Thanks to its large stash of patents, Microsoft has been one of the largest beneficiaries of the patent wars currently underway in the smartphone industry.
In an earlier post (Android: Microsoft’s New Cash Cow), I already explained how Microsoft had turned Android into its new cash cow. It was actually on track to generate more than a billion dollars by licensing patents to Android smartphone manufacturers in 2012, and was making way more money from Android than it did from Windows Phone 7.
It has already been getting patent licensing payments from HTC, Onkyo, Wistron, and was in talks with Samsung for a licensing agreement which would net it close to $15 for every Android smartphone manufactured by Samsung.
According to a report by BGR, Microsoft has confirmed that it has signed licensing agreements with two other major Android manufacturers – ViewSonic and Acer. Both the companies make Android smartphones and tablets. Apparently the deal covers not only Android devices, but also devices running Chrome OS.
We are pleased that ViewSonic is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues. This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft.
While these specific deals are unlikely to net Microsoft a lot of money, they do help Microsoft send across a clear message – if so many heavyweights decided to license its patents instead of fighting patent lawsuits, other Android manufacturers should rather directly pay a licensing fee to Microsoft instead of fighting it in the courts, where Microsoft is likely to win.
It’s a win-win situation for Microsoft.