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

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.

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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

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

    It doesn't get funnier than this, linux is paying Microsoft. So linux does infringe on Microsoft's patents despite people trying to tell me otherwise.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

      @LoverockDavidson
      "Linux" isn't paying, but I know what you mean. Some manufacturers that use android are deciding that its cheaper to give in to this M$ racket than fight. That's a testament to android's success, though and I don't think it will be a barrier to continued adoption of android even if companies know they may have to pay up. I'd rather pay $5 for the relative freedom of android than $15 or more for windows, and MS will own you. Its frustrating to see Balmer's pockets get filled off of android, though. MS is the biggest copycat of all. I think the patents in question are more on general UI functions than the core kernel. Here's to continued failure for MS in mobile and win8 on tablets will FAIL big time.
      deathjazz
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        Microsoft DO have valid patents upheld by the courts in many of those areas, Microsoft is not blowing smoke here.<a rel="follow" href="http://www.classmates.com/directory/school/Woodfield%20Junior%20High%20School?org=17962221">Woodfield High School</a> | <a rel="follow" href="http://twitter.com/woodfielduni">Woodfield University</a>
        Karston1234
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        nice sharing..<a rel="follow" href="http://www.nhscampus.com/">Nation High School</a>
        Karston1234
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

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        Karston1234
    • Ummmm...no

      @LoverockDavidson
      I'm sorry your reading comprehension falls into the realm of a two year old, but it is what it is. No, "Linux" isn't paying Microsoft for anything and some companies deciding to preemptively pay for patent protection isn't proof of actual patent infringement. One would think that you'd have learned that from the whole SCO fiasco a few years back. Several companies actually wasted money paying SCO for protection which was ultimately found to be unnecessary in the courts. Some companies would rather pay a little bit of insurance up front "just in case". The fact that the payment was "some undisclosed sum" could very well mean nothing more than Microsoft is running a PR battle and talked Wistron, General Dynamics, Velocity Micro and Onkyo were made offers to pay a very small amount, which quite possibly would be recouped in side deals ultimately costing them nothing. By failing to disclose any of the details of these deals, Microsoft only leaves the door wide open for speculation like this.

      It doesn't get funnier than people who don't remember SCO thrilling the world by claiming all kinds of patent violations by Linux jumping on the same bandwagon yet again. Just another same old, same old wearing a Microsoft hat directly instead of an SCO hat paid for by Microsoft. Only time and a court decision will tell if the outcome is any different this time.
      jasonp@...
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        @jasonp@... <br>that's one of the reason I left the linux community. does it make you feel better when you tell someone they have the comprehension of a 2 year old? that's disgraceful and degrading.<br><br>but back on topic. "Linux/foss" is not really owned by anyone so Microsoft can't "sue" linux. but they can Manufacturers who uses it. suing regular users isn't worth anything and if it is it would basically not worth going after. however Microsoft broke down the categories where linux infringes on their patents: <br>Linux kernel - the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware - violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68. <br><br>any linux user of any distribution knows and sees that many parts of linux looks like a bad knockoff of windows 95/98/2000, the menu system is essentially the same. fat file system and it's variants are patented by microsoft but they still blatantly use them in the foss community/linux/etc. we're all aware of microsoft's patents in their Microsoft exchange system and Microsoft office.<br>Microsoft DO have valid patents upheld by the courts in many of those areas, Microsoft is not blowing smoke here.<br>if you're an actual linux user, dev contributor or whatever, it's time you get your head out the sand. Linux as a kernel, GUI, system, is full of infringements.
        blazing_smiley_face
      • stop spreading FUD!

        @blazing_smiley_face
        talking crazy and coming up with phony numbers of M$ patents earns you the king of FUD title for today!
        Linux Geek
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        @jasonp@... Oh God, shut up! Linux is a joke. It has always infringed on a number of patents, including those owned by Microsoft. It's run by people who don't do due diligence or have lawyers to review their work for patent infringement.

        The fact that so many OEMs are agreeing to pay, at the very least suggests they know Android, ie Linux, infringes on patents held by Microsoft. Otherwise, why pay for something you don't have to. These companies have law firms and I'm sure they reviewed the patents before agreeing to pay.
        JoeHTH
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        @jasonp@... Exactly, I agree with your points.
        <a href="http://www.gwebpro.com/">SEO Toronto</a>
        jamesalan85
    • Sad

      @LoverockDavidson
      "It doesn't get funnier than this, Linux is paying Microsoft."
      Yes, sad, is it not. In the end we consumers pay for that game. For that new non government tax. Mostly for some old ?ideas? with the cost of finding them in no relationship to the requested amounts. Ideas so obvious that they where ?discovered? again and again, every time slightly different with a new technology that came available. But that is not what the lawyers tell.
      bezoeker
    • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

      @LoverockDavidson

      Linux is not a company.
      DonRupertBitByte
  • Well

    I find it funny that Microsoft is making money while Google continues to give away Android for FREE!!!
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

      @Hasam1991 . Its not free. Every OEM including Google premier apps (gmail, marketplace etc) need to pay google.
      5ri
  • why isn't DOJ investigating M$

    for restraint of trade?
    We, the people should rise against the beast!
    Linux Geek
    • Why isn't the DOJ investigating Google

      @Linux Geek
      for what is commonly known as "dumping" (giving away a product for "less than fair value").

      Or are you saying that Linux has no value, so it should be allowed?
      John Zern
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        @John Zern
        Android like FOSS is not dumping because people find it usefull and has a rock solid business model.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        @John Zern
        I think thats what he meant, even his response to you doesn't support it.
        Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft adds Android and Chrome OS OEM Wistron to its patent-protection roster

        Be thankful for that.
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    • Louder...

      @Linux Geek -deal with it. The communists calls Capitalists evil. As it turns out, Karl Max, Lenin, Chairman-Mao became joke of their own people. You are holding a theory that is at least 1 centry out of date.
      jk_10