Apple is reportedly negotiating with Android manufacturers for licensing fees, according to a new report. Microsoft is already engaged in a licensing campaign.
Apple is apparently
negotiating with some Android manufacturers to settle long-running patent
disputes, according to a new report in The Wall Street
Apple wants to discuss terms
with Motorola Mobility and Samsung, two of the largest producers of Android
devices, according to the report, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the
matter. However, that doesnt necessarily mean Apple will engage in similar
talks with other Android manufacturers.
If Apple did enter into an
agreement with those rivals, it would mark a drastic reversal in strategy.
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously pledged to wage thermonuclear war
against Android, which he viewed as a stolen product. In a meeting with former
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Jobs reportedly refused to accept any sort of
Android-related payout. I dont want your money, he said, according to Walter
Isaacsons bestselling biography. If you offer me $5 billion, I wont want it.
Ive got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, thats
all I want.
Even after Jobs died in
October 2011 following a long battle with cancer, Apple continued to hurl
lawsuits at various Android manufacturers, which responded with their own
counterclaims of patent infringement. Now, according to the Journal
, Apple could instead ask those
manufacturers for a patent-licensing fee.
If Apple does shift course
in this way, it could end up mirroring Microsoft, which has spent the past
several quarters corralling Android manufacturers into licensing agreements.
Microsoft argues that Android violates its patents, and has made no secret of
its willingness to sue companies that produce Android devicesand who arent
willing to pay a set fee per unit. Samsung, HTC and Acer are just a few of the
firms that have agreed to take a Microsoft license rather than fight it out in
Would manufacturers continue
to churn out Android devices if they had to pay significant fees to both Apple
and Microsoft for each unit sold? Because Motorola Mobility was acquired by
Google, it basically has no choice but to pursue an Android-centric path. In
their battle against Android, however, Apple and Microsoft can hope that their
legal maneuverings give other manufacturers pause.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter