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Pantech next company to pay Microsoft for Android patents


Microsoft has been playing the Android patent game close to its chest, as it lines up per-unit licensing payments for various Android vendors. LG was the last company to sign a deal, which is rumoured to bring the Redmond company $5 per device sold.

Pantech, third-largest handset maker in South Korea, is the latest company to reportedly sign a deal with Microsoft. Pantech has been growing quickly, and is looking to increase its consumer space in North America if its presence at CES was any indication. It launched its first LTE phone at CES, the Pantech Burst, along with an 8-inch waterproof tablet called the Element.

After signing with Samsung, HTC and LG, Microsoft now has nearly 70% of the Android market paying it patent royalties. Google is none too pleased by this, citing Redmond as a bully in the much-maligned patent “wars” that has seen Apple suing various Android vendors and Microsoft asserting its patent portfolio dominance. Many companies, especially LG, Samsung and HTC which manufacture Windows Phones as well, have added incentive to settle with Microsoft.

Pantech is just the latest example of a company preemptively avoiding legal struggles by settling with Microsoft, who thinks the North American patent system is “normal and necessary.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency
Via: TheNextWeb

  • Dimitri K.

    Honestly i am saying this now. Microsoft could be nice enough & not charge them but they are so they can make money. Its a good thing on them but its bad on others on how they see this. Others could call it a money grab & others would call it a brilliant thing buy charging them $5 a phone or device they use a patent with. IT seems that this is a new thing.

    Anyways the tablet on the picture seems pretty cool. I would love to test it out one day.

    • Doorknob

      Yeah, they should be nicer to Pnatceh.

  • GPrime

    Microsoft has one of the most powerful legal teams in the world. (See: Anti-trust battles) No corporation wants to take them on, especially while they have to battle Apple on top of that.

    It’s very smart on their part to make massive sums of money on a platform that’s growing exponentially while their’s is still in early stages. Apple wants injunctions to keep their own sales up by being the only choice available…because they simply make more money that way.

    Pretty straight forward business practices if you think about it that way. I have a feeling that M$ will start making “license and make WP7 hardware too or you get injunctions” deals very soon after Win8 comes out and people become more familiar with the interface (already happening on XBox360).

    I wonder if they’ll start going after ZTE and Huawei soon?

    • Fendy

      I have downloaded the WMDC and have not been able to use it beaucse it is not recognizing my Blackjack II. It continues to tell me the that it does not recognize my bluetooth. Please help me to understand how to make it recognize my phone.

  • astudent

    Suing is a waste of time and often costs millions, this is another brilliant move by Microsoft to ensure revenue from their patent portfolio and trying to maintain a proper relationship with OEMs. I bet Google is just pulling their hair out right now haha

  • Tom

    Wow, surprised to see how proud everyone is of Microsoft for this innovative, productive, consumer oriented strategy!

    Switching out of sarcasm mode, is it really so wonderful that MS is relying on a mechanism (patents) that practically everyone thinks is broken and anti-competitive?

    • Rio

      If you got the opportunity to make millions of dollars because of a broken system, would you not do it? stop using ‘the patent system is broken’ excuse. Thats how it is, deal with it.

      Every other company has to use the same system, Microsoft is just one of the big players in the system.

      If these companies don’t want to pay the 5$ they should think of another way of doing things.

    • artstate

      This is common practice accross the tech industry. Cross-licensing is everywhere and it’s a rather friendly way to get money in comparison to a lawsuit.

      Also, while the US patent system might be crap, it does not mean that Microsoft is getting money for bullcrap patents. These could be very legitimate. Point is, patent SYSTEM is crap, but among the bad collection of patents there are still millions that protect innovative and unique ideas

  • Tom

    @Rio
    Yes, I would hope, but I wouldn’t take any pride in it.

    My surprise here is not so much that MS is doing this, but that MS fans seem proud of MS for doing it.

    MS should be congratulated on creating a great new mobile OS, not on their use of patents.

  • zico

    Does anyone know what specific patents Android infringes on? I thought android was Linux based with java components? where does Microsoft IP come in?

    • Mo

      no one knows for sure we just speculate. None of the companies that signed the deals are allowed to say what patent they are paying for.

    • GPrime

      From what I’ve read it sounds like they cover it under a blanket of IP, and just bully their way into settlements. It’s like the 90s M$ we all remember!

      Still looking forward to my GNex, even if $5 does go to M$. Guess it makes up for my pirated Win7, Office 2007, Project 2007, Visio 2007 (I thought having to use IE at the office occasionally was enough lol)

  • andy c

    1. This is the reason why MS wont kill off windows phone anytime soon. with Windows Phone MS can’t be acussed of sitting on a pile of patents like some of the other patent companies and can show in court they are activly using the patents in direct competition with Android.

    2. consumers are better off having android hardware makers pay for the patents gets devices on the market. compare with apple’s stratagy of suing and blocking sales of hardware.

  • FR

    GPrime is like the millions of hypocrites in the world, i.e. enjoying the great advantages that are provided by the software produced by microsoft (for free – actually by theft in this case) and then criticizing them in the same breath… what else can you expect from Google lovers (Android after all is a copy of Apple’s software and innovations).

  • KC

    the title really needs to be changed as no one is paying Microsoft for Android Patents. Android was late to the game and allegedly infringes upon Microsoft’s patents. They are paying for the licencing of Microsoft’s patents.

    This may change though as the biggest holdout in this whole pay Microsoft to use Android game is Motorola Mobility. You know, that little company that INVENTED the cellular phone and is soon to be a wholey owned subsidiary of Google. If Motorola wins against Microsoft, and Google keeps it’s word to use Moto’s patents to defend OEM’s from the Microsoft’s and Apple’s of the World, Microsoft could see that revenue stream dry up really fast.

    Plus, with only one major US carrier supporting Windows Phone in any meaningful way and really no Canadian carriers giving Microsoft any real love – just a token Nokia here and there – Microsoft had better hope that their ram it down consumers throats in Windows 8 strategy works. But with word of Windows 8 Tablets STARTING at $600, it may be well into 2013 before that strategy even gets off the ground. Which in in the Mobile industry is aproximately a decade. Can Nokia last long enough for Windows Phone to catch on? So many interesting things ahead.

    • MBGameReviewPro

      Doesn’t anyone remember how much a PC used to cost?

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