Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) speared another big whale in its long-running patent battle against Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform by getting Hon Hai, parent of electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn, to agree to license Microsoft's patents for devices running the Android and Chrome OS.
Microsoft has struck similar deals in recent years with the likes of Acer, HTC, LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, as well as with smaller firms and ODMs including Pegatron, Quanta Computer, Winstron and others. Notably, Google's Motorola Mobility unit as not struck a patent licensing deal with Microsoft, and the two have clashed repeatedly in court over patent infringement.
Getting Hon Hai is significant because Foxconn manufactures more than 40 percent of the world's consumer electronics, many of which run Android. The deal covers smartphones, tablets and TVs. While the details of the agreement are confidential, the parties indicated that Microsoft will receive royalties from Hon Hai.
"Hon Hai is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer that holds more than 54,000 patents worldwide," Samuel Fu, director of the intellectual property department at Hon Hai, said in a statement. "We recognize and respect the importance of international efforts that seek to protect intellectual property. The licensing agreement with Microsoft represents those efforts and our continued support of international trade agreements that facilitate implementation of effective patent protection."
According to Foss Patents, the deal represents the 19th such patent licensing agreement Microsoft has struck with companies making Android devices. The first was in April 2010 with HTC.
Looking at 2012, Chetan Sharma Consulting found that Samsung led the global field in mobile patents granted, according to Sharma, followed by IBM, Sony, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), LG, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), and Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) tied for No. 10. Alcatel-Lucent led the pack in Europe and IBM led in the United States, but Samsung was the overall leader.
- see this Microsoft release
- see this Foss Patents post
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article
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