Microsoft announced that Quanta Computer agreed to pay it licensing fees for devices running Google Android or Chrome, another in Microsoft's Android campaign.
Quanta Computer has agreed to pay Microsoft a license for
its devices running Google Android or Chrome.
By doing so, it becomes the latest in a string of companies
that have submitted to a Microsoft licensing program rather than fight a
patent-infringement suit in court. "We are pleased to have reached this
agreement with Quanta, and proud of the continued success of our Android
licensing program in resolving IP issues surround Android and Chrome devices in
the marketplace," Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy
general counsel for Microsoft's Intellectual Property Group, wrote in an Oct.
Exact financial terms were undisclosed by either company.
Over the past few months, Microsoft has entered into
licensing agreements with companies large and small. Both Samsung and HTC
indicated their willingness to pay Microsoft a fee for each Android device
sold, with Samsung indicating it would go a step further and also collaborate
on the development and marketing for Windows Phone.
The implicit threat is that Microsoft will sue any Android
manufacturer who doesn't agree to pay a licensing fee. Motorola Mobility, the
one major holdout from such a licensing agreement, is currently locked in a
bitter and complex patent-infringement lawsuit with Microsoft; it remains an
open question how Motorola's planned acquisition by Google will affect that
Microsoft's legal counsel argues that intellectual property
"incentivizes" research and development, advancing the mobile industry. Google
has argued just as stridently that Microsoft's Android-related maneuverings
constitute a glorified extortion
Research firm Nielsen estimated Google Android's share of
the U.S. smartphone market at 43 percent, leading Apple's iOS (28 percent) and
Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise (18 percent). Meanwhile, it placed
Microsoft behind those competitors with 8 percent of the market.
Despite anemic sales for its year-old Windows Phone,
Microsoft is determined to seize a greater share of that market. It began
rolling out its wide-ranging Windows Phone "Mango" update Sept. 27, on top of
signing deals with a number of manufacturers-including Samsung-to produce a new
generation of devices preloaded with Mango.
"It was under a year ago that we launched the first Windows
Phone," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience of media and executives at
this year's financial analyst meeting. "We haven't sold quite as many probably
as I would have hoped in the first year."
That being said, Microsoft can perhaps take hope in the
revenue stream from Android licenses.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter