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 Wistron, General 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.