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Microsoft Sells 1,500 Patents To Xiaomi To Build 'Long-Term Partnership' (reuters.com) 66

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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Microsoft Sells 1,500 Patents To Xiaomi To Build 'Long-Term Partnership'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Has a phone deal with Micro$oft ever worked out for anyone? Other than the competitors, of course.

    • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @11:41PM (#52223103)

      It has worked out for Nokia. They happily sold their business to microsoft, which is now dead in the water, while they themselves build another phone business.

      • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        You need to urgently get out from below the rock you're living in. Nokia was gutted from top position to utter collapse, and the remains of the phone business it still had were sold to Foxconn.

        Nokia is down to being just a network company now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Keruo ( 771880 )
          Nokia hasn't collapsed anywhere. They were stuck with nearly zero-profit obsolete business-line(mobile consumer devices) which was management heavy and managed to sell it before starting to lose too much money on it.
          Remaining Nokia reported 1,2B € earnings last year with decent operating margin.

          You might disagree how Flop handled the sell-out to MS but the overall result is what Nokia has been the last ~150 years, a company that can reinvent itself when necessary.
          • Flop, lol. I'd be very worried if I were a Telstra shareholder.

          • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @04:05AM (#52223777)

            Nokia was formed from three divisions. Approximately 2/3 of the company was the mobile phone division, about a quarter was networks and remains was the navigation.

            Mobile phones collapsed and is now dead, with remains sold off to foxconn after the rights to the brand name came back from microsoft. Navigation business was there to help the mobile phone, and it was sold off asap. The only part that remains of nokia is the network business, which was a completely separate division within the old company with little to no synergies with the rest of the business.

            Which is why it survived.

    • Microsoft get's a lot of money from other people's phones.

      I think this deal is about finding a way to squeeze every other chinese vendor even harder. Microsoft can't sue from the outside because the Chinese gov't knows how to tilt the tables. But if a chinese company sues another one, that's a whole different ball game. MS gives Xiaomi some exclusives and now they all of a sudden want to keep them exclusive. Xiaomi is an ambitious hungry company that is competing at the low end the market. Not just for

  • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @11:38PM (#52223095)

    part of what the two companies say is the start of a long-term partnership.

    Translation: This is the start of the eventual destruction and liquidation of Xiaomi

    I can only hope someone has warned the executives at Xiaomi about whom they are dealing with, but apparently they either don't know or don't care

    .

    • by glitch! ( 57276 )
      (Why the hell don't quote tags work here?! I first tried HTML brackets, then LG and GG signs, but they still would not render the above quote. Crap. Please refer to the above post.)

      This reminds me of AOL two decades ago. They had a big image and were writing contracts left and right with venture capital startups. Their policy was, "F--- them out of their money." A startup that got 10 million would give most of that to AOL for some worthless "partnership". Then they would run out of money and AOL would say "
    • Don't you mean "eventual destruction and liquidation of Microsoft", since it is Microsoft who SOLD the patents?
    • I think it's more likely that Mi will start producing the Surface Phone.

      Having severed ties with Finland and the Lumia, MS need a manufacturer while Xiaomi are seeking a mainstream market entry into North America, hoping to get a leg up on Chinese rivals Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei.

    • >I can only hope someone has warned the executives at Xiaomi about whom they are dealing with, but apparently they either don't know or don't care

      Oh they do, and historically, they are not going to get hurt - in fact they are likely to make quite a nice bundle of cash out of the process. It's everybody ELSE in the company who will end up jobless. Microsoft's destruction of 'partner' companies are usually done in a way that benefits the executives of those companies - that's exactly why they keep going al

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for explaining to us who microsoft is, they are new here.

  • Mueller? (Score:5, Informative)

    by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @12:28AM (#52223257) Journal
    How the hell does this guy still have credibility after his 100% wrong calls, for years, on SCO's claim on Linux?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because he is an expert, which means if he is wrong it was just a rare mistake, unlike you if you are right it means you are very lucky, because you are not an expert. This is literally how it works.

    • How the hell does this guy still have credibility after his 100% wrong calls, for years, on SCO's claim on Linux?

      As soon as I saw the name, "Florian Mueller," I stopped reading. Given his track record, I can only assume that the entire article is worthless prattle; infected by Muelleritis (nonsensical, factually incorrect, crap sprouting from the shit mound of wishful thinking).

  • "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."

    Perhaps "easier" in the sense that the PRC government hinted that Microsoft could find itself highly inconvenienced in China, if it acted otherwise? Or perhaps they didn't hint anything, and Microsoft is choosing to be pro-actively obsequious.

  • I can't see Microsoft as either Humphrey Bogart or Claude Rains. Peter Lorre, maybe if I squint hard enough... but if I was going to pick someone from that era to be Microsoft, it'd probably be Oliver Hardy.

  • by default luser ( 529332 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @01:40AM (#52223409) Journal

    There is no such thing as the Google Play Store in China (yet). So Xiaomi has filled the void with their own Mi Store.

    So now's a perfect time for Microsoft to catch a ride on the hottest smartphone train outside iOS. Google Play will be joining the fight later this year, so this is a move by Xiaomi to strengthen their position before that.

  • I find this title and summary are best read while listening to the theme of Jaws or The Omen.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    With MS giving up on the phone wars, why not sell patents related to things you already lost in exchange for getting your next generation of software out there? The next market is when the device goes away, and MS needs to be there not on it's own third rate phones.

  • ...Backdoor Lover. Or at least it should be with this new partnership.

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @03:20AM (#52223643)

    Microsoft still evil, still stuck in quasi legal twilight zone. Xiaomi was introducing Linux laptops, hence this new trust making activity. Same old Microsoft, same old tricks.

  • [Microsoft next move ](http://readnews247.com/detail/20914)
  • I'm a little scared. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @05:02AM (#52223911) Homepage Journal

    I got a Xiaomi phone recently. At first I was a little wary, but it grew on me immensely.

    First - it comes pre-rooted. The built-in "Security" app can be used to simply grant root to any app that requires it. The bootloader is fully unlocked too, if you choose to replace the whole OS.

    Then - Extras. Dual Sim, SD slot, FM radio, and all the typical essential goodies, plus some extras like gyroscope. A HUGE battery. IR sensor/LED for using as remote. A normal, generic earphones jack. Decent camera and a strong LED which you can use as a flashlight without installing 3rd party apps or risking damage.

    And then a similar Samsung of the same release date and the same price has half the features. Xiaomi has roughly 2x the screen resolution (although not AMOLED), 8 cores instead of 4, 2GB RAM instead of 1.5, twice as much flash.

    With entering the western markets en masse, I imagine Root and unlocked bootloader will get the axe first. Then the price will get jacked up to match phones of similar amount of features.

    • Then - Extras. Dual Sim, SD slot, FM radio, and all the typical essential goodies, plus some extras like gyroscope. A HUGE battery. IR sensor/LED for using as remote. A normal, generic earphones jack. Decent camera and a strong LED which you can use as a flashlight without installing 3rd party apps or risking damage.

      So the LED aside, all stuff you get from a decent Motorola phone these days...

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Same for the LED. In fact, recent Android bakes in the 'use it as a flashlight nowadays', so I'm confused as to why this would be seen as a differentiator from any phone.

        One thing I do like about my motorola is I can take it and shake it twice and the flashlight toggles, without having to open anything or use the screen to do it. That, the 'force wave to see current time' and the twist to camera gestures are handy features I don't see in other devices.

      • My phone is Xiaomi Redmi Note 2. It cost me 650PLN.
        The only Motorola phone of corresponding specs (2GB RAM, octa-core, dual sim, SD slot) is Motorola Moto G4 Plus. 1100PLN.

        So - yes, you can get all that stuff from a decent Motorola phone, for about twice the price.

    • Which model specifically?
      Are there projects to get third party ROMs available for it?
      Did you try loading third party ROMs on it?
      Something like OmniROM for example?

      • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2. I was comparing it to Samsung Galaxy Note J5, which was released at about the same time, is a really popular dual-sim phone nowadays, and costs about the same.

        I installed the official Europeized MIUI from https://miuipolska.pl/download... [miuipolska.pl] following the procedure on the site (place the file in /sdcard, rename it to update.zip, reboot holding volume down, pick "English", "Install update.zip to System One")

        The original's English support was... uh, "scarce". Like, the message is in English,

  • by minus9 ( 106327 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @02:20PM (#52227019) Homepage
    "Florian Mueller said...."

    Who dug this idiot up again? Next story.

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