Microsoft made LG Electronics the latest company to enter a Google Android patent-licensing agreement, although exact terms went undisclosed.
LG Electronics have signed a patent-licensing agreement for the latter's Google
Android devices. Although neither company disclosed the exact terms, similar
agreements have seen manufacturers paying Microsoft royalties for each Android
device created. Microsoft has argued for some time that Android violates
several of its patents.
with LG Electronics also covers Chrome OS, Google's Web-reliant operating
system for traditional PCs. A handful of "Chromebooks" appeared at this week's 2012
International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Whether LG ends up
building these devices under their own brand remains to be seen, but the
agreement indicates that such a move is at least under consideration.
pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a
mutually beneficial agreement," Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and
deputy general counsel for Microsoft's Intellectual Property Group, wrote in a Jan. 12 statement
posted on Microsoft's
Website. "This agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android
smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft's
Microsoft's corporate vice president of corporate communications, left a
somewhat cheekier response to the news on his Twitter feed
"Hey Google-we are the 70%."
spent 2011 locking down Android agreements with manufacturers big and small,
including Samsung and HTC. Thanks to that push, Microsoft is earning
significant revenue from software developed by Google, a fact that almost
certainly irritates Mountain View executives to the extreme.
Android manufacturers have quietly submitted to a Microsoft license. Motorola
Mobility, which Google is looking to acquire, voted to battle out the issue in
court rather than pay Redmond a fee for its Android devices. Barnes &
Noble, which manufactures a line of e-readers that use Android, also opted to
push back against Microsoft's licensing attempts with its own lawsuit.
irony to the situation is that Microsoft's earnings from Android licenses
could, theoretically, be outpacing revenue from Windows Phone, which so far has
failed to attract a customer base capable of outright challenging Android's
market share. Microsoft hopes a recent software upgrade to Windows Phone,
combined with new efforts by manufacturing partners like Nokia, will help it
gain some marketplace traction this year.
Follow Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter