In a move that has left me speechless, Microsoft has signed a deal with HTC that will see the handset maker pay the Redmond giant a royalty in order to be able to be able to run the Android platform on its handsets.
In other words, it seems that Microsoft believes that the Android platform infringes on some of its patents.
Here is what Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, had to say:
"Microsoft has a decades-long record of investment in software platforms. As a result, we have built a significant patent portfolio in this field, and we have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations. We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform."
What we don't get, as with most of Microsoft's claims of patent infringement, are details on what these infringements are. It's a safe bet to assume that they relate in some way to the Windows Mobile platform, but beyond that it's hard to guess.
If this is an infringement that affects the Android OS, then I guess we should expect to see similar deals emerge with other Android players soon (such as Samsung, LG, Dell and so on).
But where does this leave Google? After all, if Android infringes on Microsoft patents, then Microsoft could be entitled to some of Google's cash ... and Google has deeeeeep pockets.