Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai has just joined the stable of other companies that have had to sign a patent deal with Microsoft in order to produce and sell Android-based smartphones. Despite the Android OS being a Google product, Microsoft has long convinced those who produce Android devices to pay royalties, as it believes that Google implements technologies patented by itself. Most vendors have agreed to these terms to avoid messy court battles, although Google has always considered Microsoft's claims to be bogus.
Back in 2011, we reported that Microsoft had increased its pressure on the market enough to receive royalties on a staggering 50% of Android devices sold. Where that percentage stands today, we're not exactly sure, but according to this FOSS Patents blog post, Hon Hai has become the 20th licensee.
The terms of Hon Hai's deal with Microsoft has not been disclosed, but as the BBC mentions, patent law restricts Microsoft from "double dipping", in the sense that it could claim royalties from both Foxconn and the brands it produces hardware for. One must wonder that if Microsoft really does have "bogus" claims with these patents, why are many of these companies not joining forces to take the Redmond company head-on? The fact that this isn't happening only adds to the validity of Microsoft's claims.
Well if its a true claim I would think Google would spearhead the lawsuit for the companies that use Android. Then again if the agreements are for pennies per phone which does add up it could be cheaper in the long run to just sign it and not have to worry about MS going after them.
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Any one see a conflict of interest here ? Microsoft is backing Android Tech while still pushing for its own windows base phones and tablets ? They going to push crappy android tech and say "Gee look how much better Windows based items are." ?
Microsoft isn't backing Android at -all-. It earns royalties based on patents that it accuses those who deploy Android of violating. Microsoft would love nothing more than for Android to disappear, because then it would be able to see its Windows Phone share skyrocket.
That's the same situation a lot of regular people who would like to take others to court face. The legal fees could end up negating the actual gains (or come as a total loss if you happen to lose), so there's no point in pursuing that route.
It's unfortunate, really.
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