Buried under the typical eye-glazing congratulatory corporate-speak that is a mutual press release announcing cooperation between two companies is a curious nugget of information: Dell might start making Xbox consoles.
Taking a step back here, the announcement pertains to Microsoft
signing a patent licensing agreement wherein they’ll license each other’s intellectual property as it pertains to Android
and Chrome OS
devices as well as Xbox
consoles. “Under the terms of the agreement, they agreed on royalties for Dell’s products running the Android or Chrome platforms and on consideration to Dell for a license for Xbox gaming consoles,” reads the announcement.
(Stepping even further back: Yes, Microsoft owns a bunch of Android and, apparently, Chrome OS patents.)
Dell is currently making Android devices (the Venue series) as well as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, so on that front the announcement isn’t terribly interesting. But what might happen with Xbox consoles?
Simply, it could be that Dell could take over the making of Xbox One consoles or that Dell will be bringing some Xbox features to its mobile devices, but there’s nothing else to go on here, so speculation is wide open. Perhaps Dell is developing the next generation of Xbox console, or implementing Kinect technology into its products, or even building a mobile gaming device powered by Xbox.
Adorable children using Dell Chomebook 11s
Microsoft and Apple have taken different approaches to patent licensing/infringement. Apple keeps trying to sue its competitors into oblivion while Microsoft just convinces everyone to pay licensing fees, thereby making a killing without ever having to set foot in court. Microsoft’s approach has wrought some key lucrative partnerships with the likes of Dell (as well as many others) while at the same time fostering innovation across the industry by keeping the courts out of it.
Update 3/27: Microsoft reached out to us to explain more about this Dell/Microsoft licensing agreement. Dell won't be building any Xbox consoles soon, according to our source who is familiar with the deal. Basically, Dell is getting access to patents that Microsoft holds for Android and Chrome OS, while Microsoft actually now is able to freely use some patents that Dell holds related to the Xbox. Thus, it's nothing so exciting. So it goes in the wild world of patents and IP.