Android: Samsung to pay royalties to Microsoft
South Korean electronics corporation Samsung has agreed to pay royalties to Microsoft for its smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system. Both companies have signed a patent agreement, Microsoft said on Wednesday (28 September). The licensing partners have agreed to cross-license their respective patent portfolios. The press release states that Samsung has agreed to pay royalties to Microsoft for every Android device it sells; however, the companies didn't disclose the agreed royalty amount or any other details.
With Samsung and Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, who signed a similar license agreement last year and reportedly pays $5 per device to Microsoft, the two largest Android vendors have now acknowledged that Android is liable for licensing. Manufacturers including Casio, Acer and Viewsonic, as well as Onkyo, General Dynamics Itronix and Velocity Micro have also signed licence agreements for their Android devices. In a blog post, Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez of Microsoft's legal team said that the only remaining major vendor now without a licence is Motorola Mobility.
Motorola Mobility is now part of Google: the company had taken over the industry veteran to strengthen its Android operating system, which is being subjected to patent litigation by its competitors. Whether Motorola's large patent portfolio provides sufficient security remains to be seen; however, it appears that Samsung didn't want to rely on it and preferred to sign an agreement with Microsoft. Furthermore, Samsung doesn't exclusively support Android but also intends to co-operate with Microsoft in the development and marketing of Windows Phone devices.
This means that Samsung is now free to focus on the patent war with Apple. The iPhone manufacturer has repeatedly sued Samsung, for instance, achieving a sales ban for the Galaxy Tab tablets in Germany – legal proceedings will enter the next round just before Christmas. Apple has accused Samsung of basing its tablet design too closely on the iPad. Samsung have countered with measures including a patent infringement suit and are trying to prevent the upcoming launch of the iPhone 5 in South Korea.