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.”