Microsoft-Samsung Android Patent Deal Turns Sour
Alleging that the company is being stiffed by Samsung, Microsoft turns to the courts.Google's Android mobile operating system is once again the source of legal fireworks for Microsoft. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., announced on Aug. 1 that it is pursuing legal action in a bid to force Samsung to adhere to the companies' Android licensing agreement. The lawsuit was filed with U.S. District Court's Southern District of New York, the same court that last week ruled against Microsoft in its case against the U.S. Department of Justice and the agency's controversial position regarding its jurisdiction over data stored abroad. In September 2011, the companies entered into a cross-licensing contract. Under the terms of the deal, which remain undisclosed, Samsung agreed to pay Microsoft royalties on Android-based tablets and smartphones for access to its patents related to the mobile OS. At the time, Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's general counsel and deputy general counsel, respectively, said in a statement that the agreement "gives both companies greater patent coverage relating to each other's technologies, and opens the door to a deeper partnership in the development of new phones for the Windows Phone platform." Now, nearly three years later, Microsoft contends that the agreement has turned into a one-sided affair.
David Howard, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, suggested in a company blog post that Samsung is being stingy with royalty payments after enjoying massive success in smartphones. "Since Samsung entered into the agreement, its smartphone sales have quadrupled and it is now the leading worldwide player in the smartphone market," wrote Howard.