Microsoft may be making some inroads into the smartphone market with the generally very positive reactions to Windows Phone 7 and its upcoming Mango revision, but it isn’t just its own operating system that is generating funds for the Redmond based corporation. Indeed, Android, the widest used smartphone OS, is earning the company an income as some vendors agree to pay Microsoft a fee for each Android product sold to ward of patent infringement claims.
Wistron is the latest company to give in to Microsoft’s demands,following the examples of Velocity Micro, General Dynamics and Onkyo Corporation last week. The most high profile company to take Microsoft up on its offer to “address Android’s IP issues”, as described by Microsoft general counsel Horacio Gutierrez, is the Taiwanese firm HTC which manufactures a number of Android’s most high profile smartphones and reportedly pays Microsoft $5 per phone for that privilege.
At this rate even if Microsoft doesn’t make any further dents on the smartphone market, they will still be making a steady income from the sector – and they are already locked in legal battles with Motorola over the firms Android use, and Barnes & Noble are also in the courtroom as their Nook e-reader is Android powered.
Microsoft has long had a contentious relationship with open source vendors, with Steve Ballmer referring to Linux as a”cancer” in 2001 and went further in 2007 to claim that Linux and other open source software infringes on 235 Microsoft patents. This legal spat over Android, however, goes even deeper, as it is one facet of a major corporate rivalry between Microsoft and Google who compete in search engines, office tools, mapping software, technology leadership and now operating systems.
[via Network World]