Microsoft gets another Android patent licence with Compal
Microsoft has announced another patent deal, this time with Original Device Manufacturer (ODM) Compal Electronics, which will see Compal pay an undisclosed amount of royalties to Microsoft with regard to devices it makes that run Android or ChromeOS. Compal manufactures smartphones and tablet computers, but like fellow Microsoft licensee Quanta, it makes that hardware for third parties, bringing in an annual revenue of $28 billion.
The agreement is the latest in a long line of confidential agreements which Microsoft has forged between itself and manufacturers of Android devices, including HTC, Samsung, Acer and Viewsonic, Wistron, Onkyo, General Dynamics Itronix and Velocity Micro. In March, Microsoft took Barnes and Noble, FoxConn and Inventec to court for allegedly infringing a number of Microsoft patents in the Nook e-readers.
Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel said that this means that "more than half of the world’s ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices is now under license to Microsoft’s patent portfolio". In a blog posting, the company expanded on its position claiming it was "putting in place a series of agreements that are reasonable and fair to both sides". Microsoft estimates that it has 55% of the ODMs and 53% of Android smartphone makers under licence agreements and paying royalties.