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Microsoft frisks yet another Android gear maker for patent dosh

You'll NEVER guess who it is

Microsoft and Dell have inked a licensing deal for each other's patents that cover the technology found in Android, Chrome OS, and the Xbox.

Android handsets and tablets don't spring to mind when you think of Dell, but the Texan biz does offer the Wyse Cloud Connect HDMI stick, which is powered by Android code, for instance.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dell will pay royalties to Microsoft for using the closely related Google-driven Android and Chrome operating systems. Additionally, the PC maker will receive "consideration" for a license covering some part of the Microsoft Xbox console range.

The companies did not provide specific information on which products the agreement will apply to or plans for future products which could be based on the licensing deal.

"Our agreement with Dell shows what can be accomplished when companies share intellectual property," Microsoft intellectual property group corporate vice president Horacio Gutierrez said in announcing the Dell pact.

"We have been partnering with technology manufacturers and vendors for many years to craft licensing deals, instead of litigation strategies."

It's not escaped our attention that, rather than get caught up in messy public courtroom feuds, Microsoft has of late leaned on companies until they sign licensing agreements well away from the courts. The Windows giant has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars annually from Android device makers, thanks to the various patent deals it has brokered.

Redmond has inked similar licensing agreements with Huawei, Foxconn and Samsung, which net Microsoft a cut from Android devices sold.

Today's announcement comes just two days after Dell announced another major deal: the acquisition of data analysis specialist StatSoft. The company said that deal will be used to bolster Dell's business analytics offerings. ®

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