Microsoft Pacts with HTC, Eyes Android for Infringement

htc droid incredible review

Software giant Microsoft has announced it has entered into a patent agreement with Taiwanese phone maker HTC that will give broad access to Microsoft patents for phones it makes running Google’s Android platform. Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Microsoft says it will be receiving royalties from HTC as part of the deal. The agreement makes HTC the only phone maker to date that has inked a patent agreement with Microsoft for Android devices—and that may just be a sign of things to come, as Microsoft is now publicly asserting it believes Android infringes on its patents.

The agreement between Microsoft and HTC would shield HTC’s Android phones from any potential patent infringement suits Microsoft were to bring against Android devices. HTC makes the Google Nexus One phone, as well as the new HTC Incredible debuting on Verizon Wireless.

Google’s open Android platform is based on Linux but incorporates a number of mobile technologies and interface conventions. Industry insiders believe that Microsoft’s patent concerns over Android are broad, ranging from the basic operating system through user interface elements.

Microsoft has a historic tendency to announce barely-existent products or assert patent liability against products and systems that compete with its own offerings, a strategy derogatorily called “FUD”—for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The strategy is designed to dissuade manufacturers, enterprises, and customers from adopting non-Microsoft technologies for fear of future litigation or competition from the software titan. For years, Microsoft has asserted that the Linux operating system violates numerous Microsoft technology patents, but to date has yet to cite a specific instance or bring any form of complaint or litigation.

Commenting on the HTC agreement, Microsoft corporate VP and deputy general counsel for IP and licensing said in a statement, “HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property.”

However, speaking with CNet, Gutierrez also asserted Android infringes on Microsoft intellectual property, although the company would prefer to resolve the issue through licensing agreements rather than litigation. Microsoft’s case is apparently good enough that it has been able to convince HTC to execute a license rather than fight Microsoft on the matter.

HTC is also being sued by Apple over patents related to the iPhone; HTC says it will “fully defend itself” from Apple’s lawsuit.

Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Mobile

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

Samsung's advanced folding phone needed 'total reconfiguration' to make it real

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Computing

Lenovo patent hints at a future laptop with a flexible, folding OLED display

Going along with the growing trend of foldable devices, Lenovo recently filed a patent for a device with a foldable display, hinting at a future where your laptop screen can bend in half.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Mobile

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Mobile

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Mobile

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Mobile

Android Q: Everything we know so far about Google’s next mobile OS

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile

Sony is showing something off at MWC -- will it be the Xperia XZ4?

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.