Microsoft’s Android patents could be worth $444 million a year


steve ballmer microsoft ceo

Microsoft has been collecting licensing agreements from Android manufacturers like Samsung and HTC for months now. According to ZDNet, this adds up to some serious dinero, to the tune of $444 million every year. With Android continuing to dominate in markets around the world, that number can only grow.

In today’s litigious IP environment, it’s often wiser for a company to pony up to patent holders rather than fight an extended court battle, even if they’re not entirely sure they’re in the wrong. Microsoft has banked on that, and a Goldman Sachs analyst estimated that every Android phone sold with a licensed manufacturer nets the technology giant between $3 and $5.

Of course, not everyone’s thrilled with the arrangement. Google objected to Microsoft “extorting” Android original equipment manufacturers, saying that they hindered the progress of innovation. Microsoft executive succinctly replied on Twitter with a single word: “Waaah!

I’m sure that the manufacturers themselves aren’t thrilled with the arrangements, and neither are consumers or carriers, who will share the burden of a more expensive product. And to be perfectly honest, Microsoft would probably trade the relatively small amount of kickback money they’re getting for a phone platform that wasn’t stuck in the “other” section of the market share pie charts. To sum up, nobody’s very happy with the state of licensing fees — Microsoft’s just unhappy all the way to the bank.

[via ZDnet]

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