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.