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Microsoft boasts patent licenses with over half of Android market

post #1 of 45
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Microsoft announced on Sunday that a new patent license agreement with original design manufacturer Compal means that companies accounting for more than half of all Google Android-based devices now have agreements with the software giant.

On the heels of the Redmond, Wash., Windows maker's announcement that it had reached an agreement with Compal to receive royalties in exchange for patent coverage for the Android or Chrome platform, the company's General Counsel Brad Smith and Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez posted an official blog post touting the new statistic.

The deal marks Microsoft's tenth license agreement with an Android partner. Momentum appears to be in the company's favor, as nine of the ten licenses have come in the last four months alone. Some pundits have gone so far as to speculate that Microsoft makes more money from its patent licenses to Android than it does off of its own platform, Windows Phone 7. For instance, the company's agreement with HTC is said to bring in $5 per Android device sold by the Taiwanese handset maker.

Microsoft was also said to be seeking $15 per device from Samsung. The two companies reached a cross-licensing agreement in late September, but declined to reveal how much Samsung would pay to Microsoft in royalties.

However, Windows Phone boss Andy Lees worked to dispel the myth that Microsoft receives more revenue from Android patent licenses than Windows Phone sales during an interview last week.

"I dont know where the, you know, one making more money than the other comes from. We certainly want to sell a lot of Windows Phone," Lees said at AllThingsD's AsiaD conference in Hong Kong.

Sunday's post included a chart entitled "Android Patent Licensing and Litigation" showing that Microsoft has reached agreements with all but a few Android ODMs and OEMs. According to the chart, the company still has pending litigation with Motorola Mobility, Inventec, Foxconn and Barnes & Noble. The graphic also depicts Apple's ongoing legal action against rivals Motorola, Samsung and HTC.



Smith and Gutierrez went on to point out that Microsoft spent roughly $4.5 billion to license patents from other companies over the past decade. Over the same period, the company reached 1,133 agreements to license its patents "to other companies that share [its] desire to respect IP rights."

The post also included a pie chart showing that 55 percent of the worldwide ODM market by revenue have Android licensing agreements with Microsoft. Meanwhile, the company claims that 53 percent of the Android smartphone market in the U.S. in terms of units are licensed.





"For those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it's past time to wake up," the authors concluded. "As our recent agreements clearly show, Android handset manufacturers are now doing the same thing. Ultimately, that's a good path for everyone."

Apple, on the other hand, has indicated a divergent approach to its patents from Microsoft. Court documents from a dispute between Apple and Samsung in Australia reveal that the company is only willing to license "lower level patents." The company's strategy appears to involve holding back some of its more advanced inventions as iOS exclusives in order to differentiate its products.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson in an interview that he would spend his "last dying breath" fighting to destroy Android because he believed it was a "stolen product."

"I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this," Jobs reportedly said.

Jobs also reportedly told former Google CEO Eric Schmidt that he wasn't interested in settling with Android makers over patent violations.

"I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want," Isaacson quoted Jobs as having told Schmidt.
post #2 of 45
This is so hysterically absurd. Can Android really have long term viability for OEMs when MS already costs the platform so much, and ywith Oracle and Apple readying a legal armada on two other fronts?
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post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is so hysterically absurd. Can Android really have long term viability for OEMs when MS already costs the platform so much, with Oracle and Apple readying a legal armada two other fronts?

Probably.

Oracle is less of a threat than people think but we will see how that pans out. Apple as well as they seem to focus their efforts on more specific things. Microsoft is an extortionist through and through and I'm shocked people are all for it simply because they are being anti-Android.

Apple is the most just of the anti-Androiders especially when going after Samesung.

But alas, the patent system being what it is, and Microsoft probably having a patent on everything under the sun I could understand why they feel the need to strong arm everyone for protection money.

They stayed static in the mobile OS field...OSX is gaining on them, Android took all their old customers...and their new OS isn't selling well.

They still gotta eat.

PS...articles like this are why you have so many "fandroids" on this site.
post #4 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is so hysterically absurd. Can Android really have long term viability for OEMs when MS already costs the platform so much, with Oracle and Apple readying a legal armada two other fronts?

I don't think Oracle is a fraction of a threat to the platform.

Microsoft may make some money off of the Samsung devices, but in the end it won't be near $15 per device.

We'll see how it all pans out. But Android and the OEMS aren't going anywhere.

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post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

...Can Android really have long term viability ...

Speaking of long term, many of the patents that serve as grounds for licensing are not entirely new. A few years from now they will be in the public domain, and even if Android makers are paying for them now, they will not have to in the future.

Microsoft and Apple should have killed their competition three years ago. It's too late now. Android is here to stay.
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is so hysterically absurd. Can Android really have long term viability for OEMs when MS already costs the platform so much, with Oracle and Apple readying a legal armada two other fronts?

It's hard to say. Think of it this way: if you're a handset maker and you don't have your own phone OS (and the infrastructure needed to keep it current), then you have to use someone else's. Android doesn't have to be free (as in free beer) to be viable for OEMs, it just needs to be competitive in terms of benefit-to-cost. Even though patent licensing means that the cost isn't zero (it was never zero to begin with), it's still a good choice for OEMs because Microsoft hasn't gotten much traction with WP7. Other phone OSes aren't being licensed (QNX, webOS, etc.) The alternative is for a handset maker to go back to Linux, fork it, and write their own "touch" libraries and UI on top of that. You'd think HTC and/or Samsung have the resources to do that (HTC Sense, TouchWiz shows they aren't totally dependent on Google), but then they'd be vastly behind the curve on building an App Store business that could compete with iOS and Android. So again, it's better for them to use either Android or WP7. It won't be free, but at least if Android cost enough, WP7 might start to look like a credible alternative.

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post #7 of 45
Says a lot for Microsoft mobile OS when a phone manufacturer is better off paying Microsoft money not to use their OS.
post #8 of 45
Apple isn't getting squat from Android except loss of market share. That's how Microsoft makes so much money. Wall Street loves those sort of tactics of bleeding other companies dry. Oracle is a disgrace. Google has made Oracle its biatch.
post #9 of 45
Wow Microsoft, enjoy your box of licenses. You're really changing the world. You'd better boast some more.
post #10 of 45
What is Android then?
Half of it is a "rip off of Apple" (according to Steve Jobs), the other half is Microsoft?
post #11 of 45
Why can't Apple do the same? As much as I hate Android it is not going away so better for Apple to profit out of it instead.

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post #12 of 45
Makes you wonder when Google will pull the plug on Android. With Amazon cutting Google 100% out of the mix, Oracle extracting billions from Google when that opera is finished, Apple getting major functionality removed and MS making more $$$ off of Android than Google...

How many billion in losses will it take Google to finally pull the plug?
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

Makes you wonder when Google will pull the plug on Android. With Amazon cutting Google 100% out of the mix, Oracle extracting billions from Google when that opera is finished, Apple getting major functionality removed and MS making more $$$ off of Android than Google...

How many billion in losses will it take Google to finally pull the plug?

So Google is losing money on Android? Wouldn't they have included that in their financial report?
post #14 of 45
If you can't innovate to make incremental income, might as well buy others innovations to do so.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Oracle is less of a threat than people think

You couldn't possibly know that.

Oracle's lawsuit has the potential to totally eviscerate Android. Now, no one knows how it turns out, but the potential to have the entire core of the OS ripped out is clearly a major threat.
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post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

So Google is losing money on Android? Wouldn't they have included that in their financial report?

Actually it was. The money coming from mobile ads was minimal and actually included iOS as well. They chose not to break it out because they couldn't brag about it. Kind of like when Apple would talk about the Apple TV. Litigation is costing them real money but their strategy is to steal IP and give it away under the cover of open source.

Its like someone deciding to use your property to build a house on without your permission.
Then they rent it out for a profit.
post #17 of 45
Most experts think Oracle is the biggest threat. Oracle has emails that admit to the advocate the infringement of Java. Oracle will likely get a significant payout (perhaps less then Oracle is asking for). More importantly the Judge (the same one who ordered an injunction against Psystar) has suggested he will grant an injunction if Oracle wins.

At that point, Google will have to engage in a significant redesign of its OS, which it certainly can do. The problem is without the Java support, the Android applications aren't going to work anymore.

Android manufacturers are paying Microsoft, paying their lawyers, might soon have to pay Oracle when Oracle moves on to them for contributory infringement lawsuits, and they still have to worry about Apple. This is all for a OS that was deemed free.

On top of that Google isn't making money on Android. When you consider all the patents Google has bought and the purchase of Motorola to try and defend Android, it is losing money.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Probably.

Oracle is less of a threat than people think but we will see how that pans out.
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

Why can't Apple do the same? As much as I hate Android it is not going away so better for Apple to profit out of it instead.

Apple is running scared. They know that Andorid will be the new Windows, if it gains traction. Their strategy was to prevent that at all costs. Litigation is expensive - and so far, Apple has gotten only very limited relief. A tablet here and there has been delayed in the market, not much else.

Android is already selling at twice the rate of iOS. Apple's window of opportunity with its current litigation strategy is fast closing. They might switch horses in the middle of the stream, but given that Apple has so much cash and so many lawyers, they might keep up their Sue Sue Sue strategy.

At any rate, the lawyers bills don't cost Apple much, given their wealth. But unless they start to get some better results, Apple's strategy is hardly thermonuclear war. More like lobbing hand grenades into some remote outpost.
post #19 of 45
There are two things to think about when considering WP7. First, Microsoft is rumored to charge anywhere from $5 to $10 per handset license. Second, Microsoft indemnifies users against IP lawsuits.

If eventually the cost of being on Android exceeds the cost of going Windows Mobile, hardware manufacturers will seek to jump ship. I think the cost is probably already higher, and Microsoft is making more money then Google from Android. Manufacturers are concerned about WP7 not selling, the invested marketing in Android, and the relatively small apps marketshare of WP7.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

It's hard to say. Think of it this way: if you're a handset maker and you don't have your own phone OS (and the infrastructure needed to keep it current), then you have to use someone else's. Android doesn't have to be free (as in free beer) to be viable for OEMs, it just needs to be competitive in terms of benefit-to-cost. Even though patent licensing means that the cost isn't zero (it was never zero to begin with), it's still a good choice for OEMs because Microsoft hasn't gotten much traction with WP7. Other phone OSes aren't being licensed (QNX, webOS, etc.) The alternative is for a handset maker to go back to Linux, fork it, and write their own "touch" libraries and UI on top of that. You'd think HTC and/or Samsung have the resources to do that (HTC Sense, TouchWiz shows they aren't totally dependent on Google), but then they'd be vastly behind the curve on building an App Store business that could compete with iOS and Android. So again, it's better for them to use either Android or WP7. It won't be free, but at least if Android cost enough, WP7 might start to look like a credible alternative.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


How many billion in losses will it take Google to finally pull the plug?

When they start losing money on Android, they will need to face that decision. As of now, you may as well ask the same question about Apple and the iPhone.
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

On top of that Google isn't making money on Android. When you consider all the patents Google has bought and the purchase of Motorola to try and defend Android, it is losing money.

You say that, but you have no hard information. You say that, but you have no way of knowing if it is true or false. You say that, but it is just wishful thinking. You say that, but you are just taking out of your
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Apple is running scared. They know that Andorid will be the new Windows, if it gains traction. Their strategy was to prevent that at all costs. Litigation is expensive - and so far, Apple has gotten only very limited relief. A tablet here and there has been delayed in the market, not much else.

I think their primary concern is Samsung, which is about the only Android OEM capable of selling a high margin product. HTC has mixed loyalty (committing to Windows Phone as well as Android), and Motorola Mobility's products tend to be lower margin.

While Apple needed the AT&T exclusivity in order to launch the product, I think it was a year too long. That said, I don't think Apple ever expected to dominate the smartphone market in the same way that it does the music player and tablet markets. Nokia, at its peak, had about 45% of the market, mostly made up of low-end devices sold in markets that Apple doesn't compete in. Android seems to be taking up most of that business, as well as winning the converts from RIM. Where it's a threat to Apple is in devices like the Galaxy Nexus or Samsung Galaxy S II, which are high margin products that can cut into Apple's share of the high-end market.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

I don't think Oracle is a fraction of a threat to the platform.

Microsoft may make some money off of the Samsung devices, but in the end it won't be near $15 per device.

We'll see how it all pans out. But Android and the OEMS aren't going anywhere.

while you may be right about Android not going anywhere, the delicious irony of Microsoft leveraging not just licensing but additional use agreements (as reported elsewhere) for the Windows mobile platform by the OEMs is interesting. Their interface and platform development is different and potentially strong, but given the lock-in effect that the current OSes tend to have - they will have to bring to the table something significantly compelling to pry loose all those Android and iOS users from the respective platforms.

The question is how long will Google push Android as it does now. As long as they can deliver Android on low-end "smartphones" that continue to erode the feature phone market, Google is well-positioned. Remember Android is functionally not a profit center - which is demonstrated by the fact that Google doesn't report Android broken out in its financial filings, choosing to lump it in under (optimistically assuming of course that it produces) "Other Revenue" that is only, as an aggregate of all other revenue activity outside of search/ad, a paltry 4%.

The OEMs are not seeing the huge profitability from smartphones originally anticipated, with the possible exception of HTC and possibly Samsung.
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post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

You say that, but you have no hard information. You say that, but you have no way of knowing if it is true or false. You say that, but it is just wishful thinking. You say that, but you are just taking out of your

These sorts of entries lead one to ask if perhaps you might have aspberger's syndrome or something similar.

Back On Topic: The fact that Android is not broken out as a profit center for Google in it's financial reporting, and that ALL other revenue streams outside of ad/search amount to about 4% of revenues, demonstrates that Android IF it is making any money for Google is not making significant amounts. That can be essentially established from the financial reports without significant extrapolation.

If Android was in fact delivering significant revenue for Google, it would be broken out by Google to demonstrate its viability financially in the filings and reports. It's not, and therefore can be reasonably discounted as as a major profit center. Wishful thinking and hopeless optimism on your part for Android doesn't make the numbers look any better in the financials, no matter how Google tries to mask it's status.

Ultimately marketshare is only meaningful as a statistic if it represents impacts to profitability and viability as a platform. Since Google derives no significant revenue from Android, and the OEMs struggle to build profitability with smartphones using Android. To constantly proclaim that Android is winning on marketshare as your sole statistic is rather silly, and ignorant.
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post #25 of 45
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post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

You couldn't possibly know that.

Oracle's lawsuit has the potential to totally eviscerate Android. Now, no one knows how it turns out, but the potential to have the entire core of the OS ripped out is clearly a major threat.

Indeed. Without Java there are no apps, not even googles.
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

When they start losing money on Android, they will need to face that decision. As of now, you may as well ask the same question about Apple and the iPhone.

They ae already billions in the hole with playoffs measured in many many years, if ever. Google paid over 12 billion for a failing hardware business with a vast, but strategically weak, patent portfolio.
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

So Google is losing money on Android? Wouldn't they have included that in their financial report?

Try don't break it all down. We don't know if the mobile revenue has development costs stripped out. What about the billions and billions spent on M&As? Toolset development?

Due to the minor revenue reported for all of mobile (with an estimated 60% from iOS) and the known 15-20 billion spent building/defending Android, we know for a fact it is loosing F
Google an average of about 4-5 billion/year with no end in sight for the mounting losses.
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Probably.

Oracle is less of a threat than people think but we will see how that pans out. Apple as well as they seem to focus their efforts on more specific things. Microsoft is an extortionist through and through and I'm shocked people are all for it simply because they are being anti-Android.

Apple is the most just of the anti-Androiders especially when going after Samesung.

But alas, the patent system being what it is, and Microsoft probably having a patent on everything under the sun I could understand why they feel the need to strong arm everyone for protection money.

They stayed static in the mobile OS field...OSX is gaining on them, Android took all their old customers...and their new OS isn't selling well.

They still gotta eat.

PS...articles like this are why you have so many "fandroids" on this site.

How can you be sure that M$ is simply extorting money from OEMs and don't have viable patents that are infringed upon? We already know that Android infringes on SOME IP from Apple and Oracle from the ongoing court cases because either Google or the infringing OEM (HTC) has admitted as much. It's not a huge leap to think that M$ also has some IP that is infringed upon. Would you prefer that M$ act as Apple and NOT try to negotiate licenses and just sue them like others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

I don't think Oracle is a fraction of a threat to the platform.

Microsoft may make some money off of the Samsung devices, but in the end it won't be near $15 per device.

We'll see how it all pans out. But Android and the OEMS aren't going anywhere.

Guess what, M$ won't make the $15 as long as the OEM continues making WP7 phones. The minute that they stop making them, the $5 price goes back up to $15. Just ask B&N.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairb View Post

Says a lot for Microsoft mobile OS when a phone manufacturer is better off paying Microsoft money not to use their OS.

Actually, they aren't. If the OEM stops making WP7 phones, then the price triples. So basically, M$ is being paid by OEMs to MAKE WP7 phones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

You say that, but you have no hard information. You say that, but you have no way of knowing if it is true or false. You say that, but it is just wishful thinking. You say that, but you are just taking out of your

Oy. Simple addition and subtraction of the stuff we KNOW about shows that Android is nowhere near profitable. Lawsuits, purchase of Android, cost of development and purchase of patents AND Mototrola. Google reported $2.5B in mobile advertising revenue which doesn't even break out revenue from non-Android devices. Not profitable. . . yet.
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post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

I don't think Oracle is a fraction of a threat to the platform.

Microsoft may make some money off of the Samsung devices, but in the end it won't be near $15 per device.

We'll see how it all pans out. But Android and the OEMS aren't going anywhere.

Just how does that work out -- especially if Google ends up indemnifying the handset makers for their costs.

AIR (to lazy to surf), in the Moogle discussions, somewhere, Google is estimated to get about $6 per year in ad revenue per Android handset.

If that is true, and the handset makers must be reimbursed for MS and Oracle licenses -- it could easily exceed $15 per handset. And if the average life of a device/contract is 2 years -- every Android activation will be a hit to the Google bottom line.

'Course, maybe we'll see an accurate accounting of Android/device sales -- just to satisfy the IRS
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post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Just how does that work out -- especially if Google ends up indemnifying the handset makers for their costs.

AIR (to lazy to surf), in the Moogle discussions, somewhere, Google is estimated to get about $6 per year per Android handset.

If that is true, and the handset makers must be reimbursed for MS and Oracle licenses -- it could easily exceed $15 per handset. And if the average life of a device/contract is 2 years -- every Android activation will be a hit to the Google bottom line.

'Course, maybe we'll see an accurate accounting of Android/device sales -- just to satisfy the IRS

Actually, Schmidt said that he HOPED to get $6-10 per handset. No evidence that Google has reached that goal.
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post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Apple is running scared.

Can't we please get some trolls with IQs > 50?

Apple is running scared? Their profits are growing faster than the entire industry. Sales growing by substantial double digit rates. Record profits - and projections for another incredible blowout quarter coming up. Everyone else seems to be spending more energy copying Apple than innovating. Great new products.

I'll bet the rest of the Fortune 500 would love to be 'scared' like that.
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post #33 of 45
Since the new Amazon Kindle Fire uses a fork of Android I would expect that Microsoft will go after Amazon as well. I think when the other phone makers pay Microsoft they get a discount if they agree to make Windows Phone 7 phones but since Amazon doesn't make any phones they might not get a discount. Since Amazon has been recognized to be selling the Kindle Fire at a loss this will just increase their lose. Also the viability of Microsofts patents will be tested when the suit between Motorola and Microsoft comes to trial.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBR View Post

Since the new Amazon Kindle Fire uses a fork of Android I would expect that Microsoft will go after Amazon as well. I think when the other phone makers pay Microsoft they get a discount if they agree to make Windows Phone 7 phones but since Amazon doesn't make any phones they might not get a discount. Since Amazon has been recognized to be selling the Kindle Fire at a loss this will just increase their lose. Also the viability of Microsofts patents will be tested when the suit between Motorola and Microsoft comes to trial.

You are correct that the handset makers get a discount for making WP7 phones. See my post above. B&N was asked to pay $15 per device because it doesn't sell any other tech devices that can utilize M$ software. I do wonder if Amazon would be in a different boat though since it is a 3rd party computer seller.
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post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Can't we please get some trolls with IQs > 50?

Or at least not single-digit?
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post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

Try don't break it all down. We don't know if the mobile revenue has development costs stripped out. What about the billions and billions spent on M&As? Toolset development?

Due to the minor revenue reported for all of mobile (with an estimated 60% from iOS) and the known 15-20 billion spent building/defending Android, we know for a fact it is loosing F
Google an average of about 4-5 billion/year with no end in sight for the mounting losses.

Wow. You sound like an ANALyst.

Except you have no information other than what is fed to and then regurgitated by the media, via all the other ANALysts who have entire departments to do research.

No?
post #37 of 45
Has Microsoft actually shown which of their patents are violated, or is this exactly the same as the whole Linux patents thing? And if so, why don't all these Android companies work together to get rid of MS once and for all?
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsa View Post

Has Microsoft actually shown which of their patents are violated, or is this exactly the same as the whole Linux patents thing? And if so, why don't all these Android companies work together to get rid of MS once and for all?

Was wondering that myself for a while. But there may be legal reasons why they can't commingle their patents plus they compete against each other as well.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsa View Post

I think I miss something here. Has Microsoft actually shown which of their patents are violated, or is this exactly the same as the whole Linux patents thing? And if so, why don't all these Android companies work together to get rid of MS once and for all?

The patents have been shown to the companies that have products which infringe on the patents.

After being shown these patents a majority of said companies agreed that they were infringing on these patents and need to license the technology from Microsoft.

As to why these companies don't work together to get rid of MS once and for all one has to assume that a collaboration of companies with products with infringe on Microsoft patents don't have any more solid legal ground to stand on than individual companies with products with infringe on Microsoft patents.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

The patents have been shown to the companies that have products which infringe on the patents.

After being shown these patents a majority of said companies agreed that they were infringing on these patents and need to license the technology from Microsoft.

As to why these companies don't work together to get rid of MS once and for all one has to assume that a collaboration of companies with products with infringe on Microsoft patents don't have any more solid legal ground to stand on than individual companies with products with infringe on Microsoft patents.

I'm pretty sure every electronics company in existence violates at least 1 of Microsoft's patents...not hard to strong arm a smaller company into complying with Microsoft's wishes.
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