Microsoft signs new Android patent deal with Wistron

By Tom Warren, on 5th Jul 11 1:18 pm with 49 Comments

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has signed a patent deal with Wistron.

The patent agreement will allow Wistron to use some of Microsoft’s patent portfolio. The deal is the latest in a number of Android patent deals for Microsoft. Wistron manufacturers tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other devices running Android and Chrome OS. Microsoft refused to detail the details of the deal but did indicate that the company will receive royalties from Wistron under the agreement.

“We are pleased that Wistron 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.

Microsoft’s latest deal makes it four Android patent deals with various manufacturers in just over a week. Microsoft recently announced a similar deal with General Dynamics Itronix,Velocity Micro and Onkyo. The agreements all appear to be identical to each other. Microsoft and HTC signed a patent agreement 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 has been pursuing Taiwan-based handset makers Acer and Asustek. The company is trying to muscle the vendors into agreeing a patent deal in an attempt to thwart the spread of Android and Chrome OS. Both ASUS and Acer have been using Android on a number of devices.

Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Motorola in October, claiming their Android handsets infringed nine Microsoft patents. ASUS and Acer have avoided paying any license cost or royalty fees as Android is free. Other handset makers have had to pay royalty fees of at least $10-15 per device to officially use the patents concerned. Microsoft claims its latest deal is “another example” of its intellectual property (IP) portfolio.

  • Test1ngi23

    F*ck Horacio Gutierrez!

    • GP007

      U MAD?

    • GP007

      U MAD?

    • Horacio

      No thanks …heard you’re frigid.

  • Test1ngi23

    F*ck Horacio Gutierrez!

  • GP007

    And with all these deals Google says zero!   That should tell OEMs enough right there, they don’t give a crap about you only the users they can get onto their services.   There’s no partnership with Google.

    • Anonymous

      what should they say!?! Google gives Android for free!!! And lots of companies take Android for use in their products. Google is innovative, Micro$oft just a patent-troll !!! 

    • GP007

      Maybe they should stand behind the tech used in it and defend the patents then, but since they aren’t maybe they know something you don’t?  

    • Anonymous

      A patent troll?  I would have to disagree with you there.  Microsoft actually spits out more patents then most in the tech industry.  Trolling is buying up patents.   Google on the other hand buys companies that have no rights to technology and then decides to make them free to basically get people to use their services. 

    • Anonymous

      ….what crock…. MS buys tech companies to bank patents…as they have just done with Nortel. Please get your facts right or hand back the pay check you received from MS to gurgle this crap

    • adam pilborough

      If i remember. Google was going to buy them all for them selves and then Microsoft, Apple and others teamed up to buy them together to prevent the situation of one competitor controlling them all. Also Some of Microsoft’s patents I have read are quite in detail and thought out ideas, rather than the general and vague crap Apple sometimes spits out. And before someone starts saying that I’m saying Microsoft don’t have vague patents. I don’t know. perhaps they do. But it would be nice to see what patents are involved in all of this android mess to actually see if they are “trolling”.

    • Anonymous

      what should they say!?! Google gives Android for free!!! And lots of companies take Android for use in their products. Google is innovative, Micro$oft just a patent-troll !!! 

    • AndyUK

      Great the we are making something in Mobile.  

      The real reality thought is that this reflect on how poorly Ballmer has lead MS.  The only success in Mobile MS is having is charging competitors for their work.  A better lead MS would have developed Android itself, or even better WP7 3 years ago and kept Android from existing.  This is why Ballmer leadership has been a major fail. 

  • GP007

    And with all these deals Google says zero!   That should tell OEMs enough right there, they don’t give a crap about you only the users they can get onto their services.   There’s no partnership with Google.

  • Anonymous

    Every time I read about a new MS patent deal with Android manufacturers, the ‘Imperial March’ track from Star Wars plays in my head.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001039271971 Martyn Metalous

    Google thinks patients prevent innovation, rather than protect it as originally envisaged.

    Whilst I agree that it needs refinement, I would not want a world without it.

    And its funny that they take this stance, since they don’t have much in the first place.

    But its “hip” to steal other peoples graft and expense, isn’t it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001039271971 Martyn Metalous

    Google thinks patients prevent innovation, rather than protect it as originally envisaged.

    Whilst I agree that it needs refinement, I would not want a world without it.

    And its funny that they take this stance, since they don’t have much in the first place.

    But its “hip” to steal other peoples graft and expense, isn’t it?

    • GP007

      I think those vague and common sense type software patents are bad, I’ll give you that, but at the same time specific patents in software that have details and methods listed are valid imo.

  • Renzo

    Hey, they should of checked those patents before deciding to use “free” and “open” software.

    • Eli

      the price you pay for free lunch, you cheapskates!!! lol

  • OMG55

    Does Google really own Android??? Microsoft sure does own a lot of patents that Android uses. Why can’t people give MS credit for being forward thinkers. Laying the ground work in the past to reap benefits in the future. with all of these new revenue streams coming to light in past few months, who among us still want to criticise Steve Ballmer? As long as he keep generating record amounts of revenue for MS should he step down? without revenue, you can’t perform research to advance technology. MS technology is advancing very fast.

    • Anonymous

      M$-Fanboy bullshitting ….

    • Anonymous

      M$-Fanboy bullshitting ….

    • GP007

      Android, or would that just be *nix in general? fanboy crying….  

  • guest

    Hey guys, why are ASUS and Acer not paying for the patents? Why MS doesn’t sue them?

    • GP007

      Maybe they’re still in talks about the deals?   You don’t know what and who MS is talking to at this point.

    • Anonymous

      All information about deals with Microsoft’s patent agreements are not published.   Asus and Acer are both staunch MS advocates.   Who’s to say that MSFT hasn’t stated that each of the manufactures have to release products for WP7?

    • saburwulf

      its because they are not htc companies  MS doesn’t own android just the rights to htc and htc devices

  • Steve

    I think Microsoft is undoubtedly a troll for doing this sort of stuff, but I can’t stop gawking at how brilliant it is from a business perspective. A large part of the reason Android got so popular with OEMs was that it was offered as a FREE iPhone competitor. Microsoft obviously wants to SELL its OWN iPhone competitor directly, which puts it at a disadvantage to Android in terms of cost.

    By trolling Android OEMs like this, Microsoft has basically circumvented that problem entirely by making Windows Phone 7 competitive with Android in terms of cost to the OEM, and all without actually altering the price of Windows Phone 7.

    It’s underhanded, but genius nonetheless.

    • Besmir1

      idk y people consider it trolling, if spent money to innovate and than patent it why should someone else reap the benefit of your hardwork. 

    • Test1ngi23

      What if the idea was arrived at completely independently? Do you completely own the idea just because you came up with it first, even if others put in the same amount of work and time and money?

    • Test1ngi23

      What if the idea was arrived at completely independently? Do you completely own the idea just because you came up with it first, even if others put in the same amount of work and time and money?

    • Anonymous

      Actually yes, they do own it since they came up with it first. It’s more or less the other’s fault for not doing some research to see if someone already has a patent on it.

    • GP007

      That’s looking at it in a general and vague way, these patents are probably specific and not like some of Apples patents which aren’t like that at all.  

      If your patent is detailed and specific about how it does or what it covers, with examples etc then it’s valid  I don’t see why software for the most part should be different from coming up with the idea for some piece of hardware.

    • Xenothetroll

      Duh.

    • Xenothetroll

      Duh.

    • GP007

      MS would only be a troll if it sued for them and didn’t use them, but that’s not the case.  MS uses it’s IP in it’s own products and actively supports them so it has the right to defend them.

      A troll would be someone like i4i who has a patent for something yet doesn’t use it in any sort of product or sells it in any product etc.  

    • Steve

      I only meant “troll” insofar as that their actions are provoking, if not inflammatory. I did not mean to refer to the actual practice of “patent trolling,” which I will readily agree Microsoft is NOT engaging in.

    • Anonymous

      Calling Microsoft a Patent Troll goes completely against what the definition of a patent troll is.  A patent troll collects patents and then stores them away with no intent to use them.  On the other hand, Microsoft actually releases their own phone technology and sells their own products. 

      That is not a patent troll – that is a company that actually creates IP and then sells IP.

    • Steve

      I had actually forgotten that there was an accepted definition of the term “patent troll.” My intent in using the term “troll” was more in the sense of an internet troll.

    • Steve

      I had actually forgotten that there was an accepted definition of the term “patent troll.” My intent in using the term “troll” was more in the sense of an internet troll.

    • Renzo

      This is why Bill Gates is considered to be a business genius more so than a software one.

      His company caters to the enterprise first, and consumers second for a reason.

    • Guest

      I’m betting that if the patents being violated were owned by you and not MS, you’d see this as legitimate enforcement of your ownership rights. MS isn’t alone in suing over Android. Oracle, Apple, and several others are as well.

      I don’t see anything underhanded in ensuring you’re not competing against a “free” product provided by a competitor that illegally uses technology you have exclusive rights to.

    • Guest

      I’m betting that if the patents being violated were owned by you and not MS, you’d see this as legitimate enforcement of your ownership rights. MS isn’t alone in suing over Android. Oracle, Apple, and several others are as well.

      I don’t see anything underhanded in ensuring you’re not competing against a “free” product provided by a competitor that illegally uses technology you have exclusive rights to.

    • Steve

      I think if Microsoft was interested in maintaining the moral high ground, they would go after Google directly. The fact that they haven’t done this, and haven’t (as far as I am aware) publicly mentioned the specific patents in question, indicate to me that their claims are not so legitimate that they would want to risk actually going to court over it.

    • Guest

      I’m betting that if the patents being violated were owned by you and not MS, you’d see this as legitimate enforcement of your ownership rights. MS isn’t alone in suing over Android. Oracle, Apple, and several others are as well.

      I don’t see anything underhanded in ensuring you’re not competing against a “free” product provided by a competitor that illegally uses technology you have exclusive rights to.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting enough – everyone is commenting on the patent agreements but no one actually KNOWS what claims Microsoft has on the patents.  For all we know it is something that is 100% in stone.   These companies that sign on the dotted line probably actually SAW the items and are deciding it’s best to license the tech rather than fight.

    • Steve

      Keep in mind, however, that this could easily NOT be choice between taking Microsoft to court or paying Microsoft’s fees, but rather a question of “do we have enough money to fight this legal battle?”

      A lot of these OEMs are simply not as large as Microsoft, and don’t have the sort of money to throw around to fight these legal battles. I know at least one such company (Barns & Noble; all of their eReaders run Android) has issued a counter-suit.

  • Jared

    If you own a patent, but you do not use the patented invention in a product or service, you are still entitled to enforce your patent. You are known in the world of patents and patent enforcement as a “non-practicing entity” or “NPE” — or more rudely put, a “patent troll.”