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Microsoft hoists ZTE onto the Android patent bandwagon

Huawei and Googorola still holding out on licensing deals

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China's ZTE has become the latest firm to sign a licensing deal with Microsoft for its Android and Chrome patent portfolio.

The firm, which is one of the world's biggest smartphone makers, has agreed to stump up royalties to MS for Android and Chrome stuff just a week after Hon Hai's Foxconn signed a similar deal.

"The ZTE and Foxconn agreements show once more that technology companies around the world, including some of the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturers anchored in China, recognize licensing is an effective way to share technology and build on each other’s work," Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said in a blog post.

Redmond has successfully argued that Google's Android OS is full of Microsoft-owned technology and has bagged cash from major fandroid firms including Samsung, LG and HTC.

"Much of the current litigation in the so-called “smartphone patent wars” could be avoided if companies were willing to recognise the value of others’ creations in a way that is fair," Gutierrez opined.

"At Microsoft, experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street… This is why we have paid others more than $4 billion over the last decade to secure intellectual property rights."

Without naming names, he added that not all companies had been so forthcoming with the patent licences.

"We have worked for multiple years to reach an amicable solution with the few global companies who have yet to take a license, but so far they have been unwilling to address these issues in a fair manner. We’d prefer to consider these companies licensing partners and remain hopeful they can join the rest of the industry in the near future," he said.

Of the major manufacturers, Huawei the last of the big boys that Microsoft has yet to sign a deal with. Redmond also has continued issues with Google-owned Motorola, which is still in litigation with MS in cases across Europe and the US over Android and Microsoft's Xbox.

Gutierrez said that 80 per cent of Android mobes sold in the US and "a majority" of the ones sold globally are now covered by agreements with Microsoft. ®

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