Microsoft convinces another Android vendor to sign a patent-protection deal

Microsoft has added another Android backer to the list of those signing with Redmond for patent protection: General Dynamics.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has added another Android backer to the list of those signing with Redmond for patent protection.

On June 27, Microsoft announced that General Dynamics Itronix signed a patent agreement with Microsoft for Itronix devices running Android. Microsoft characterized the agreement as  providing "broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for General Dynamics Itronix devices running the Android platform."

"Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from General Dynamics Itronix under the agreement," said Microsoft in its press release.

The General Dynamics Itronix devices are ruggedized mobile tablets, netbooks and ultramobile PCs. Many of the products in the Itronix line are running various versions of Windows, according to their spec sheets. But the GD300, a "Rugged Wearable Computer for Military, Federal/Civil and Commercial Field Service Personnel," is Android-based.

Microsoft has signed patent-protection agreements with a number of device makers using Linux in their products, including Amazon,TomTom, Melco/Buffalo and more. More recently, Microsoft has been targeting vendors running Google's Linux-based Android operating system and is working to convince them to pay royalties to Microsoft to cover alleged patent-infringement issues involving Android. HTC signed a patent-protection deal with Microsoft for an undisclosed amount last year that focused on Android.

Not all Android vendors are signing on the IP (intellectual property) dotted line, however. Barnes & Noble is in a legal fight with Microsoft over Microsoft’s claim from earlier this year that the Android-based Nook e-reader violates Microsoft patents.

Some industry watchers believe Microsoft is currently making more from its Android patent deals than it is from licensing the Windows Phone operating system in the smartphone market.

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