Microsoft grabs 10th Android patent license deal

News 24 Oct, 2011

The Redmond giant thinks licensing is the solution to the patent wars.

Microsoft will now be paid royalties from 10 different Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers after securing a deal with Compal, a Taiwanese Original Design Manufacturer (ODM).

The deal means Microsoft now has patent license agreements with companies producing half of all Android devices. Microsoft already has Android-related license agreements with Acer, HTC and Samsung.

“Amidst continuing clamor about uncertainty and litigation relating to smartphone patents, we're putting in place a series of agreements that are reasonable and fair to both sides,” a Microsoft blog post read.

At this point, the fast pace of licensing is reshaping the legal landscape for smartphone patents.

“Our agreements ensure respect and reasonable compensation for Microsoft's inventions and patent portfolio. Equally important, they enable licensees to make use of our patented innovations on a long-term and stable basis.”

Microsoft is backing the licensing system as the key to controlling the patent wars which have been raging across the smartphone and tablet space in recent times.

“At this point, the fast pace of licensing is reshaping the legal landscape for smartphone patents,” Microsoft said.

“For those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it's past time to wake up. As Microsoft has entered new markets from the enterprise to the Xbox, we’ve put together comprehensive licensing programs that address not only our own needs but the needs of our customers and partners as well. As our recent agreements clearly show, Android handset manufacturers are now doing the same thing. Ultimately, that's a good path for everyone.”

Goldman Sachs believes Microsoft will gain $444 million in revenue from Android patent deals for fiscal year 2012, according to a report in Business Insider.

Google might be happy for others to take the same route given the large number of lawsuits it is embroiled in.

One of the most significant, the case with Oracle over Java code, is due to go ahead later this year. Larry Ellison’s firm reportedly wants to put a block on Android shipments if it wins the suit.