Microsoft Adds ZTE to Android Patent Licensee Roster
The Chinese smartphone maker joins the growing list of tech companies paying Microsoft for patents affecting Google's Android mobile operating system and Chrome OS.Microsoft announced another big Android patent-licensing agreement just a week after announcing that it had inked a similar deal with Hon Hai, parent company of Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer. Late in the day on April 23, the Windows software maker revealed that ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications equipment provider and a producer of smartphones, had signed a licensing deal concerning patents pertaining to Android and Chrome OS. The deal covers "ZTE phones, tablets, computers and other devices" that run the affected software, according to a company blog post by Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft legal and corporate affairs. Twice in as many weeks, Microsoft notched another big licensing deal. Gutierrez wrote that the company was "pleased to announce that ZTE, one of the world's largest smartphone companies, has joined a long list of companies that have signed patent-license agreements with Microsoft." It's a list that includes Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer, Barnes & Noble, and Nikon. While eclipsed by market leaders like Apple and Samsung, ZTE has been steadily making inroads in the competitive smartphone and tablet markets.
Last year, the company made waves by placing fourth in Gartner's smartphone market rankings on the strength of its low-cost offerings. On Feb. 15, 2012, the research group singled out as ZTE one of the fastest-growing handset makers after more than doubling phone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the same period during the previous year.