices and last week posted a 19 percent year on year decline in Q1 2013 sales that was attributed to soft demand for the iPhone, Reuters reported.

Nonetheless, in 2011, Microsoft struck licensing agreements with companies accounting for over half of all Android devices. Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced yesterday that new Androids were being activated at a rate of 1.5 million a day, according to CNET.

One manufacturer still holding out on Microsoft's Android licensing agreements is Motorola Mobility , which is in ongoing patent litigation with Microsoft — drawing Google, Motorola Mobility's owner and driving force behind Android, into the fray.

The pair are set to face off again over patents in the Mannheim regional court this Friday, according to patents expert Florian Mueller

Topics: Mobility, Google, Legal, Microsoft


Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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