HERE’S A BIZZARE turn of events. HTC has agreed to pay Microsoft royalties to be able to run Android on its devices. Yes, you read that correctly, Microsoft has somehow figured that Android infringes some of its patents, most likely to do with Windows Mobile, and HTC has decided to pay up rather than risk a lengthy lawsuit.
We’re not quite sure what’s going on here and Microsoft has yet to reveal any specifics apart from a press release stating that it “have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform.” The press release doesn’t go into any details as to what this agreement covers, but it’s fairly obvious that Microsoft want to cash in on whatever Microsoft patents it thinks Android infringes.
If this affects the Android operating system as a whole, we’d expect to see more of these kinds of deals with other manufacturers of Android powered devices. Motorola, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, Dell and Acer are a few of the companies we’d expect that Microsoft would be in touch with and let’s not forget Google. If this is an issue related to parts of the Android operating system, even the mighty Google might have to settle with Microsoft if it’s proven that Android infringes valid Microsoft patents.
Until Microsoft issues an official statement as to what patents it claims are infringed by Google’s Android operating system, it’s a little bit hard to predict how this will play out. Considering that HTC has already been sued by Apple, it might just be that HTC signed a pre-emptive agreement with Microsoft to avoid any potential future lawsuits, especially as HTC is also offering a wide range of Windows Mobile devices.S|A
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