It’s interesting how Microsoft is becoming an intellectual property vendor these days. This is all thanks to Google’s Linux-based Android operating system which incorporate Microsoft’s many patents, allowing the Redmond firm to seek royalties from handset vendors. Microsoft first forced HTC to pony up five bucks in royalties per each handset sold. The revelation has prompted pundits to note that the HTC deal earns Microsoft more money then licensing fees collected from Windows Phone partners.
Microsoft has signed a similar pact with General Dynamics Itronix and their licensing division took cash from component maker Wistron Corp., in addition to Android backers Veloicty Micro and Onkyo Corp. And now, we learn that Microsoft’s legal rottweilers are after Samsung, the leading Android handset maker, reports Reuters based on local media. Note that Microsoft already has licensing agreements in place with Samsung and LG.
Microsoft Corp has demanded that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd pay $15 for each smartphone handset it makes based on Google Inc’s Android operating system as the software giant has a wide range of patents used in the mobile platform, local media reported on Wednesday. Samsung would likely seek to lower the payment to about $10 in exchange for a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the U.S. company’s Windows platform, the Maeil Business Newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials as saying.
Let’s put it this way: Microsoft is set to make $30 million in Galaxy S 2 royalties alone based on sales of three million Galaxy S II smartphones. That’s a run-rate of twenty million handsets a year, meaning the Samsung deal could be potentially worth a cool $200 million in annual licensing fees on the Galaxy S II smartphone alone. And what happens if an Android vendor does not sign with Microsoft for patent protection?
Microsoft’s legal department wants Android vendors to get the message loud and clear so they took Barnes & Noble to court over patent infringement claims related to the Android-based Nook e-reader. The Windows maker also received a favorable ruling in its ongoing legal spat with Motorola, which Microsoft accuses of infringing its 19 patents with Android software. According to the latest market share figures from comScore for the three-month period between February and May of this year, Samsung was the leading phone brand in the United States, accounting for nearly one fifth (24.8 percent) of all mobile subscribers aged 13 and up.