Microsoft and Google have announced that they’re dropping their long-running smartphone and video game console patent disputes. This announcement brings an end to some 20 lawsuits in the States and in Europe. Neither company revealed the exact financial terms, but did announce that instead of fighting each other over technology, that they envisage a future where the work together for the benefit of their customers…

In a joint statement, the two technology companies said: “Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers.”

Previous to the settlement, Google and Microsoft have been battling each other since 2010 when the Windows-makers accused Google of using its technology in the Android operating system, without paying royalties. There were also legal battles over tech used in the Xbox, a dispute from Microsoft claiming that Motorola wasn’t licensing its technology fairly, a case which Google adopted when they bought Motorola a few years ago. There were also disputes over a technology called ActiveSync which Motorola used on its phones to sync calendars between phones and desktop PCs. That’s without bringing up the whole ‘Scroogled’ campaign.

Google and Microsoft’s future work together is a cord of many strands. They both want to join with the likes of Netflix and Amazon to develop a royalty-free, video-compression technology to help boost download speeds. They also want to lobby the European government for a more unified patent system across the continent. Both agree that the rise of ‘patent troll’ suits is damaging to the industry, and should be stopped. As reported by Bloomberg:

When it comes to patent policy, the companies agree they want to make it harder for patent-licensing firms that don’t make products and are derided as “trolls.” The European Union is setting up an EU-wide patent court and the two companies are lobbying to ensure those types of lawsuits don’t become as prevalent in Europe as they are in the U.S.

Whether or not this amnesty between the two tech giants leads to more products being developed in conjunction with each other is doubtful. Both companies compete in several markets. From computers, smartphones and tablets to online search and browsing. It’s fair to say, they both realize that a long-running lawsuit is a needless distraction, when they could be working to improve tech instead of arguing over old patents.

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