Microsoft signs Android patent deal with Motorola Solutions

Microsoft signs Android patent deal with Motorola Solutions

Summary: Motorola Solutions is the latest company to sign a patent-licensing deal with Microsoft covering devices that run Android and Chrome OS.

SHARE:

Microsoft's push to forge patent-licensing deals is continuing with the latest licensee being Motorola Solutions.

motorolasolutionsmsft

(Note: This deal has nothing to do with Motorola Mobility. Motorola Solutions is the communications-services part of Motorola that sells embedded/hardened devices and associated services to enterprise and government customers. Google sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in late January 2014.)

Microsoft and Motorola Solutions announced the patent agreement on April 21. The deal covers devices that run Android or Chrome OS. These devices include things like handheld computers, vehicle-mounted computers, ruggedized tablet and notebook products, and the like. Motorola Solutions is playing up its Android-based devices in 2014, according to a recent report from its partner conference.

The Microsoft press release announcing the agreement doesn't specify that Motorola Solutions is paying Microsoft an undisclosed patent license fee. That line is often, though not always, part of Microsoft's terminology when disclosing these kinds of deals.

Microsoft has signed Android and/or Chrome OS patent-licensing deals with more than 20 companies, including Dell, Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Microsoft has not publicly disclosed upon which patents it holds that it claims Android and Chrome OS infringe. 

Topics: Legal, Android, Microsoft, Patents, Windows

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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

23 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They are very good at extortion...

    keeping the cost of litigation higher than the extortion rate.
    jessepollard
    • yeah yeah

      give it a rest. if you have a problem with the law, change it. When google/apple do the same it is "fair" and "duty to shareholders" but when MSFT does it, oh then it is "extortion". Tired of your double standards. How about if licensing offends you so much, just try to get the laws changed. And then stick the "all but msft" clause in all of them.
      neonspark
      • Moto Most Likely has Better Patents than MSFT Ever Dreamed Of!

        Moto has both technology patents and software patents. Software patents are iffy at best in court. Patents on Hard Asset Technology products and feature will always trump Method Software patents and are more easily proved!

        Nobody knows who got the better of the deal. Since the Samsung Microsoft Patent sharing deal had Microsoft paying Samsung instead of Samsung paying for every Android device. That deal involved many technologies in Xbox One and smartphones as well as Desktops and Notebook computer Operating Systems, etc!

        Moto remember won against Microsoft in EU courts and I'm sure Xbox was involved in their patent deal too! :D
        KronJohn
    • Oh you know this how?

      What is the price in these cases of litigation vs signing a patent deal?
      How many years of paying license fees before it becomes more costly than winning (which you think they would) in a court case?

      For that matter, what is patent that is being called into question?



      Do you have anything factual to base your comment on, because it doesn't seem you do.



      When this many companies, some of which with deepest pockets in the industry, all line up to sign deals without fighting even the slightest then I think we can safely assume no one would win.
      Emacho
    • Actually, you're not very good a Spinning the truth

      we can see the hand of someone else in pretty much everything you post.

      How does it fell to be a simple lap dog?
      William.Farrel
    • Puleeze!!!

      In your wettest fantasy, there must be one of two things happening for the deal to be labeled "extortion":
      (1) There is actually no Microsoft intellectual property in Android at all. Microsoft is simply using its power to extort money.
      In this case, you have to explain two things:
      (a) How Microsoft is able to strong-arm these 20 or so companies even though several of which are as big as it, and force them to pay for things that their shareholders would consider to be criminal activities.
      (b) The government of China (which, as part of approving the Nokia-Microsoft merger), was presented with a list of Microsoft patents which it claimed were violated by Android, and which had access to the source code for Android to check these claims. The Chinese government, after these investigations, released a public statement saying that Android violated "200 patent families". I presume that a "patent family" means a set of related patents, but I could be wrong. So, according to the due diligence of the government of China, Android violates at least 200, and probably a lot more, of Microsoft patents. (But perhaps you think Microsoft can strong-arm China to do its bidding?)
      (2) You admit there is some Microsoft intellectual property which was stolen to create Android, but you think, for some reason, that the price paid by these 20 companies was far too high.
      So, in this case, please reveal your insider knowledge about the prices paid by these companies, so that we can judge whether they were higher than the market values of this intellectual property.
      Ian Easson
    • the cost of litigation

      Must in the billions nowadays. Only in your little dream world would companies the size of say Samsung pay hundreds of millions each year, just to avoid the costs of Litigation !

      Apparently in Apple's case, Samsung does actually seek litigation.

      This viewpoint is ridiculous and couldn't be further from the truth.

      The truth is, Android includes technology that needs to be licensed, case in point ActiveSync, that's why all these companies do pay Microsoft, it has nothing to do with extortion.
      sjaak327
  • if only

    whoever gets these agreements made would get hired to convince people to license WP for free instead then MSFT would have every OEM under the sun by now.
    neonspark
  • Is MSFT paying Motorola?

    Just saying...
    kirovs@...
    • Dont think so, but

      based on the title of the article I can understand your asking.
      thekman58
    • They could very well be cross licensing things?

      we'll give you this, you give us that type thing?
      William.Farrel
    • Long term MS customer

      Motorola have been a long term customer of MS technology, many of their handheld devices still run on Windows Mobile/CE 6!
      wright_is
    • Motorola has More Valuable Patents than Microsoft!

      The ridiculousness of software patents vs technology patents is really made apparent in this deal. Moto owns technology patents and Microsoft only has software patents. Most of which have never been tested in courts. Most of which are asinine method patents like Apple's!
      KronJohn
  • For MS to be strong-arming or extorting all of those Android/Chrome device

    makers...

    they either have the patents which Android/Chrome were using without permission,

    OR...

    those OEMs are all MS stockholders, whereby, they get their money back in the form of higher dividends, or higher MS stock prices,

    OR...

    both of the above.

    ;)
    adornoe@...
    • OR...

      In the case of Barnes & Noble, who decided to fight Microsoft rather than capitulate, the handful of initial patents alleged by Microsoft ( 5 to 6, if I remember correctly) get whittled down to just one. Whereupon Microsoft gets cold feet and reaches a settlement with Barnes & Noble which costs Microsoft, depending on whom you believe, $300 million U.S. or $600 million U.S.

      P.S. I predict that when The Lenovo Group closes the Motorola Mobility acquisition the fighting will finally end. The Lenovo Group wants to manufacture and sell mobile devices, not fight with Microsoft in court. It's a distraction (and, importantly, The Lenovo Group is also a Microsoft OEM).
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Where is the B&N victory in that scenario?

        It isn't like B&N was award damages from Microsoft. The end result was that Microsoft now owns a portion of B&N, has access to key assets and has positioned itself to prevent other companies to swoop in when B&N eventually gets sold.

        B&N didn't win anything. Microsoft achieved exactly what it set out to in that deal, but that doesn't mean Microsoft will make good use of what they have. It wouldn't be the first time they mismanaged something.
        Emacho
  • Who owns my patent?

    Before the split, Motorola owned two patents for which I am first inventor: Method and Apparatus to Facilitate Electrostatic Discarge Resiliency, United States 6,941,004 and Fingerprint Based Smartcard United States 7,028,893. We made a prototype and were in negotiations for their sale but never completed the deal. I've been gone from the company since 2005 but every time I hear about patent sales to Google, and now Microsoft, I chuckle, wondering who owns my patents now!
    CathrynG
  • lenovo/moto is simply licensing the fat32 LFN patent

    just like any other device maker which has removable storage. Cameras, mp3 players, etc. The difference is with smartphone OEMs, MS makes big press releases to make it look like they are still the bigshots on the block and earning big $$$.

    Wonder why MS hasn't gone after Google? Well, because the nexus line doesn't have removable storage.

    Ever since the B&N shakedown backfired, MS has given up on trying to extort large licensing fees based on the 6 (trivial) patents.

    This is also why every single one now immediately reaches a licensing deal - an inexpensive fat license. In some cases its a simple cross license and MS makes nothing or pays some out, to help ensure that no one sues MS for windows phone patent violations.
    drwong
    • Microsoft has no need to go after Google

      Google's Nexus devices are manufactured by companies that have already signed a patent agreement with Microsoft.

      The only remaining holdout is Motorola Mobility, soon to be part of The Lenovo Group. Expect the fighting to come to an end when this acquisition is finalized.

      P.S. As for the "6 (trivial) patents" used in the Barnes & Noble legal battle, a completely different set of patents was used by Microsoft for the legal battle with Motorola Mobility.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Ironically...

    ..Microsoft need Android to succeed more than the failure that is winphone. Wont be long before the board demand RT/winphones/xbox divisions got rid of
    Bladeforce