Microsoft signs Android patent deals with Acer and ViewSonic

By Tom Warren, on 8th Sep 11 12:22 pm with 54 Comments

Microsoft announced two new Android patent deals on Thursday.

The software giant has managed to secure deals with Acer and ViewSonic. The first deal will see Acer ink a patent license agreement that includes coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Acer’s tablets and smartphones running the Android platform. “We are pleased that Acer is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.” Microsoft did not disclose the full details of the Acer deal and whether the company will recieve royalties from Acer as a result.

Microsoft’s second deal sees ViewSonic’s tablets and mobile phones running the Android or Chrome Platform protected under a new agreement. Microsoft will receive royalties from ViewSonic under the agreement. “We are pleased that ViewSonic is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.”

Microsoft has previously inked patent protection deals with WistronGeneral Dynamics Itronix,Velocity Micro and Onkyo. 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 is also alleged to be in talks with Samsung over an Android patent deal.

Microsoft’s fresh Android patent agreements come 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.

  • GP007

    Haha, oh god, I just love this.  Keep signing these deals MS.

    • Aaron

      Poor Horacio.  His wrist must be getting tired from having to sign all these deals.

    • Aaron

      Poor Horacio.  His wrist must be getting tired from having to sign all these deals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/biggeekalex Alex Foster

    The funny thing is that the more deals that Microsoft sign it makes it harder and harder for othert companies using Android/Linux/Chrome not to sign an agreement. To put it mildly Android is utterly screwed even after that pointless acquisition of Moto.

    • GP007

      A few patent sources have said that Google spend $12billion on junk patents, so who knows.

    • Guest

      I thought they spent $12.5b to destroy their partner loyalty/channel? ;-)

    • Guest

      Yup. And Acer along with Asus had been holdouts. So now that Acer finally saw the light, expect Asus to follow shortly.

  • Anonymous

    “Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats” LOL

    • Guest

      Too bad it’s provably false, like most things out of Drummond’s mouth.

  • Anonymous

    “Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats” LOL

  • http://twitter.com/s_a_r_k_i_s sarkis chamelian

    Gang Bang…. LoL

  • Really?

    Did he (Horatio) really say the same thing twice?

    • Anonymous

      …yeah. Guessing a templated quote

    • Anonymous

      …yeah. Guessing a templated quote

    • Aaron

      Hey, just look at all the Android OEM’s who are having to sign deals with MS.  It would be too much work to come up with a unique response for every win that MS gets in this area.

    • Aaron

      Hey, just look at all the Android OEM’s who are having to sign deals with MS.  It would be too much work to come up with a unique response for every win that MS gets in this area.

  • OMG55

    If all of manufacturers of Android devices continue to have sign patent deals with MS, how can Google avoid a settlement in the case MS & Apple currently have pending against them?

    • Guest

      I guess you mean the case against Motorola? There is no direct Apple or MS suit against Google, at least not yet. The Motorola deal isn’t final yet and the case could well be settled before Google actually takes ownership, assuming that gets approved both in America and Europe. Motorola is going to lose. In fact the rumor is they had already acknowledged that and were planning to sign a deal with MS, which is why Google swooped in.

  • Anonymous

    As more companies pay the Android tax, how long will it be before they all pay the Android tax? How long before Android begins to disappear from handsets as its “free” advantage vanishes and manufacturers start looking elsewhere for their OSes. WP7 or Android? Hmmm.

    • Aaron

      Not only will the “free” advantage disappear soon, but so will the “open and fair”.  Once Google completed its acquisition of Motorola, you can be sure that they will put special treatment into Moto phones over Samsung and HTC.  The Android OEM’s may want to diversify a little more and produce Windows Phones that are more than just recycled 2nd rate Android sets.

    • Guest

      Thanks to the Oracle case – and we all owe them a lot because of the evidence that is being surfaced through that – it’s now established fact that Google was giving some OEMs more preference than others. So there’s virtually no doubt that they’ll continue that precedent, only now with the most favored being themselves. 

      I bet MS’s relationship with the main Android OEMs got decidedly warmer following the MMI acquisition.

    • Guest

      Paying compensation because you infringe someone else’s IP isn’t a “tax”. It’s a modest penalty for breaking the law.

    • Anonymous

      Right you are… I should have said penalty.

  • Musagaid

    It’s becoming more apparent that Google didnt respect the IP, here”s the latest findings.

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/latest-filings-in-oracle-patent-case-spell-trouble-for-google/3916?tag=mantle_skin;content

    http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/09/shocker-for-android-oems-google.html

    It’s actually pretty sad that the Company that got me excited about technology 4 5 years ago has becoming like this.

    • Anonymous

      Lets clarify something that is obvious but most people don’t know about. 

      Speakin about technology, there are true tech companies:IBM, Microsoft, Intel, CISCO, Oracle, Sun(dead)

      there are second tier tech companies: Nokia, Samsung, Sony, HP, Apple, VmWare…

      there are third tier tech companies: too many to list

      there are pretender tech companies: Google, Facebook, Yahoo…

      there are non-tech tech companies: Twitter, Foursqure…

      I don’t think anything Google have done can be called technology. It is like you call Lady Gaga a musician or an artist. If Lady Gaga is an artist, what Mozart had to be?

    • rsgx

      Lady Gaga is the Mozart of our time.

      Hahahahahhahahaha, sorry I couldn’t hold a straight face.

    • http://www.facebook.com/richeymeister Mark Richey

      Oh please, not even.

    • Guest

      Can’t agree with this. But one of the main differences between Google and most traditional technology companies is that with Google, you think you’re the user but in fact the user is advertisers. You’re the product being sold.

    • Jimmybanks

      that is probably the stupidest comment i have ever seen.

      apple second tier? give me a break moron.

      Google non-listed tier? the fuck?

      i dont care how much of steve ballmers dick you have up your ass, just because this is a ms fan site, posting stupidity and ignorance still makes you look like a moron.

    • Guest

      “i dont care how much of steve ballmers dick you have up your ass, just because this is a ms fan site, posting stupidity and ignorance still makes you look like a moron.”

      As does your inability to communicate without resorting to ad hominem attacks and foul language.    
       

    • Jimmybanks

      If you think an ad hominem disregards the fact that he is ignorant and misguided, i laugh at you.

      “ad hominem” tends to be the internets favourite word for incorrectly falsifying a post lately.

    • Guest

      Another ad hominem. Well done. And the meaning of your second sentence is unfathomable.

    • Jimmybanks

      has it really taken you this long to realize i dont care if there is an ad hominem?

      my point still stands, he is ignorant and misguided.

    • Guest

      No, it was sufficiently obvious from the beginning. It’s what that says about you that was important.

    • Jimmybanks

      wait, you were upset because of me using an ad hominem and personal attacks, now you are using personal attacks, id rather use ad hominems than being a hypocrite, hypocrite.

    • Guest

      I wasn’t upset about it. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy in your statement.

    • Anonymous

      Hi, There,

      I don’t think you have done as much as I have or seen as much as I have in technology, but that’s fine. Lady Gaga is more popular than Madonna now, that’s a fact, but Lyda Gaga is not any better than Madonna. Google is more popular than Yahoo, but Google is not much better than Yahoo technically. They are in the same class. They are the technology comsumers, they just use web technology to provide services. They don’t extend the web technology itself. Even the little javascript trick called AJAX, you think is initiated by Google? Wrong. That was a Microsoft technology. Without AJAX, most Google’s services are just same or worse Yahoo’s.

      I put Apple in the second tier is very well justified. Apple didn’t extend technologies as much as the first tiers do. Commerical success is not the same as technology strength. If I said this 8 years ago, you wouldn’t argue about that, but the last 8 years Apple didn’t do much in advance the technology. Even commerical success of Apple is not sure to be sustainable. If you ask my personal opion, Apple is about at its peak at the moment.

    • Anonymous

      he has an opinion, it seems you are the “moron” who wants everyone to think like you?… if he thinks like that why you would want to correct him?… and i mean, your comment is more stupid than his. i wonder if you would tell that to someone face to face you know

      “dont care how much of steve ballmers dick you have up your ass, just because this is a ms fan site, posting stupidity and ignorance still makes you look like a moron”

      but i think you just use that becuase its words and internet, hiding behind a computer, preteding to be cool, and so “smart” to think different than WebUser, but thats what you can expect from internet, people using stupid words, calling someone a moron for thinking different. i think the moron here its you, maybe you should go out of your basement and have a life, outside there is more than microsoft apple and google. ;)

    • EdisonArantesdoNascimento

      “i dont care how much of steve ballmers dick you have up your ass”

      Please don’t share your secret fantasies with the board.

    • Flying Madden

      Apple started the new wave of smartphones, this definitely changed the game.
      Google enlightened the world of web search almost two decades ago with their pure scientific approach, this is a winner too.they gotta be among other true tech companies in your list.

    • Anonymous

      Apple came with an improved model, mostly an improved input tech, but the 1st iphone was not different to nokia n95. Motorola for example DEFINED the device, created the hardware, the protocols, the network, practically the “wheel” in this industry.

    • Guest

      here’s the money quote:

      “Android isn’t a new product to monetize; it’s a new medium to drive
      monetization on existing products.”

      Can you say DOJ?

    • Guest

      More apparent? An internal document is now part of the court record and it says explicitly that:

      a) they knew they violated at least Oracle’s IP
      b) they therefore had two options: sign a deal with Oracle or take their chances

      They didn’t do the Oracle deal, or any other, and the rest is history.

      Google is going to lose the Oracle case and they know they can’t defend Android’s IP. That’s why they tried to scoop the Nortel patents and then whined and called them suspect patents when they got outbid. It’s also why they turned around and bought patents off IBM, a few of which they recently sold to HTC so that HTC would do Google’s bidding and countersue Apple. Again, not aimed at defending Android per se, because they can’t. But trying to blunt the Android challenge by countersuing on other unrelated patents. Do no evil my ass.

  • Anonymous

    At least MS is licensing their IP. Apple just wants to block all competing devices removed from the market.

    • Musagaid

      True

    • Guest

      Yeah, Apple’s approach is very heavy handed and frankly anticompetitive. MS’s at least allows them to continue competing, while just paying compensation.

  • Anonymous

    At least MS is licensing their IP. Apple just wants to block all competing devices removed from the market.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUY2332FTJA73WWHY3HWXVWHU prathyush

    waiting for the samsung deal announcement. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sachinjoseph Sachin Joseph

    Microsoft has now revealed that they do receive loyalties from Acer as a part of the agreement.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    It aamuses me when everyone forgets to add Amazon to the list of licensees. Back when the Googorola deal broke. There was this rumor about Microsoft having 12 licensees. It is unknown if ViewSonic and Acer were already counted on that rumored list, that now seems completely plausible — as if we count Amazon plus Acer and Viewsonic — We already have 10 known licensees. Who are the other 2 still missing from that count?

    My guess is that the most probables to have been on that list would be Lenovo, ASUS and MSI. Now lets wait if that becomes true within this month in order to prove that theory right.

    • Guest

      Were those strictly Android-related licensees or did it include Linux-related? If it’s the latter, the list of possibles is quite long (lots of embedded Linux, many routers for example).

    • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

      No,no,no.

      Android/ChromeOs only.

    • Guest

      Were those strictly Android-related licensees or did it include Linux-related? If it’s the latter, the list of possibles is quite long (lots of embedded Linux, many routers for example).

    • Guest

      Were those strictly Android-related licensees or did it include Linux-related? If it’s the latter, the list of possibles is quite long (lots of embedded Linux, many routers for example).