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Android Microsoft Patents The Almighty Buck

HTC Is Paying Microsoft $5 For Every Android Phone 261

jcarr writes "According to Citi analyst Walter Pritchard, HTC is paying Microsoft $5 for each Android phone it makes. This may be related to a report from last year: MS and HTC sign patent deal. So now we can't even write a free OS?"
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HTC Is Paying Microsoft $5 For Every Android Phone

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  • Software Patents. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bbqsrc ( 1441981 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:28AM (#36272466) Homepage
    Software patents need to be abolished internationally, it's that simple.
  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:36AM (#36272512)

    Precisely. HTC probably decided that it was worth $5 per handset to indemnify themselves from litigation.

    Whether the fee is paid to MSFT or gobbled up by patent lawyers seems like a morally neutral thing. It's not like one group is significantly less sleazy or sucks less scum than the other.

  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:46AM (#36272610)

    How do you think Larry page & Sergey Brin would have fared against Altavista and the like had their PageRank system not been patent protected?

    Better because of the need to hire less lawyers and less payouts. [] Count how many times the word court appears.

  • by solidraven ( 1633185 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:48AM (#36272618)
    It's hard to write new software that doesn't violate some US patent considering how broad they often are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:52AM (#36272634)

    Trouble is HTC are paying Microsoft for inventions Microsoft didn't make. HTC interface is not the crappy Microsoft one, and the underlying OS predates Microsofts entry into the handset market.

    So what exactly is HTC paying Microsoft for?

    Protection money? That's what it comes down to, MS has convinced them that Microsoft can make everyone's life so difficult that HTC can gain an advantage simply by paying the fee.

    But the B&N challenge shows Microsoft has nothing in its patent portfolio but bluster and vague threats covered with NDAs. That's why MS isn't trying to go after Google directly, rather picking off smaller players.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:55AM (#36272660)

    Innovation and patents in software are totally separate. You can get patents for things which are obvious, nebulous or even already patented by others. No innovation required.

    Conversely, you can make a carbon copy of a lot of things without necessarily stepping on the patents involved.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @09:08AM (#36272710) Homepage

    There needs to be no "protection." As it stands, if small developers need protection, it would be protection from being sued and C&D'd by larger companies and IP holding firms for their revolutionary ideas.

    Fact is, every revolutionary idea is build on other ideas that came before it and chances are that someone has a frikken software patent on the revolutionary idea's "dependencies."

    Intellectual property is not property. It's thought to be a "we thought of it first" claim but in reality that's really not the case. It just doesn't happen that way.

    And let's take another path in the same argument. SCREW SMALL DEVELOPERS who do not do what they do for the love of doing it. If you are doing it to get rich, then you're doing it wrong and you are pollution in the community. Go get a law degree and make money that way -- it would probably suit you better anyway.

  • by w13rdo ( 1639415 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @09:16AM (#36272764) Homepage
    Microsoft, now relegated to the position of worlds most prestigious patent troll.
  • by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @09:17AM (#36272770)
    I think you're confusing patents and copyright. They'd still own copyright on the code. Other people would then have been able to write their own implementations which may have been better or worse. It's kind of how the free market is supposed to work.
  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @09:35AM (#36272868)

    Copyroght protects specific software implementation. Patent protects the way you make your idea work. There is no need for software patents, as they grant far more protection to software-based ideas then other ideas.

    There should always be a right to implement the same idea in a different way legally. Normal patents work this way. Software patents, for some insane reason (read - corruption in US government that allowed creation of software patents), do not.

  • by JAlexoi ( 1085785 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @10:07AM (#36273002) Homepage
    And they wonder why I hate MS... These assholes are abusing the faulty US patent system to effectively enable it worldwide. Why are they paying $5 for EVERY phone, even those that are not destined for US market.
    HTC is NOT an American company. The phones are not manufactured in US. I don't live in US. Why does the US patent law apply to me when I buy an HTC Android phone?!?!?!?!?!
  • by Shadowmist ( 57488 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @10:07AM (#36273006)
    Important thing to remember, HTC phones aren't Android phones. They're "Android plus extras, and some of those extras come from Microsoft.
  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @10:21AM (#36273058)

    just pay the mafia what they ask. its just a tax; just a cost of doing business. right?


  • by scrib ( 1277042 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @10:36AM (#36273122)

    Perhaps they wouldn't have protection for their own revolutionary ideas, but they wouldn't be prevented from sharing it with the world because any implementation required the use of someone else's revolutionary ideas. As it stands, the price of a revolutionary idea is getting sued out of existence...

    There's a phrase: "standing on the shoulders of giants." The price of building on the vast knowledge that came before you should be that someone else gets to build on yours.

  • by Rennt ( 582550 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @10:40AM (#36273150)
    So - if we accept that editors shouldn't actually "edit" anything - why don't we just replace them with a shell script?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @11:19AM (#36273442)

    You don't want to deal with patents, avoid infringing on them and innovate.

    How would one go about that, exactly? I mean, it is easy to write a piece of innovate code. But, to make it useful, you need to tie it together with stuff that isn't so innovative. For example, you might want to have a menu. Or, you might want to have say copy and paste. There are innumerable things that, if you don't provide them in your code, will make the user look at your innovation and just say, "what a pile of crap: it doesn't do any of the stuff I need it to do.". That's where people are hitting software patent issues: on stuff that has become part of what is a base layer of expectations on "how stuff works".

  • by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#36274000) Journal

    Start off by NOT ever saying "I want to do this like how {some other software} does it", or "I want to it look and feel just like how {some other software} does". That will eliminate 99% of all patent infringement cases. Problem is quite a few want their software to do most things EXACTLY like how another package does. Quite honestly, that IS stealing. You think that user interfaces just build themselves, and you want to steal all the hard work others have done into designing dozens or hundreds of iterations and then doing studies and tests on usability, but you don't want to do all that yourself. No, people just want to steal the end result, without doing the work themselves, nor paying RAND fees to the company that actually did. Sorry, but many software patents ARE needed.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @12:39PM (#36274008)

    As long as we have software patents. Look at the h264/Theora/WebM fiasco.

    The H.264 licensors include global industrial giants like Mitsubishi. Companies that have been researching video technologies since the 1920s. Companies which manufacture damn near every piece of video hardware sold on the planet.

    Google can deliver a slice of the web and the mobile market --- a generous slice, to be sure, but still only a slice. It has no significant presence elsewhere in video. It can't stop or slow development of a codec like HEVC/H.265 which is going to look very good to Netflix and has the potential for strong sales elsewhere.

    The real reason why open source often lags isn't patents or licensing.

    It is experience, organization, money. manpower. resources, markets and marketing,

  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @05:59PM (#36275996)

    Don't blame MS for playing the game, blame the government for making the rules so retarded.

    In case you haven't noticed, for the past few decades at least, "the game" has been for giant corporations to purchase whatever retarded rules they want directly from whichever politicians are in power. According to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, such purchases are a fundamental Constitutional right.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham