An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Software maker Microsoft Corp is selling about 1,500 of its patents to Chinese device maker Xiaomi, a rare departure for the U.S. company and part of what the two companies say is the start of a long-term partnership. The deal, announced on Wednesday, also includes a patent cross-licensing arrangement and a commitment by Xiaomi to install copies of Microsoft software, including Office and Skype, on its phones and tablets. Wang said the acquisition of Microsoft patents, which included voice communications, multimedia and cloud computing, on top of some 3,700 patents the Chinese company filed last year, were "an important step forwards to support our expansion internationally." Florian Mueller, a patents expert who consulted for Microsoft in the past, said it was rare for Microsoft to actually sell its patents, adding "it's possible Microsoft found it easier to impose its Android patent tax on Xiaomi as part of a broader deal that also involved a transfer of patents."
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