Microsoft patent deal with Wistron covers Android and Chrome

Technology giant Microsoft has inked a patent licensing agreement with gear-maker Wistron that gives the company “broad coverage” for devices the company may make using Google’s Android operating system—the idea being that if Microsoft ever goes after Google for patent infringement in Android, Wistron will be safe. The deal follows a pattern Microsoft has set down with other equipment makers, including Velocity Micro, Itronix, and Onkyo; however, the deal with Wistron is even more expansive by expanding beyond Android to Google’s Chrome OS operating system.

“We are pleased that Wistron is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program, established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” said Microsoft corporate VP Horacio Gutierrez, in a statement.

As with other patent coverage deals involving Android, neither the financial terms of the arrangement nor the specific patents involved have been disclosed. Microsoft has indicated only that it will be receive royalties under the deal.

With the exception of HTC, Microsoft’s moves to extract royalties from Android device makers have so far been limited to niche players; however, the company is now beginning to move on larger manufacturers: reports have the company now demanding $15 from Samsung for every Android device it sells.

The deal with Wistron is the first known instance where Microsoft has rolled in licensing deals covering potential litigation involving Google Chrome. Google debuted its lightweight cloud-dependent operating system with its experimental CR-48 notebooks, and the first Chrome-based consumer notebooks—Chromebooks—launched from Samsung and Acer last month.

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