Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

Summary: Microsoft added two more OEMs to its list of companies agreeing to sign patent-protection deals with the Redmond vendor to cover Android- and Chrome OS-based devices.

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After a hiatus of a couple of months, Microsoft is back to announcing more patent-protection deals with vendors selling Android and Chrome OS devices.

On September 8, Microsoft announced that both Acer and ViewSonic have signed patent-licensing agreements with Microsoft.

The Microsoft patent agreement with Acer includes patent coverage for Acer tablets and smartphones running Android. Microsoft officials declined to say if Acer paid Microsoft royalties as part of the agreement. Update: Microsoft is now saying that Acer is paying Microsoft royalties as part of the agreement.

The agreement with ViewSonic covers ViewSonic tablets and mobile phones running Android and Chrome OS. In ViewSonic's case, Microsoft will be receiving undisclosed royalties from ViewSonic as part of the arrangement.

Microsoft is using its patents as a way to try to fight Android’s growing dominance in the mobile space. Microsoft has convinced a number of makers of Android and Chrome OS devices to sign patent protection deals over the past year. Among those who've signed IP arrangements with Microsoft include OEMs and independent hardware vendors such as General Dynamics, Velocity Micro and Wistron. HTC paid Microsoft an undisclosed amount a year ago in a similar patent-protection deal.

Companies that are fighting against signing Android-related patent protection deals with Microsoft include Barnes & Noble and Motorola.

The Microsoft-Motorola patent fight recently kicked off with a trial before the U.S. International Trade Commission. The final judgment target date in the case is March 2012.

Topics: Microsoft, Android, Apps, Google, Hardware, Operating Systems

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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12 comments
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  • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

    I think saying "using its patents as a way to try to fight Android?s growing dominance" is a rather negative slant. Microsoft is using its patents to get paid for all the work that went in to getting them. Because protecting IP is what patents are all about. Microsoft would and has sued others over patents.
    Skippy99
    • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

      @Skippy99 I agree, if Microsoft was trying to stunt androids growth they'd be suing to block the sale of these devices.. like Apple, who is genuinely afraid of the android platform.
      clcrockett
      • Totally agree

        @ccrockett@...
        MS is using patents to make money. Apple is using patents to harm the competition.

        Both are actually perfectly acceptable. Business is business.
        toddybottom
    • a sucker is born every minute

      @Skippy99
      it's only a matter of convincing you that M$ has 'IP'.
      The community refutes these allegations and the so called M$ innovation.
      The Linux Geek
      • I'm confused then...

        @The Linux Geek

        Aren't HTC et al part of the Android community? They actively participate in its development. They certainly aren't refuting the allegations. Guess MS convinced the community, hmm? At least the part of it that makes money...

        Or are you trolling because you're really ABL?
        wolf_z
    • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

      @Skippy99. Seriously Skippy, you need to look at some of the patents in question, which I have done - the patents verge on ludicrous. If I recall, it was another article from ZDNet that had the link to the full patent text between Barnes&Noble/Microsoft, chase it up, do your homework. Assumptions that patents are used by the 'innocent' to protect their investment is well due for an overhaul. This was once the case, and intent of the patent system - but not in the IT industry.<br><br>Patents should be doing good, but abuse is creating serious harm with vague patents and patent trolling being a serious tax on innovation.<br><br>The effect of patents is the opposite of the original intent - patents discourage innovation - you invest hundreds of thousands in developing something new, but there's 100,000's patents, some vague and some quite trivial doing nothing, just waiting to pounce and steal some of your eventual profit (or just bludeon you if you look like competing with the big guys) - THAT is NOT the INTENT of patents - stifle innovation with the threat of questionable and opportunistic law-suits.<br><br>The problem is, that fighting patents is hard work and not always successful, even when the patent is both prior art and obvious (which a patent should not be). The patent office, lawyers, and judges are really bad at recognizing what is 'obvious or prior art' in our industry.
      P Newton
  • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

    There must be a lot of merit to these patents if more and more companies are signing agreements with Microsoft. Its funny they are making money off the competition and turning around and using it to develop Windows Phone 7.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

      @LoverockDavidson_

      A lot of merit? It's easier and cheaper to sign on than fight. Barnes&Noble are doing the hard lifting for everyone else.

      In reference to Barnes&Noble/Microsoft case, how about this: you know the old progress bar at the bottom of the screen that tells you something is happening?

      How about putting that visual indicator over the screen object being refreshed instead of the bottom of the screen? That's one patent in question - Barnes&Nobel are saying that this is 'obvious', because as they say, it can be either INSIDE or OUTSIDE of the visual area - there is no other option. THIS is the type of thing going on in patents. Not only is it obvious, but it has been prior art for a long time too. Neither point makes it a definite win in the court room.
      P Newton
  • Hedging their bets so they don't get stiffed!

    Obviously if they want to buy Windows 8 at a reasonable price it may be safer to put up and shut up.

    It's certainly a bit more risk free.
    albionstreet
    • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

      @albionstreet

      Doesn't that sound similar to what the DOJ punished Microsoft about several years ago? I kind of doubt that Microsoft would be trying that game again.
      mep01378
  • Select members only?

    Well with iDevices now choosing what software gets in, it certainly looks like you can now choose your own rules.
    albionstreet
  • RE: Acer and ViewSonic sign Microsoft patent deals covering Android, Chrome OS devices

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