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Foxconn Signs Massive Android Patent Agreement With Microsoft 168

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the happy-happy-halloween dept.
Pikoro writes with news that Foxconn's parent company has entered into an agreement to pay Microsoft royalties for every Android device they manufacture, joining a rather long list of companies licensing patents for Android/Linux from Microsoft. From the BBC: "Microsoft has secured a patent deal with the world's biggest consumer electronics manufacturer to receive fees for devices powered by Google's Android and Chrome operating systems. Hon Hai — the parent company of Foxconn — said the deal would help prevent its clients being caught up in an ongoing intellectual property dispute. Microsoft says that Google's code makes use of innovations it owns. Google alleges its rival's claims are based on 'bogus patents.' 'The patents at issue cover a range of functionality embodied in Android devices that are essential to the user experience, including: natural ways of interacting with devices by tabbing through various screens to find the information they need; surfing the web more quickly, and interacting with documents and e-books.'"
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Foxconn Signs Massive Android Patent Agreement With Microsoft

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  • Massive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @08:53AM (#43471311)

    Beware all stories with "Massive" in the headline.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:02AM (#43471377)

      Also, how can you tell it is "massive". It looks like all details are confidential. It is unclear which patents are involved, what FoxCon gets in return, how much money is exchanging hands, what is really "covered" by the agreement, etc. It might as well be a "tiny: deal, just focussed on "massive" publicity: "We don't really have anything but with patents you can always do some handwaving, so lets put out a press release how good friends we are, generate some publicity to show Microsoft is still relevant and what a friendly company Foxcon is. As long as they spell our names right any publicity is good publicity. Deal?".

      • I don't think the publicity aims to show that Microsoft is relevant or that Foxcon is friendly company. It aims to show Android OEMs that they must pay when Microsoft visits them.

      • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @10:59AM (#43472593)

        I don't think you understand who Foxconn are. They do the actual manufacturing work for almost everyone in the tech business, from Apple and Motorola to Nintendo and Sony; the aforementioned "clients" they want to shield. In terms of who it affects, it's huge.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poetmatt (793785)

      eh? there's something massive here, it's called fuel for the antitrust investigation.

  • wince (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:05AM (#43471403)

    Before everyone gets in a twist. Remember MS was in the phone market for 9-10 years before iPhone/Android... They may have some patents here. They did extensive work in this field. Also remember patents expire eventually. I remember people walking around proudly with their ipaq's and chicklet wince phones and spouting how the dreamcast runs wince.

    Let me put it to you this way. When MS and the OEMs first came out with the WinCE phone people were excited (windows in my pocket). The actual result was awful. However MS was up to basically the 7 or 8th version of wince before iPhone came out (and apple blew them away).

    MS put a ton of work into this. Sure it is MS (or M$ as a lot of people like to say). But in this case I think they may deserve a bit of recompense. There will probably be a few of you out there that disagree with me and call me a troll. But I saw the amount of work they put into it. It was blindingly obvious that they worked really hard on it. It just rather bad at what it was supposed to do.

    • Re:wince (Score:4, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:06AM (#43471423)

      I will disagree with you. Hard work does not mean you deserve to get paid. Lots of people work very hard and produce unpopular products that never make money. This is simply rent seeking.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If the hard work results in patents, then they can make money off of it. Regardless of how popular their implementations were.

        • by thaylin (555395)
          If the hard work resulted in VALID patents.
          • And, for better or worse, the validity of patents is not determined until a court challenge is made.
            • And, for better or worse, the validity of patents is not determined until a court challenge is made.

              For worse, definitely for worse.

              • That depends if you're a patent lawyer or not.

                • And, for better or worse, the validity of patents is not determined until a court challenge is made.
                  For worse, definitely for worse.

                  That depends if you're a patent lawyer or not.

                  Ah, gotcha:
                  If say you, "Patents aren't for worse", then us to them: "Off to the hearse!"

      • Re:wince (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:56AM (#43471905)

        I would like you to invent something, spend millions of dollars developing it, and then have some other little upstart steal the idea and get rich off your idea without giving you a single dime or line of recognition.

        I don't care about liking or hating a company, but I hate the double standard of Slashdot that only certain companies deserve respect and others don't.

        There have been, and I can guarantee there will be, Ask Slashdot questions where some little startup or individual wants to find out how to protect their IP or patent, even implement their own DRM. Of course everyone on Slashdot falls over themselves flooding advice on how the "little guy" can protect themselves through patents or copyright, even offering DRM schemes.

        But when some large corporation wants the same security with IP they have invested millions or even billions in suddenly the mood changes and everyone on Slashdot demands open, freely exchanged access to IP, free market bullshit, and open this open that garbage.

        You can't have it both ways.

        Yes, Microsoft has shitty business ethics and guess what, they have been called on each and every one of them and have paid dearly for it. Microsoft is no longer king in any market because of the fallout of their aggressive anti-competitive business ethics in the 80's and 90's. But Microsoft still has a right to protect their IP just like any independent startup, individual, or whatever the current beloved company you feel should succeed more than others.

        If Microsoft "invented" something before Android, before iPhone, before any current Smartphone, then they have a right to license and protect that IP, period.

        This is how patents SHOULD WORK. Microsoft is being agreeable to cross license their ideas with a company willing to pay licensing to produce products using those ideas. This is the original intent of a patent, to protect the inventor, but allow other companies to use and improve upon the idea..

        Instead companies like Apple and Google create a patent portfolio to use as ammunition to slaughter each other in the marketplace. Apple refuses to cross license, and when they do cross license because of consumer pressure or legal action, they demand obscene licensing or royalty fees in an effort to cripple their competition. This is how patents ARE ABUSED.

        So yes, no article about Microsoft is ever going to get respect on Slashdot, but I have little respect for double standards. Microsoft has a right to protect their IP and are doing so in a way that allows other companies to succeed off of their past work. Microsoft could be shitheads and refuse to license their IP and thus cripple the Android platform, but I think Microsoft realize that their past IP is about all they have left as they cannot create a winning product in spite of the efforts they made in inventing portions of that product.

        • Re:wince (Score:5, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @10:15AM (#43472105)

          These patents are bullshit and you know it. MS is running a protection racket, else they would share the patent numbers without a NDA. MS cannot cripple android by not licensing. All they would do is lose in court.

          If I go patent the idea of determining even or odd via mod, that should not get me anything.

          Honestly I would be fine with no patents on software.I don't want it both ways. I really want to see IP go away.

          Apple is a problem. So far I do not think google has sued anyone, but who knows how long that record will last.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > I would like you to invent something, spend millions of dollars developing it,

          NOTHING we are talking here about represents a large investment here. Although that's not really the point. It's yet another distraction that corporate shills like to throw out.

          Patents are meant to encourage companies to disclose interesting things that would not otherwise see the light of day. Patents are not about "rewarding investment". They are not about sweat equity. They are not a virtual land grab.

          There is no hypocrisy

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Please detail how M$ 'spent millions of dollars developing...' such ideas as 'tabbing through screens', etc. was developed by M$. Such idiotic drooling. M$ spent zero on 'developing' and stole most of these ideas from prior art, etc. They don't deserve a dime for most/any/all of it. They're just another excellent example of a criminal corporation. M$ rightly deserves its criminal reputation amongst the enlightened. :)

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          rubbish. Microsoft has invented nothing, they have no IP in any field for any product or process whatsoever. your argument has no foundation. microsoft deserves to have their ill-gotten assets seized for their theft, fraud, monopolizing, market manipulation.

        • by c (8461)

          I would like you to invent something, spend millions of dollars developing it, and then have some other little upstart steal the idea and get rich off your idea without giving you a single dime or line of recognition.

          Exactly. Someone busts their ass, comes up with a great idea, patents it, builds it, markets it, and then some dipshit comes along and adds some obvious, trivial modification like "on a computer", "on a phone", "on a bicycle", etc to your idea, patents this trivial change, and rakes in the doug

          • by idontgno (624372)

            Microsoft may have done some innovation and may have the patents to prove it, but given their history as an abuser of the patent system, legal system, innocent chairs, and the very word "innovation", nobody is going to just take their word for it.

            Well, apparently, the USPTO did. But they were under a lot of pressure at the time... [slashdot.org]

            • by c (8461)

              Microsoft may have done some innovation and may have the patents to prove it, but given their history as an abuser of the patent system, legal system, innocent chairs, and the very word "innovation", nobody is going to just take their word for it.

              Well, apparently, the USPTO did. But they were under a lot of pressure at the time...

              From the context, I would have thought it was obvious that I meant "nobody who knows anything thing at all about patents or innovation". But thank you anyways for pointing that out

          • I agree with you completely.

            In my mind a lot of the problems we are seeing with patents are that when they were granted they may have been innovative, however when tech geeks today look at them they seem obvious.

            People need to realize that the idea that was patented was likely validly granted at the time of filing, yet would not be granted today. However that does not make the protection of the patent any less valid.

            One solution may be to shorted the lifetime of SW patents.
        • by andydread (758754)
          Do you write code? So its ok for you to write code and for me to come along and to use a patent to take ownership of your fucking code? OK glad to know your position. Microsft are shitheads because they didn't write ANY of the code in Linux yet they are suing over code that is not theirs. And your pathetic defence of them suing people that make devices with Linux is woefully pathetic.
        • by F.Ultra (1673484)
          Then I would like you to invent something, spend millions of dollars developing it, and then have some big ass company like Microsoft get a court to issue an import ban on your products just because they happened to issue a patent that might cover the same thing.
        • If Microsoft "invented" something before Android, before iPhone, before any current Smartphone, then they have a right to license and protect that IP, period.

          For the most part, you are correct.

          But they should NOT have the ability to license them under whatever terms they wish, and namely, they have no right keep these agreements under NDA. This gives them entirely disproportionate ability to manipulate market participants. Further, it COMPLETELY contradicts the whole (intended) purpose of patent law, which is NOT to simply encourage innovation, but to do so in a way which ALLOWS PARTICIPANTS TO SHARE THEIR IDEAS (otherwise, we would be perfectly fine with trade

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      Before everyone gets in a twist. Remember MS was in the phone market for 9-10 years before iPhone/Android... They may have some patents here. They did extensive work in this field. Also remember patents expire eventually. I remember people walking around proudly with their ipaq's and chicklet wince phones and spouting how the dreamcast runs wince.

      Let me put it to you this way. When MS and the OEMs first came out with the WinCE phone people were excited (windows in my pocket). The actual result was awful. However MS was up to basically the 7 or 8th version of wince before iPhone came out (and apple blew them away).

      MS put a ton of work into this. Sure it is MS (or M$ as a lot of people like to say). But in this case I think they may deserve a bit of recompense. There will probably be a few of you out there that disagree with me and call me a troll. But I saw the amount of work they put into it. It was blindingly obvious that they worked really hard on it. It just rather bad at what it was supposed to do.

      yeah.. like fat32. the rest go into obvious category. I don't suppose you actually used those and other manufacturer devices between 2000-2010? by the same logic these are infringing for example ubuntu is infringing..

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't suppose you actually used those and other manufacturer devices between 2000-2010

        I did (even wrote some software for them). I also did not buy them. They sucked. The actual result was awful

        MS put a ton of work into this stuff. They will have patents in this field. They were there first in many cases. They are going to get their money. They still make product and are competitors. Their competitors are doing the same thing.

        http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3658005&cid=43471495 This s

    • It's called "the free market" and MS lost that one. However hard they worked actually doesn't mean shit.

      My observation is that most companies *love* the free market as long as they own it. Its when they don't own it that they start to act like assclowns.

      Welp, too bad you can't have everything.

    • Re:wince (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:21AM (#43471517)
      The problem occurs when their patents are pretty vague and broad, saying roughly that "I invented the wheel" when it is clearly a lie. And it becomes even worse in a ridiculous justice system as the USA, where you have to pay dearly for proving that the crook is lying.
      • There's a long list of companies, including Samsung, apparently. You really think they can't afford lawyers to stand up to Microsoft? Or HTC?

        While I don't particularly like the insane patent wars ... I'm not sure Microsoft isn't on fairly solid "patent" footing. I seriously doubt that a company as big as Samsung or Foxconn *actually* just say "oh, okay Microsoft, even though those patents clearly aren't valid and clearly have no application here, we'll pay you anyways."

        • As I wrote earlier, part of the problem is you have to pay to prove that the troll is lying with a bogus patent. My country have a practically useless justice system, but here if a patent troll try to sue you and he lost, he is obliged to pay all court costs he caused, including your court costs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      WinCE stalled at 5.x and was superceded by Windows Mobile (WinMo).

      WinMo ended at 6.5.3. It has not yet been functionally replaced, but it is no longer actively developed.

      Windows Phone 7 is NOT WinMo. Oddly enough, WinPhone 7.5 isn't WinPhone 7, and WinPhone 8 isn't WinPhone 7.5 either. They just keep breaking it. The mind boggles.

      I'm not sure what they're going to do about WinMo 6.5.3. It's used on a metric crap-ton of devices that businesses rely on, but the latest development environment that works with i

    • by fermion (181285)
      On one hand, as google is doing nothing to stop this it may be that MS has some legitimate patents and the $5-1$15 they are being paid for every phone may be for valid IP. As everyone must agree, MS almost invented the smart phone, although the feature set they envisioned were not anything many people wanted. It is like Apple actually inventing the term PDA, but not the PDA iteself, or being able to bring it to the forefront. Palm probably did the most in that case.

      OTOH, Apple has asked for royalty pay

    • by andydread (758754)
      Let me put it to you this way. You sit down at your computer and write your own fucking code from your on mind. You invented the code and you distribute the code. That code competes with a product the microsoft has on the market. Your code is completely different from any code Microsoft has written. You are telling me that it's OK for MS to come along and ask people to pay for using YOUR code even though they have nothing at all to do with that code. That is OK? Because this is exactly what the fuck i
  • by QilessQi (2044624) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:05AM (#43471409)

    If you agree with Microsoft's position, and believe that they're owed licensing fees, fine: just be aware that the cost of the licensing fees is being passed on to the consumer.

    If you don't agree with Microsoft's position, one thing you can do is to not purchase from any company participating in such agreements. Even better: purchase from a company that isn't, and send a letter to a company that is, so they understand that they're cutting off their own air supply.

    If you want to make something go away, make it unprofitable for the parties involved.

    • by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:24AM (#43471535) Homepage

      If you don't agree with Microsoft's position, one thing you can do is to not purchase from any company participating in such agreements. Even better: purchase from a company that isn't, and send a letter to a company that is, so they understand that they're cutting off their own air supply.

      Unfortunately, that's not really an option unless you just don't want a cell phone. The amount of licensing and cross-licensing in the cell phone industry makes it impossible for you to avoid a manufacturer that has a deal with a company you don't agree with their position.

      • ...there is at least one primary manufacturer who won't play ball with Microsoft. From the article:

        One manufacturer still holding out on Microsoft's Android licensing agreements is Motorola Mobility, which is in ongoing patent litigation with Microsoft — drawing
        Google, Motorola Mobility's owner and driving force behind Android, into the fray.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      just be aware that the cost of the licensing fees is being passed on to the consumer.

      This is a common belief, but it's only true if the market in question is a fully competitive market or a monopoly, which cell phones aren't (they're an oligopoly).

      If it's a fully competitive market, then the cost of the cell phone is as low as the manufacturer can possibly make it, so any increase in costs have to get passed on 100% to the consumer or the company will go under. In an oligopoly, though, each manufacturer has enough pricing power that the actual price is usually significantly higher than that

      • by QilessQi (2044624)

        Interesting point; I hadn't considered the nuances of price setting. :-)

        Seems to me, though, that if certain manufacturers are paying protection money, and others aren't, then the ones who aren't are more free to make their sale prices more competitive, and gain market share that way. You're right; they might not choose to do so. But if I were making a popular brand of cellphone and I knew that most of my competitors had additional overhead that I didn't, I'd be sore tempted to compete with them on price

  • by slb (72208) * on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:06AM (#43471421) Homepage

    I can see why they agreed to pay.

    Foxcon legal department assessed the cost of litigation to fight against bogus patents potentially higher than just pay those damn mafioso.

    Also the behavior of the US justice in Apple vs Samsung may have told them that the mafioso business of extortion through patents is somewhat tolerated in this country. Well not much different finally than doing business in China, but at least in China the extortion by the members of the army or the Central Committee is not hiding behind patent laws and China never pretended to be a free market.

    • When you enter the lawyers game, you have already lost.
    • by westlake (615356)

      Foxcon legal department assessed the cost of litigation to fight against bogus patents potentially higher than just pay those damn mafioso.

      Grow up.

      This is Foxconn, remember.

      [The] world's largest electronics contract manufacturer measured by revenues.

      Foxconn is primarily an original design manufacturer, and its clients include major American, European, and Japanese electronics and information technology companies. Notable products that the company manufactures include the iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.

      Foxconn has been involved in several controversies, most relating to how it manages employees in China where it is the largest private-sector employer.

      Foxconn's largest factory worldwide is in Longhua, Shenzhen, where hundreds of thousands of workers (varying counts include 230,000, 300,000, and 450,000 are employed at the Longhua Science & Technology Park, a walled campus sometimes referred to as '''Foxconn City'' or ''iPod City.''

      Revenues NT$ 3.452 trillion (2011)
      Employees 1.23 million (2012)

      Foxconn [wikipedia.org]

      Look at those numbers and tell me with a straight face that this is a company that can't defend itself.

      That its potential exposure wouldn't justify the expense of litigation --- if its attorneys, accountants and engineers saw any reasonable chance of winning on the merits.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > Grow up.

        You first.

        Foxconn has to engage in ADULT risk analysis here. Just to get started, they need to dedicate considerable resources should they decide to fight these patents head on. That money is gone regardless of the results and those results are very unpredictable.

        Juries can be fickle things and the potential negative consequences are most dire.

        Realizing that discretion may be the better part of valor is a big part of "adult" thinking.

        Foxconn actually has something to lose. Some idiot posting in

      • by thaylin (555395)
        Unless the cost to fight is 9 billion, the the cost to license is 8 billion.
  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:17AM (#43471495)

    As fashionable as it is to hate Microsoft and gripe about how badly Windows 8 sucks, the fact IS that Windows Mobile WAS groundbreaking back in the early 00s. It might have been utterly dysfunctional out of the box as an operating system for making voice calls, but as the operating system for a pocket-sized laptop with wireless data capabilities, it picked up the ball where Palm dropped it and ran even harder. Had Microsoft left well enough alone, and reacted to Android by creating proper APIs for implementing alternative 'phone' and 'launcher/homescreen' thirdparty apps (instead of delegating the task to HTC and calling it a day, then later throwing the baby out with the bathwater so it could port Danger's OS from Java to C# and rebrand it as "Windows Phone"), WinMo8, 9, or 10 would have been a strong alternative to Android today instead of the crippled, unloved, locked-down joke we have now that's turned into a cancer destroying desktop Windows as well.

    Lots of the things we take for granted in Android were "there" and worked fine in Windows Mobile 5/6, too... and more importantly (for patent purposes), did NOT work well AT ALL in PalmOS (if they worked at all), and barely worked in Android & IOS until 2010 and beyond. The biggest single problem high-end WinMo phones had was hardware -- US Carriers weren't in any hurry to push the envelope, and HTC was perfectly content to give them the minimum they asked for. And HTC made the ill-conceived decision to eliminate the 'windows' and 'ok' hardkeys in an effort to be more iPhone-like, without stopping to consider the fact that all of Microsoft's usability testing up to that point TOOK FOR GRANTED that the device would have two physical buttons that required at least a little bit of physical force to trigger (hence, the in-pocket touchscreen activations that caused endless misery if you got a text message or phone call that went straight to voicemail).

    Anyway, the point is that once in a great while, Microsoft *does* manage to do something right, even if it completely drops the ball in other related areas. WinMo had plenty of warts, but circa 2005/2006, it WAS pretty much the best thing you could get if you wanted wireless internet connectivity in a device that could (sort of) limp along and make voice calls in a pinch. And it sure as HELL beat walking around with a Palm Vc or Handspring Visor and $129 18" cable to plug it into your clamshell phone for data a few years earlier, or limping with a later PalmOS phone that was good for making voice calls and managing an address book, but fell flat on its face the moment you tried doing anything that involved realtime network communication with a responsive UI (the UI froze whenever the phone was sending or receiving data due to the way PalmOS Garnet's network stack was stapled onto it as an afterthought).

    Also, I believe a big chunk of Microsoft's patent portfolio came from its acquisition of Danger (the Sidekick's maker), which had plenty of its own innovations.

    • Keep it vague (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:35AM (#43471639)

      So to paraphrase your post. Basically they tweaked PalmOS.

      If their patents had any value, you wouldn't have to cover them with an NDA before listing them. If their patent list can't stand scrutiny then the patents themselves can't have value that stands up to scrutiny.

      Normally when Slashdot discusses patents there's a number, the magic patent number, the thing that's remarkably missing with Microsoft. The last one they made the mistake of being open with, was long filenames in a filetable, later invalidated because Amiga had it sooner.

      http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/ms-patent/

      • No. PalmOS in its pre-Cobalt form was fundamentally dead on arrival the moment realtime tcp/ip with a responsive UI became a big deal, just like MacOS9. A PalmOS phone was basically a Palm Pilot strapped onto a headless phone through a serial port. The phone subsystem was pretty much completely independent from the palm subsystem, sharing little more than an internal serial link and battery.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          No. PalmOS in its pre-Cobalt form was fundamentally dead on arrival the moment realtime tcp/ip with a responsive UI became a big deal, just like MacOS9. A PalmOS phone was basically a Palm Pilot strapped onto a headless phone through a serial port. The phone subsystem was pretty much completely independent from the palm subsystem, sharing little more than an internal serial link and battery.

          That's the logical construction of every phone out there, including dumbphones. And even highly integrated modem-and-A

    • As fashionable as it is to hate Microsoft and gripe about how badly Windows 8 sucks

      People aren't emotional over Microsoft they just recognise that Microsoft is not a good company, and Windows 8 is single handedly killing off Desktop industry (4 Aticles!? on here in one week). They are simply buying there products from companies that deliver.

    • by andydread (758754)
      sorry but writing code is not innovation. sorry to bust your bubble. So if you wrote some code and MS came along and said that code is covered under a patent that they have but that patent does not have any source code in it. just a discription of what code can do. You are telling me that its OK for MS to come along and charge people for code that you wrote that is completely different from anything that they wrote? WOW and you support this? Are you working for Microsoft? or Burson Marsteller?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:17AM (#43471497)

    Bogus deal, Foxconn only makes the hardware not the device. It's a contract manufacturer. This will cover only devices Hon Hai make for itself which presumably why the strange wording of the press release, talking about HonHai while implying it covers Foxconn's contract manufacturing.

    "While the contents of the agreement are confidential, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from Hon Hai under the agreement."

    Hon hai is not Foxconn, as I said Foxconn is a contract manufacturer, it competes with everyone else to manufacture devices. If they tried to add a fee, they'd simply price themselves out of the market, Hon Hai on the other hand does make a few devices, and this cover those.

    Hon Hai also are fools to pay the Danegeld because Microsoft has a lot of these fluff troll patents and has donated many to 'independent' third party trolls. Sooner or later the next troll will demand money, and the next and the next.

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:21AM (#43471519)
    So how much more money is Microsoft making off of Android than they are off of their own phones?
  • by lord_mike (567148) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:22AM (#43471529)

    Doesn't the usual life cycle of a company typically end with it becoming an patent troll as it nears the end of its life? When Kodak, Polaroid, Xerox and other companies were struggling to stay alive during massive changes in the market, they managed to extend the life of their company by a few years by by gong on a patent licensing crusade. The real tell for Microsoft will be if its patent licensing ever becomes the majority revenue maker in the company. That's generally the true sign that the end is near.

    It's certainly not a good sign for the future of Microsoft's mobile business if they are making more money off of a competitor's product than their own.

    • Re:Death Spiral? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:30AM (#43471589)

      It is not a good sign for Foxconn either. You never pay the danegeld. I am not suggesting they are near any sort of real danger for now, just that this only makes them less competitive and it only makes MS bolder in rent seeking from Foxconn.

      • Here's a thought. In some cases Microsoft is now double dipping.

        The device creators pay the M$ extortion fee, and now the manufacturer does as well. So, for every phone made M$ has potentially doubled there profits. Illegal? Probably not. Unethical? When has that ever gotten in the way of M$ profits?

      • What makes you think that Foxconn is actualy paying anything? The MS press release? Didn't you already learn to not trust those things?

    • Microsoft has been threatening Linux for years. I mean, they even helped fund SCO's ridiculous lawsuits.

      This isn't new behavior for them. It's a way to turn a free (in software costs) product cost money. Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't go this route when Android first came on the market. They probably didn't want to go after Google directly back then.

      The largest recent change has been the massive (and illegal if you look at the trial details) winnings in the Samsung case.

  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:37AM (#43471663)

    I'm voting with my wallet. I'm definitely not going to be buying an iPhone made by Foxxcon. Who's with me?

  • by andrewlivi (2273910) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @09:39AM (#43471709)

    "The patents at issue cover... surfing the web more quickly"

    Brilliant, if you're not the fastest just patent the idea of being fast and sue everyone.

  • by citizenr (871508) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @10:03AM (#43471977) Homepage

    This is brilliant. Company that mainly makes Apple products will license "Android patents" from Microsoft.
    Lets rephrase that. Microsoft hates Android, Apple hates Android, Apple tells its biggest client "go fetch". Foxconn does what its being told and promises to pay for something that doesnt exist and doesnt belong to a person it is giving money to. Whats more it will pay for every Android device it makes ... except it doesnt make any, it makes Apple devices.

    Its an equivalent of Nokia licensing imaginary Android patents from Microsoft ... oh wait, Nokia DID license those too haha. Whats next? Dell licensing those patents? HP? Maybe Lexmark or Adobe? or Procter & Gamble?

    • Interesting, but with some searching, Foxconn does actually make android/chrome devices:

      Google Glass project said to be made by Foxconn in California
      FoxConn Making An Amazon Phone For 2013
      Acer Android phones...made by FoxConn

      Granted, it seems to be a small percentage of what they do for Apple, it isn't exactly..."they don't make any"

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Foxconn isn't just an "Apple OEM", they make portable electronic devices for nearly everybody, including - yes - Android devices.

      • Foxconn isn't just an "Apple OEM", they make portable electronic devices for nearly everybody, including - yes - Android devices.

        Foxconn isn't an Apple OEM at all. They would be an Apple OEM if you could buy Foxconn labeled computers or phones or tablets that are identical to or very similar to Apple products. Foxconn is a manufacturer building products _for Apple_ (among many others), that's the complete opposite of an OEM.

    • by andydread (758754)
      Lexmark along with Kyocera, buffalo, a-data, and others already paid Microsoft for NON-ANDROID Linux related patents. If people think this is about Android think again. Its about Linux and Android is just one implementation. many non-android manufactures have been caught in this extortion scheme just because they use Linux. Microsoft despicable scheme is against open source and they have said as much that they were going to use patents to kill Linux this is their plan at play.
  • Things must be worse at Microsoft than I thought. Trying to regain relevancy via the courtroom sounds desperate. That's just what Atari was doing right before they faded into the sunset.

  • Given that no one wants Windows 8 infecting their electronic devices, Microsoft is left with becoming a bully patent troll.

  • It irritates me that Microsoft, having consistently failed to innovate a phone that anybody wanted to use, is now able to extract money out of other people's efforts. Its an innovation tax. Don't bother innovating, as failed innovators will help themselves to the profits of your innovation.

    • by jbonomi (1839286)
      I dunno SkunkPussy, everyone I know with a Nokia Windows Phone these days claims to absolutely love it. Nothing to convince me to buy one, but yeah. Not that this has anything to do with the patent bullshit going on.
  • Microsoft is well on its way to becoming SCO.

    • Microsoft is well on its way to becoming SCO.

      Imagine a giant patent troll, with unlimited strength, a massive inferiority complex, and a real short temper, is tear-assing around the East Texas court system in a brand-new SCO suit. That sound like fun?

  • You get to fight for the unprofitable scraps Samsung leaves behind and have to go out of your way to try and stand out. Your users are probably tight wads and Microsoft is bound to bully you into giving them money. I think I'd rather start from scratch and develop my own OS.

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