Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

Summary: Microsoft has signed yet another patent-protection deal with an Android phone/tablet maker. This time it's Samsung which is paying Microsoft an undisclosed amount for licensing undisclosed patents.

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Microsoft announced on September 28 that it has signed a patent-licensing deal with Samsung Electronics via which Samsung will be paying Microsoft undisclosed royalty payments to license undisclosed Microsoft patents.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties for Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets running the Android mobile platform," according to Microsoft's press release.

The deal sounds like the seven patent-protection agreements Microsoft has signed in the last three months with Acer, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic and Wistron -- all of which were targeted at these vendors' Android-based phones and tablets.

(The Samsung deal also adds an agreement to "cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone," Microsoft officials said.)

In an accompanying blog post from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and Deputy General Counsel Horracio Gutierrez, Microsoft used Samsung's agreement to take aim at Motorola Mobility, with whom Microsoft is currently involved in a legal struggle over claimed Android patent infringement.

From their just-published blog post:

"Together with the license agreement signed last year with HTC, today’s agreement with Samsung means that the top two Android handset manufacturers in the United States have now acquired licenses to Microsoft’s patent portfolio. These two companies together accounted for more than half of all Android phones sold in the U.S. over the past year. That leaves Motorola Mobility, with which Microsoft is currently in litigation, as the only major Android smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. without a license."

(It's worth noting that Motorola isn't the only company using Android that hasn't agreed to pay Microsoft for patent protection. Barnes & Noble also is still refusing to sign a similar patent agreement that would cover its Android-based Nook reader, not smartphones.)

Smith and Gutierrez also poked at Google, which has complained about Microsoft's intellectual-property-licensing tactics, in their blog post:

"We recognize that some businesses and commentators – Google chief among them – have complained about the potential impact of patents on Android and software innovation. To them, we say this: look at today’s announcement. If industry leaders such as Samsung and HTC can enter into these agreements, doesn’t this provide a clear path forward?"

The blog post also claims that "some mobile carriers" are the ones driving these kinds of patent-licensing deals "to address the patent issues that are important to the mobile marketplace."

Smith and Gutierrez also noted that Microsoft is "committed to entering into similar agreements with other handset manufacturers."

Topics: IT Employment, Android, CXO, Google, Microsoft, Samsung

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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85 comments
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  • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

    Microsoft only goes after small companies !!! -end sarcasm
    1773
    • Well, patents are bad

      @1773 Unless the just and noble Google owns them. So, this is bad.
      Your Non Advocate
      • Windows discounts

        It's a two part secret deal, another one of these 'you give us $45m, we give you a $45m equivalent in license fees and throw in a patent license for free. You are under an NDA, we get to promote the deal the way we see fit.' type things.

        Now, if that deal should include any fee which could be considered a discount on Windows licenses, then that is EXACTLY the action that caused an anti-trust case against them, and it's EXACTLY what they have a history of doing.

        WP7 licenses aren't worth much, MS couldn't balance the deal by discounting the WP7 license because Sammy doesn't sell enough of them.

        Microsoft patents are so junk in this area it won't even reveal them without an NDA (see claim against B&N), which means MS thinks you cannot independently determine if MS patents infringes your product just by reading the patent. A sure sign of junk patents and a weak claim.

        The only other major interaction between the two is Windows, and if Sammy gets a discount on those licenses in that secret deal, then that's an anti-trust violation.
        guihombre
      • Repeat after me - OFFENSIVE patents are bad ...

        @facebook@... DEFENSIVE patent acquisition is a reasonable reaction to offensive use of patents. How can anyone (reasonable and logical) fail to draw a distinction between e.g. patents managed by OIN and patents used to support FUD and extortionist tactics?
        daboochmeister
    • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

      @1773
      MS is using this as a "tool" to promote the POS known as Windows Phone. It's funny how there are no leaks as to what patents are violated. Almost makes you wonder what MS is afraid of.

      I can't wait until the coverage of Motorola's and Barnes and Noble's suit comes here. Should be very interesting.
      itguy10
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10 You want to know the details ? Get a job in Samsung, HTC, Microsoft or any of the companies who have signed licensing deals and rise to a position where you are important enough to know the details.
        1773
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10
        If HTC and Samsung didn't have a leg to stand on, then I would say things don't look great for Motorola. Google may have bought themselves into a lawsuit greater than Oracle.
        alek_sh2000@...
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10 <br>M$ is a legal goon that should be investigated by DOJ:<br>Why is Samsung rolling over at M$ command?<br>M$ is a legal thug and the community will stop it: <a href="http://techrights.org/2011/09/26/microsoft-real-strategy/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://techrights.org/2011/09/26/microsoft-real-strategy/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://techrights.org/2011/09/26/microsoft-real-strategy/</a></a><br>We need a leader like google to carry on the good fight.
        The Linux Geek
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10 I know what MS is afraid of.

        They're afraid that other companies will use their intellectual property for profit without compensating them for it.
        Winning Guy
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10
        I don't think they are afraid of anything at the moment. Just collecting their dues.
        kstap
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10 You're an idiot. Windows Phones spanks Androids laggy, ugly, unintuitive, fragmented, malware-ridden ass.

        As for Motorola, they are going to lose their suit against Microsoft. They've already been dealt a couple of blows in that case.
        jhammackHTH
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10

        Have you ever used a WP7 device? Probably not you must still be using the POS known as Android or IOS.
        Rob.sharp
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @itguy10

        These companies have some of the greatest lawyers on the planet...they wouldn't sign the agreement unless MS had them by the balls.
        Rob.sharp
    • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

      @1773 LOL! Are you really clueless? Samsung is a massive company.
      jhammackHTH
  • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

    I'ts all about FAT. These announcements are suppose to scare vendors off android. It doesn't appear to be having their desired effect if vendors are still willing to pay whatever it takes to use android.

    PS. For android, any advertisement from Microsoft for free, is money they don't have to spend on adverts.
    Return_of_the_jedi
  • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

    I'm not a patent attorney, but it seems to me that in the case of several of these companies, they have very deep pockets and very good lawyers, and if they're choosing to pay up it would seem that Microsoft likely has a pretty strong case. It also seems to me that Microsoft is being pretty fair about it, giving companies a path to compliancy rather than just filing a suit against them. Seems to me that Google will eventually be the big loser in all this.
    mgrubb@...
    • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

      @mgrubb@... <br><br><i>"Seems to me that Google will eventually be the big loser in all this."</i><br><br>And how is that if Microsoft has been relegated to a patent troll in the mobile space?<br><br>PS. Can being a patent troll in the mobile space sustain a monopoly in the Desktop space?
      Return_of_the_jedi
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @Return_of_the_jedi

        So a company develops some sort of technology and protects it from being ripped/used freely by patenting it and requesting license fees and they are automatically a patent troll?

        I don't care much for Microsoft, but if these companies are indeed using a technology that Microsoft developed, then they (MS) are entitled to something in return.

        Gotta love the alternate universe some people are living in thinking that everything should just be free for anyone to use.
        tk_77
      • RE: Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices

        @Return_of_the_jedi

        There is a difference. MS actually makes stuff. Patent trolls have no product. They just sue.
        dhmccoy
      • And Google is the IP thief that destroys value of content

        @Return_of_the_jedi

        If you think of MS as a patent troll. You either don't know what a patent troll is, or you simply can't face reality.
        Bruizer