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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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  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:43AM (#36272578)

    Assuming this is correct, it's because HTC chose to sign the deal. That sounds to me as a spectator like a dumb business decision, but it was HTC's to make. I understand some companies paid $699 for a Linux license not long ago - does that mean we can't write a free desktop OS?

    Several points:

    With current patent law, free has nothing to do with weather or not you infringe on a software patent. Until the law is changed, a free OS could still be open to an infringement claim.

    It may not be a bad deal for HTC - it removes the threat of litigation which may make their phones more popular amongst carrier since they don't have to worry about being caught in a lawsuit, and if MS agreed to defend claims, based on MS' patents, against HTC arising from possible infringement it further protects HTC.

    No one knows if HTC cross licensed patents - it's possible HTC is also getting money from MS for HTC patens so the deal has a revenue impact but in reality no cost.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:44AM (#36272584)

    As long as we have software patents. Look at the h264/Theora/WebM fiasco. Also the font hinting patents that are expiring that caused Linux to have difficulty with fonts, and then there was GIFs until 2004.

    As future operating systems from Apple/Microsoft get ever more complex, Open sources operating systems will have to wait decades to get the good features. That's why Linux market share is so low due to so many patented goodies that are essential for modern computers.

  • This has been known (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eirenarch ( 1099517 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:53AM (#36272638)

    This has been known for some time now. The only new thing is the estimate how much they make. HTC signed the deal when Apple sued them. I guess it is not stupid decision to pay instead of get sued by both Apple and MS at the same time. They chose to fight Apple and make peace with MS.

    While I agree that software patents are bad for everyone that makes real products (including Apple and MS) I am disgusted by the fact that Google act as if patents somehow don't apply to them. It is one thing to fight for a change in the law and it is another thing to act as if the law does not apply to you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:54AM (#36272650)

    Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act link [slashdot.org]

    see also:

    barratry n . creating legal business [thefreedictionary.com] by stirring up disputes and quarrels, generally for the benefit of the lawyer who sees fees in the matter.

  • Protection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:54AM (#36272654)

    It's a protection racket, plain and simple. "Pay us or we'll break your legs and burn down your store"...well in this case it's "we will sue you into bankruptcy." Of course since lawyers are involved it's legal.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:55AM (#36272662) Homepage Journal

    So their choices were basically:

    1 - Stand up to their principles and spend millions in court fighting someone that could buy them outright. And risking injunctions that would prevent them from selling.

    2 - Agree to a pretty minor 'tax', that they can pass along to the consumer and be done with it. Most consumers wont even know its there and wont care even if they did.

    So, its a bad choice for them again why?

  • by voss ( 52565 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:55AM (#36272664)

    The Android version of Linux is so popular that Phone manufacturers prefer to pay microsoft to not have to use windows phone.

    Microsoft does have an interesting strategy btw: Microsoft does not seem to want to kill linux anymore because they can make
    easier money just with licensing fees from companies with deep pockets.

    It also says something that the phone makers would rather pay the $5-10 per phone than use windows phone 7.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @09:00AM (#36272684)

    Don't worry, a few years after Ballmer is gone Microsoft will be purchased by Cisco or Oracle. TFA is about typical actions often taken by companies that have nothing more to sell, or no longer have any creative spark.

    Years ago Bill Gates said he wished Microsoft could have a near-death experience like Apple did because of its rejuvenating qualities. Well, It's going to get one but, unlike Apple, it won't pull out of the dive.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @09:13AM (#36272742) Homepage Journal

    Until the law is changed, a free OS could still be open to an infringement claim.

    Even changes in the law wont stop *claims* and the hope the little guys just folds due to the cost of defending oneself.

    Just having some sort of reimbursement for winning if you are sued would go a long way to help out the little guys and stop a lot of the nonsense.

  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @11:13AM (#36273400)

    The fiduciary duty of the decision makers in this organization is not to bankrupt their company battling in court the deepest pockets they can find so posters on /. are satisfied for the moment. Their duty is to maximize shareholder wealth.

  • Re:Software Patents. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @03:26PM (#36275160) Journal
    The problem is that there is an IP bubble right now : some companies are valued several millions only because they own software patents. If you remove that value all of a sudden, you burst the bubble. No one will have the courage to do that.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.