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Microsoft's latest two Android patent pals: Wistron and Rakuten

Wistron and Rakuten are the latest two vendors to sign patent-licensing deals with Microsoft for their Android devices.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Microsoft is continuing to ink patent-licensing deals with makers of Android devices.

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This week, Microsoft renewed an Android patent licensing deal with Wistron. It also signed a first-time deal with Rakuten Inc. Financial terms of neither deal were disclosed, nor were many particulars.

Microsoft's initial patent deal with Wistron dates back to 2011. At that time, Taiwanese ODM, or original design manufacturer, Wistron signed a patent agreement deal to cover its "tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform."

(Wistron's customers are other OEMs who create commercial devices. Wistron was formerly the design arm of Acer.)

On Monday this week, Microsoft and Wistron announced they had renewed their Android patent licensing deal, which covers "Wistron's tablets, mobile phones, e-readers, and other consumer devices running Android and Chrome platforms under Microsoft's patent portfolio."

Rakuten, based in Tokyo, is a services company. The company provides e-commerce, e-book/e-reading, online marketing, financial and digital content services. The company also provides services in professional sports.

However, Rakuten's worlwide patent cross-licensing deal with Microsoft covers each company's "respective consumer electronics products, including Linux- and Android-based devices," according to Microsoft's press release.

Interestingly, neither of this week's Android patent deals include agreements by either Android device vendor to preload any Microsoft apps or services on their devices. For a while, that seemed like it was a trend, and possibly part of Microsoft's latest Android patent-licensing strategy. But a Microsoft spokesperson noted that the terms of every patent deal are different.

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