Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

Summary: In its third such announcement this week, Microsoft officials said on June 30 that they have signed up Android tablet maker Onkyo Corp. as another of its patent licensees.

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In its third such announcement this week, Microsoft officials said on June 30 that they have signed up Android tablet maker Onkyo Corp. as another of its patent licensees.

Just like the case with General Dynamics and Velocity Micro -- the two previous Android vendors who signed patent-protection deals with Microsoft that were announced earlier this week -- the terms are not being disclosed. However, also as in the previous cases, Microsoft is announcing that it will be receiving royalties from Onkyo as a result of the agreement.

Onkyo, headquartered in Japan, sells a variety of Windows PCs, audio components and home-theater peripherals and systems.

Microsoft is definitely trying to make a point by trickling out the patent-licensing agreements one after another. And Microsoft's point is that Android violates Microsoft patents and companies that are betting on Android are making a risky bet.

Microsoft has convinced a number of Android and Linux-based device makers that it's better and cheaper to pay than fight.  Among those companies with Android- and Linux-based devices that have capitulated, besides General Dynamics, Velocity and Onkyo, are HTC, Amazon, TomTom, Buffalo and others.

Barnes & Noble, so far, is not backing down, and is taking its fight public with Microsoft over its Android-based Nook.

According to B&N's response to Microsoft's legal complaint, Microsoft told B&N officials that the Nook infringed six patents that Microsoft claimed to own. However, B&N said that Microsoft officials said they’d share details only if B&N officials signed a non-disclosure agreement. B&N refused to sign an NDA, claiming the patents were public, as was the Nook product.

“Microsoft demanded an exorbitant royalty (on a per device basis) for a license to its patent portfolio for the Nook device and at the end of the meeting Microsoft stated that it would demand an even higher per device royalty for any device that acted ‘more like a computer’ as opposed to an eReader," B&N said in its response.

Microsoft is believed to be collecting $5 per user for each Android phone sold from those companies which have signed Microsoft's patent agreement. I asked Microsoft officials earlier this month if that figure was correct and was told the company had no comment. I am wondering if the Microsoft toll is higher for Android tablets. Based on the B&N comment above, I'd expect it might be.

Topics: Microsoft, Android, Software, Operating Systems, Open Source, Mobility, Linux, Google, CXO, IT Employment

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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31 comments
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  • And....

    Expect to see all the anti-Microsoft/pr-open source zealots complaining about this and the other deals. I would like to see them own a company developing some technology and spending maybe millions on it and then finding out that some other company duplicated the technology and weren't compensated for it. This would be typical of the open source zealots [not those who like open source but those who go to the extreme. Then of course you have the anti-Microsoft zealots who go against Microsoft no matter how wrong they are.
    Gis Bun
    • re: And ...

      @Gis Bun <br><br>Do the company (<a href="http://www.us.onkyo.com/" target="_blank">Onkyo</a>) mentioned make ANY android tablets? The answer is NO. <br>It's a ploy by M$ to spread FUD. <br><br>Expect to see more of this tactic. Get any <i>old</i> electronic company to sign some so call NDA then tell it to the press knowing the press will report it without any proof of validity. Hence FUD is released in the wild.<br><br>PS. Who on earth would buy an Onkyo tablet. Would you? yes?
      Return_of_the_jedi
      • Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

        @Return_of_the_jedi Yes they do make Android tablets.
        engadget.com/2010/12/27/onkyo-blesses-10-1-inch-ta117-android-tablet-with-nvidias-tegra/
        crunchgear.com/2010/12/30/slatepad-ta117-onkyo-rolls-out-10-1-inch-android-tablet/
        1773
      • Like this...

        @Return_of_the_jedi

        http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/27/onkyo-blesses-10-1-inch-ta117-android-tablet-with-nvidias-tegra/

        I guess they do or are looking to get in the market.

        Just like GD is looking to get into ruggedized military applications with Android.
        Bruizer
      • re: Like this...

        @Bruizer<br><br>I stand corrected. They did make One.
        Return_of_the_jedi
      • RE: Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

        @Return_of_the_jedi
        Onkyo didn't sign an NDA. They signed a 'settlement'. In other words they admitted guilt and wrote a cheque.
        Major Plonquer
    • RE: Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

      @Gis Bun
      Take a look at the patents, those are spurious, most of them with very known previous art, so those should be easy to discard. Some are so arcane that I remember those in the DOS times (more than 20 years ago), and in use by non MS Products.
      Fox-Info
      • Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

        @Fox-Info What patents ? Is there any info about which patents are in consideration ? If there is a link/source please provide for the benefit of all others !!!
        1773
      • Hey, you're a patent expert, with insider knowledge of the NDA'a!

        @Fox-Info
        Good thing you're using a fake name here, you could be thrown in jail for breaking the NDA you signed, as that's th eonly way you could know what patents are in question!
        Will Pharaoh
    • The bigger problem is

      @Gis Bun There was tumor embeded in software industry at the very beginning: people think software should be free. You see those mobile apps, 99cents each, people still don't want to pay, if there is free one, they will get the free one instead, even not as good. People go to dollar store, never think too much about the cost, what can you do with a dollar? Why is that? Why people go to any store, they never expect to get anything for free, in software, they never think they should pay. And why is that? Because software (along with internet) was originally an academic thing, those professors and colllege students wrote it, and share it. They are used to it. When companies commericialize it they got upset. You knew what happened when AT&T decided to commerilize Unix. Sad thing is those get it for free mentality goes to general public. Count for yourself, how much money you have spend on software each month, comparing to you spend on bubble gums? I can be sure you use software every day.
      jk_10
      • Actually

        @ jk_10

        I agree with your general point, but I think most early software was developed by hardware firms and included in the hardware prices, so appeared to end users to be 'free' (which of course it wasn't). A business model based on splitting software from hardware was where Bill Gates was ahead of most others, and being there early was a major reason for Microsoft's success.

        Even though Microsoft have taken some of the rents that used to go to hardware firms, splitting software from hardware has almost certainly been good for customers. It was bad for a lot of hardware firms, who were used to high margins, protected by high switching costs.
        WilErz
      • RE: Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

        @jk_10 - When software is described as free, it is a reference to freedom rather than price. People are encouraged to sell and buy free software.

        By definition, free software must meet the following requirements:

        1. Freedom to use the software however you wish.
        2. Freedom to study how the software works and to make modifications if you wish (source code is a prerequisite for this).
        3. Freedom to sell or otherwise redistribute exact copies of the software.
        4. Freedom to sell or otherwise distribute your modified versions of the software.
        HeWhoE
  • folks, this racketeering is getting very serious!

    M$ has to be investigated immediately by DOJ!
    The whole IT industry must gang up in courts against M$ while we, the people must write terse letters to congress demanding an antitrust trial against M$ and FOSS legal protection and commitment by the government.
    Linux Geek
    • re: folks, this racketeering is getting very serious!

      @Linux Geek <br><br>Don't get all bent out of shape. There is no agreement signed. It's to spread FUD.<br><br>Until the press can prove/verify those so call NDA. It's only hot air.<br><br><i>"... this racketeering is getting very serious!"</i><br>No, they just only ratcheted up the FUD. Remember they are masters at this.<br><br>PS. When you see NDA, you see FUD. Cuz the patents should be public if it's on a public product.
      Return_of_the_jedi
      • Quite alot of 'experts' here

        @Return_of_the_jedi

        I always thought you where small potatos, but you sound like a big-time expert with alot of insider knowledge!
        I think I'll start believeing you, as opposed to people actually involved with these deals!
        Will Pharaoh
    • Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

      @Linux Geek Bravo resident jester !! Bravo !! Nice going ! Nice start to the day !! :)
      1773
    • Why should FOSS get a free pass on theft of IP.

      @Linux Geek

      While the do-only-evil company reaps the rewards by tying everything to intrusive ad engines?

      I expect Android will cost about $10-$20/unit by the time all its mis-appropriated IP is accounted for.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

        @Bruizer
        I hope you are not considering in that IP those 5 patents brought to the Nook suit, or most of those claims in the Motorola suit, because those patents won't pass close examination.
        Fox-Info
      • RE: Microsoft gets Android tablet maker Onkyo to sign sign a patent agreement

        @Bruizer <br>Android does not infringe any IP.period.<br>Only patent trolls claim otherwise. Just read groklaw for more info.
        Linux Geek
      • @linux-geek: groklaw as an unbiased source?

        Yea, right.

        GrokLaw is so biased as to be believable only by the very gullible. Their agenda is very very clear. Remove any financial incentive to actually innovate in software.
        Bruizer