Although Apple is having a crack at taking out rival Android, the more cunning threat just might be Microsoft, aggressively usurping Android’s market appeal by charging royalties for patent violations.
“More important, today’s announcement means that companies accounting for over half of all Android devices have now entered into patent license agreements with Microsoft,” they blogged.
The referred to announcement is today’s deal between Microsoft and Compal, a third party design manufacturer of tablets and smartphones who generates $28 billion in revenue annually. Behind the telco scenes, it stands as a big player.
As a result, every Android device Compal has its hand in will result in royalty payments to Microsoft.
So far, arstechnica reports this is the tenth deal struck by Microsoft and Android vendors/manufacturers. Worse yet, roughly 53 per cent of US sold Android phones are subject to patent licensing agreements, with reports of HTC already paying $5 per Android phone to Microsoft.
Microsoft competes in the phone arena with its struggling Windows Phone platform. Although still relatively early, the OS has failed to gain traction in the cut-throat competitive industry. In fact, there have been claims that Microsoft generates more revenue from Android licensing than its own phone sales.
“Microsoft’s Android revenue probably exceeded all its Windows smartphone income. More startling, it looks like that topsy-turvy state of affairs is likely to continue for the foreseeable future,” reported tech site InfoWorld.
In a retaliating post titled “When patents attack Android,” Google lashed out at Microsoft and Apple arguing it’s the victim of a “hostile organised campaign…waged through bogus patents.”
Microsoft rebutted by reminding Google they’ve been on both sides of the patent fence, forking out over US$4.5 billion to other companies.
“Over the past decade we’ve spent roughly $4.5 billion to license in patents from other companies,” Microsoft said.
“These have given us the opportunity to build on the innovations of others in a responsible manner that respects their IP rights. Equally important, we’ve stood by our customers and partners with countless agreements that contain the strongest patent indemnification provisions in our industry. These ensure that if our software infringes someone else’s patents, we’ll address the problem rather than leave it to others.”
At present, Google is enduring patent-related litigation from Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. In an attempt to bypass patent litigation, its new version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), has been designed with the limitations in mind.