Microsoft adds Foxconn parent to list of Android patent deal scalps

Microsoft adds Foxconn parent to list of Android patent deal scalps

Summary: The world's largest contract manufacturer has joined Microsoft's Android licensing party.


Microsoft has finally convinced Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai to agree to its Android licensing deal, joining the already sizeable list of original device manufacturers that produce Android devices that have already signed on the dotted line.

Like previous agreements Microsoft has struck with Hon Hai's rivals, details of the worldwide patent licensing agreement were not disclosed. However, Microsoft said that it will receive royalties from Hon Hai.

The agreement, announced on Tuesday, offers Hon Hai coverage for Microsoft's unspecified patents for devices running Android and Chrome OS, which have included makers of smartphones, embedded devices, and cameras.  

"The licensing agreement with Microsoft represents those efforts and our continued support of international trade agreements that facilitate implementation of effective patent protection," said Samuel Fu, director of the intellectual property department at Hon Hai, adding that the company holds 54,000 patents of its own. 

Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft, commented that the "world's largest contract manufacturer" had now joined its program that already includes rival ODMs, Compal and Quanta Computer, in addition to Acer, Samsung, Barnes & Noble, LG Electronics, and HTC among others.

While a significant addition, Hon Hai, Apple's primary iPhone contract manufacturer, draws most of its revenues from iDevices and last week posted a 19 percent year on year decline in Q1 2013 sales that was attributed to soft demand for the iPhone, Reuters reported.

Nonetheless, in 2011, Microsoft struck licensing agreements with companies accounting for over half of all Android devices. Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced yesterday that new Androids were being activated at a rate of 1.5 million a day, according to CNET.

One manufacturer still holding out on Microsoft's Android licensing agreements is Motorola Mobility, which is in ongoing patent litigation with Microsoft — drawing Google, Motorola Mobility's owner and driving force behind Android, into the fray.

The pair are set to face off again over patents in the Mannheim regional court this Friday, according to patents expert Florian Mueller

Topics: Android, Google, Microsoft, Patents

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Re:

    Expecting an article from SJVN in 3...2...1
  • Android is a stolen product.

    Good to see that the rightful owners get paid for their IP.
    • How much did they get paid?

      And for what where they paid?

      I will believe when I see numbers.
      Deep Thinker
      • Look it up. MS makes a lot more money from Android than Google does,

        and, if MS were to drop all the other stuff they make, and decided to just collect royalties from all devices which run Android, they could still be one of the biggest 1000 companies in the world.
  • oh well...

    More writing material for JSVN that's all
    Throw All The Things
  • If FoxConn signed up

    then MS must have some fairly solid IP and related legal protection. FoxConn has just as many lawyers, if not more, than MS.

    See, Android was good for MS in many ways! Linux was good as well. Nice to see Open Source supporting MS.

    Android pours money into MS through licensing.
    Linux makes it look like Windows has competitors so the governments leave MS alone

    Nice to see all that financial support for MS!
    • Write your Congressman

      Maybe if every MS fan in the US asks them to, members will be persuaded to repeal the Sherman Antitrust Act, so we can do away with competitive software markets once and for all.
      John L. Ries
    • Cynical99: "Android pours money into MS through licensing"

      I, for one, would like to know how many years it will take Microsoft to break even with Barnes & Noble via Nook tablet sales. Microsoft's 'settlement' with B & N cost it $300 million U.S. More here:
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • perhaps never

        Perhaps it was more of an R&D venture rather than cash making. At any rate, B&N is small pickins compared to Foxconn. I suspect there were back payments from Foxconn as well. That could add up to some solid cash.
        • RE: "perhaps never"

          Not a bad answer, but "an R&D venture"?! Please expand on this ...

          On the surface, NewCo, the joint venture between Microsoft and B & N, is about educational book sales. If B & N survives, Microsoft might eek out some revenue from book sales in addition to Nook tablet sales. Still, "perhaps never" is not a bad answer.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • NewCo was more of a PR move than a real venture,

            and the 300 million is not not much, comparatively speaking.

            B&N will eventually fold, and MS won't even feel the loss. ;)
      • Errr....

        Who gives a flying phrack about what Microsoft & B&N sales are. They have little to to nothing to do with patent issues.
  • Microsoft adds Foxconn parent to list of Android patent deal scalps

    I like how Microsoft is making more money from android than Google. There is a lot of merit to these patent claims if you have so many high profile companies signing on.
    • Why do you care?

      Do you hold stock in MS?
      John L. Ries
  • Sounds fair

    Why should Google or any android based devices get a free ride off someone else R&D investment.
  • Sorry,

    for example the FAT long filename extension would have taken one person about a day to think up - its trivial to implement and should have never been patentable. That patent was the basis for the multimillion dollar Tom Tom licence deal.
    So much of these software patents are trivial crap. The claim is that just because something is patented it much have required millions and millions in investment to develop. The good ones like complex protocols end up under FRAND where they are licensed.
    Secondly, just because you have a huge portfolio of trivial software patents doesn't mean you should wield them offensively. This is a matter of ethics and karma is and will payback.

    Microsoft, you suk and I hope you continue your painful embarrasing journey right down the crapper.
    • Oh....

      And we know where you stand..... You don't seem to care about the law.

      Here's a nice example: You have your own company. You create some type of technology that will revolutionize the computer industry but spent years and a lot of money to do so. Out of the blue, some mammoth company stole your work and includes it as part of their work without compensating you.

      I guess you don't mind if they stole your technology, right?

      On the other hand, some "technology" such as swiping the screen to unlock a device is totally useless to try and patent. [Sort of like Google patenting the picking of one's nose.]
      • Be careful of what you say..

        Oh how soon we forget history! That's exactly how M$ got their start. They stole their operating systems (DOS) from Digital Research. Look it up. M$ was required to pay Novell (the owners of Digital Research at the time) royalties for each copy of DOS sold. That's also when Windows 95 came out and why M$ was so adamant that it was no longer DOS (even though you could find references to DOS versions in the code all the way through XP).

        Also, did anybody read any of the transcripts of the M$ DOJ trial? I had to stop reading after a while because it was making me too angry over all of the lying and cheating by M$ that was being uncovered.
  • Ah, the obligatory reference to Mr Mueller!

    How does he persuade you to keep calling him a "patent expert"? Could you elaborate on what you believe his "expertise" is based upon, please? As far as I am aware, he is merely a blogger and a lobbyist.
  • Kudos to Microsoft

    Great deal for both Microsoft and Foxconn. This is a win-win.