Microsoft Continues to Profit on Android; New Licensing Deals with Acer and Viewsonic


Editor in Chief
Staff member
Jan 5, 2011

According to a new report, Microsoft can now add Acer and Viewsonic to their growing list of Android manufacturers that have to pay Microsoft a licensing fee for every Android device they make. Here's a quote from the BGR article with some more details,
The deal also covers any forthcoming devices powered by Google’s Chrome OS. “We are pleased that ViewSonic is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” reads a statement from Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.” Pleased indeed. An identical statement was also issued regarding the Acer agreement.
The article also indicated that Microsoft may well be making three to five times more from their Android licensing than they do from their own Windows Phone 7 mobile OS.

It's easy, initially, to look at this situation as a good example of how the patent legal system could work instead of the harsh "stop now" method that Apple is using against every company under the sun. However, the reality is that these Microsoft licensing deals are really only a "lesser of two evils." The problem is that this behavior stifles innovation as well. If a smaller company wanted to break into the Android market to take advantage of its "mostly open source" nature, the threat of having a large portion of their margin & profits siphoned off by Microsoft would make most companies think twice, and probably give it a pass. In the long run, this is bad for innovation and bad for the consumer. Ultimately, the patent system needs to be reworked to accommodate the mercurial nature of the unprecedented and unpredictable technological advances in the 21st century.

On a side-note... I am not sure why BGR included this picture of 'Andy' with this article, other than it depicts the little Android alone in a big world, but I liked the pic and thought I would include it too, even if it is only marginally related to the story.

Source: BGR
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