Microsoft signs Android patent and Windows Phone marketing deal with Samsung

By Tom Warren, on 28th Sep 11 12:48 pm with 28 Comments

Samsung Focus Windows Phone

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has signed an Android patent deal with Samsung.

The agreement will see Samsung licence Microsoft’s patent porfolio to cover the company’s use of the Android operating system. Microsoft will receive royalties from Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets running Android. Microsoft and Samsung have also agreed to develop and market Windows Phone further. The deal confirms rumors from July that Microsoft was attempting to chase Android patents from Samsung. The software giant was allegedly demanding that Samsung pay $15 for each Android smartphone handset it manufactures. Reports suggested that the payment would lower to $10 per device in exchange for a closer alliance with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.

“Microsoft and Samsung see the opportunity for dramatic growth in Windows Phone and we’re investing to make that a reality,” said Andy Lees, president, Windows Phone Division, Microsoft. “Microsoft believes in a model where all our partners can grow and profit based on our platform.”

Microsoft has previously inked patent protection deals with WistronGeneral Dynamics Itronix,Velocity Micro, Onkyo, Acer and Viewsonic. The agreements all appear to be identical to each other and provide cash royalties to Microsoft. The deals follow a  HTC and Microsoft patent agreement signed last year relating to HTC’s mobile phones running Android. Although the terms of the deal were undisclosed, it was recently reported that Microsoft receives $5 for every HTC device sold. Microsoft is widely believed to generate more revenue from Android patents than its own Windows Phone licences. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has previously said that Android is not free. “Android has a patent fee. It’s not like Android’s free,” he said in October last year.

Microsoft’s Samsung Android patent agreement comes just weeks after Google accused the company of “getting into bed” with Apple to attack Android. “Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats,” said Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond. “So when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on.” Google believes that Android’s success has created an organised campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and others through patents. “This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth,” claims Drummond.

  • http://twitter.com/mdtauk martin anderson

    I want to know more about what Samsung will be doing for Windows Phone now Tom…

    • Anonymous

      Better WP devices and some actual marketing would be a nice start.  Has anyone ever seen an advertisement (in any form) for a Samsung WP device?

  • Anonymous

    Android is free , opensource … oh oh wait >.<

    • yahoo

      it is, except in a world of patents

    • Anonymous

      glad we have patents because then we would have people giving away the hard work of others for free..

    • Anonymous

      True. Too bad it also works the other way, hindering some new developments due to unreasonable patent protections. Rambus comes to mind…

    • http://twitter.com/mdtauk martin anderson

      This is why I value Microsoft’s approach.  Share the patents around, encourage more sales, drive innovation, compared to Apple’s approach where they want to use their patents to stop other business, and be the sole proprietor for products and sales

    • Oh Hai :D

      Agreed, If google thinks that software patents should be void why dont  they release their search algorithms for all to use? It really just comes down to the hard fact that Google sucks at the game of phones. and i am sure if Google were in Microsofts position they would be doing the same thing.

    • Jinge

      The funny thing is that it is probably almost as expense as WP, and on both side, MS takes the money!

    • Guest

      and MS doesn’t have to worry about more development or upgrades… Google does the hard work, MS collects the money

    • Guest

      What’s so hard about stealing other people’s IP and copying iPhone?

    • Guest

      I imagine it’s $5 or so vs around $10-15 for WP. But you have to look at the total picture. With MS, you’re getting blanket indemnification. If anyone sues you regarding any aspect of the OS, MS is obligated to defend you. You also get coop marketing dollars, etc.

      With Android, even if you sign up with MS and pay the $5, you’re still mostly on your own. Which means facing someone like Apple who won’t settle for any licensing fee; their minimum demand is that you stop shipping anything related to their patents completely. AND you now how to deal with the fact that your former partner is now a competitor (if the Mot deal goes through), even if they pretend they’re not, and spending billions buying up patents from IBM and others to protect who? They’re saying everyone and have recently supplied a few to some OEMs. But how long with that continue for?

      Last, I think Google is more like than not to run afoul of the DOJ regarding their search dominance. If/when that happens, it’s very likely that things they can get away with now, like dumping Android for free to - by their own admission - better monetize their existing business,  will be deemed monopoly maintenance and therefore illegal.

  • Jinge

    Lol…
    And 1 question: it is only for US sold phones, or for all ?

    I hope Ss is going to release  nice WP, same quality as its Android phones.

    • Guest

      It would be worldwide. All the others are.

    • Jinge

      That is something I can’t understand. The patent thing is only for US territory and companies, so everything done outside for a foreign company shoudn’t be billed?

  • http://www.ratdiary.com spragued

    Google: “Don’t be evil. Stealing isn’t evil… right?”

    • http://twitter.com/OldCongress Gamer

      To gewgle, stealing isn’t evil :(
      Now here’s the plan : Whine and cry, complaining that patents are unfair.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s just say that they weren’t kidding when the bragged about Android supporting Copy/Paste from the start.  Only problem is it wasn’t just text.

    • Anonymous

      now that’s funny

    • Guest

      I almost spit out my coffee on that one! Thanks for the laugh.

    • Mrdeezus

      Now Sprint release dream windows mango phone:
      4.3″ screen or bigger
      2 cameras
      32gb or more internal memory
      The rest of the usual specs

    • Anonymous

      thats the foucs S
      + it has expandable memory via microSD

  • Anonymous

    And the slow Android death gains steam.

  • http://twitter.com/Pieter_Kroon Pieter Kroon

    Well, the rumor that Samsumg would be stepping out of WP7 at the end of next year seems crushed this instant ;-)

    • Anonymous

      As I wrote at the time, it was a negotiating move.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, this is huge.  I wonder if the final amount comes to around the $10 rumored.  If HTC and Samsung didn’t have a leg to stand on, then I would say things don’t look great for Motorola.  Google may have bought themselves into a lawsuit greater than Oracle.

  • wpoit

    next one is mote, then google have a great chance to pay ms on android officailly

  • Guest

    As Florian Mueller says:

    “By taking a royalty-bearing license, Samsung recognizes that Android has
    intellectual property problems that must be resolved with license fees, and
    reduces to absurdity the idea that Google is going to be able to protect Android
    after the acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Since Google announced the merger
    agreement with Motorola Mobility, Microsoft has signed up three more Android
    OEMs as patent licensees, including the number one in the market.”