Android kit-maker Pegatron inks Microsoft patent deal

The Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron has agreed to pay Microsoft licensing fees for each Android or Chrome device it makes.Microsoft said on Wednesday that the deal, the latest in a long string of such agreements, covers smartphones, e-readers and tablets.

The Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron has agreed to pay Microsoft licensing fees for each Android or Chrome device it makes.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that the deal, the latest in a long string of such agreements, covers smartphones, e-readers and tablets. It is the fourth such arrangement between Microsoft and a Taiwanese original device manufacturer (ODM), with Quanta, Wistron and Compal having already signed up.

"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Pegatron and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace," Microsoft intellectual property chief Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement.

Pegatron, which used to be Asus's manufacturing arm, makes Android devices for the likes of HTC and Lenovo.

Many 'original equipment manufacturers' (OEMs) — companies that tend to turn to ODMs to actually make their kit — have already signed similar agreements with Microsoft over Android patents. These include Samsung, Acer, Viewsonic, LG and many others.

However, the first to agree to pay Microsoft royalties over Android was HTC, back in April 2010. That was the first occasion on which Microsoft claimed that Android infringes on some of its patents.

Microsoft never discloses how much it receives in royalties for Android handsets and tablets, but the relative success of Android when compared to Windows Phone suggests that the company makes a lot more money off Android than it does off its own rival platform.

Google has in the past accused Microsoft of trying to levy a "tax" on Android devices, based on "largely questionable patent claims".

However, the Android licensing campaign is in some ways a continuation of Microsoft's quest to extract royalties from companies implementing Linux, the open-source kernel that lies at the heart of Android. Microsoft has claimed for years that Linux infringes on its patents, although it has never been clear about which patents are involved.