Microsoft bags two more Android patent deals
The rising cost of 'free'
Microsoft has inked two more patent licensing agreements with Android hardware manufacturers.
Onkyo Corp and Velocity Micro have each signed agreements with Redmond that will mean Microsoft receives royalties on Android tablets sold by the two companies.
Details of the agreements were not revealed, but it's standard practice for Microsoft to license part of its patent portfolio and agree to not to sue for infringement.
It's been quite a week for Microsoft in signing up Android OEMs. On Monday, General Dynamics Itronix agreed to pay Microsoft royalties on devices in return for the same "broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio".
What's curious, ss patents expert and blogger Florian Mueller points out, is that these three companies are not exactly the biggest OEMs working with Google's mobile operating system.
Also, two of this week's licensees have some experience with the patents system: General Dynamics Itronix is a subsidiary of the mighty General Dynamics defense contractor, which, as Mueller notes, has almost 1,000 patents registered under its ownership and would have the money to easily see off any potential patent action. Onkyo has 100 patents.
Microsoft also has a patent agreement in place with HTC on Android, and on the Linux side, Redmond has signed up Amazon over its Kindle reader and TomTom over in-car satellite navigation systems.
Those still resisting Microsoft include Motorola over the Droid X and Droid 2, and Barnes & Noble, Invetec, and Foxconn International over the Nook e-reader sold by Barnes & Noble.
Microsoft is adamant that Android violates its patents. The chief financial officer for Microsoft's mobile communications business in September 2010 told investors: "It [Android] does infringe on a bunch of patents, and there's a cost associated with that." This cost would seem to be legal and licensing. ®