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Microsoft Adds ViewSonic, Acer to Android Licensees

It is unclear how much money Microsoft will receive from the deal, but previous agreements, which include HTC, are said to be handing Microsoft somewhere between $7.50 to $12.50 per Android device sold, according to Citi analyst Walter Pritchard. HTC alone may be paying Microsoft about $100 million every quarter, based on shipments of currently about 11 million phones per quarter.

“We are pleased that ViewSonic is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.” Of course, the licensing agreement takes ViewSonic and Acer out of the legal crosshairs at Microsoft.

According to data just released by Lex Machina, 8 percent (or 24 out of 294) of patent infringement lawsuits filed in August targeted mobile products. Apple is involved in 97 of all open patent cases. It seems that the patent mess is just getting started as all major mobile platform companies have been building their defenses. For example, Google acquired Motorola for $12.5 billion, mainly for its huge patent portfolio.

Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.

  • rohitbaran
    Wow. Talk about free cash!
  • FlayerSlayer
    I think I missed an article recently. How come Microsoft gets a $10 cut of the sale of all Android devices? Is this due to patent suit settlements. I wish the article were clearer on why, so I could know this isn't just another Tom's typo.
  • DSpider
    What does Microsoft have to do with Android? They have their own Winphone 7 or whatever the hell it's called (I don't even give a sh).

    Taken from Wikipedia:

    "Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It is developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google."

    So I ask you again, where does Microsoft fit into all of this?

    "We are pleased that ViewSonic is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues."

    What IP issues?
  • of the way
    Microsoft thinks it can sue over Android use. This is their way of not having to pay (as many) legal fees, and jump straight to a settlement.
  • jprahman
    Basically Acer and Viewsonic pay Microsoft a fee for a license to use mobile technology that Microsoft has patented but is (supposedly) present in Android. This way Acer and Viewsonic don't face lawsuits and Microsoft gets to cash in on Android phone sales.
  • bobbyp86
    I hate all of this legal extortion, I'd boycott the companies that do it but then I'd be living in a cave :/
  • coldmast
    Software should be limited to copyright, not patents, what a joke.
  • DSpider
    That is so messed up. Microsoft making a profit from Android sales (which is basically Linux).
  • silver565
    meh, Nokia have a lot of patents that other companies have to pay to use....
    Same thing I guess
  • junixophobia
    what patent exactly is that....?