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Microsoft announces tenth Android patent deal

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

According to Microsoft, half of all Android devices are now under its patent protection. Yesterday, the Redmond software maker revealed it has signed a deal with Compal Electronics giving the company “broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio” for tablets, phones, e-readers and anything else running Google’s Android or Chrome operating systems. Under the new deal, Microsoft will receive royalties from Compal, presumably for each device sold. 

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Compal, one of the leaders in the original design manufacturing, or ODM, industry.  Together with the license agreements signed in the past few months with Wistron and Quanta Computer, today’s agreement with Compal means more than half of the world’s ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices is now under license to Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft.  “We are proud of the continued success of our licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome.”

If this press release sounds familiar, it should. This is Microsoft’s tenth patent deal with an Android manufacturers. Seemingly unable to effectively compete with its own Windows Phone operating system, Microsoft has been targeting manufacturers of Android devices–the dominant smartphone platform–and strong arming them into signing patent agreements. Microsoft claims that Android is in breach of a number of core operating system patents that it owns and invented. Samsung, HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, Quanta, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, General Dynamics Itronix, and Wistrom have all announced patent deals with the software company. 

So what does this all mean to you? Well not much, except that for half of all Android devices, Google’s OS is no longer free. In the long run, that means higher prices and less of an advantage for Google, which is buying Motorola to secure patents to help “protect” Android. 

(Image via AP)

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