Microsoft HTC agreement

Microsoft issued a news release late late night, announcing it signed a patent agreement with HTC over its entire line of smartphones running the Android operating system.

Specific terms of the deal, including how many patents or what they cover, were not immediately released. Microsoft's statement did say the agreement "provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC 's mobile phones running the Android mobile platform."

“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said in the official statement. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”

The announcement comes as HTC is facing a lawsuit from Apple Inc., which alleges that HTC infringes on a number of its patents with many of its Android phones, and a few Windows Mobile devices, too. It is unknown for which patents HTC is paying royalties to Microsoft, and whether they overlap any of Apple's claims.

CNET's Ina Fried reports that the disputed patents range from the user interface to the operating system itself, and that this is the first time Microsoft has publicly said that HTC was violating patents. Microsoft for years has alleged that Linux infringes on a number of its patents and has sought licensing deals with manufacturers who use the open-source OS, which also is the framework for Android. This, however, is Microsoft's first licensing deal with the mobile OS.

Full text of Microsoft's press release after the break. [Ed. note: Cross-posted at WMExperts.com]

For Release 11:30 p.m. PDT

April 27, 2010

Microsoft Announces Patent Agreement With HTC

Agreement will cover HTC’s Android phones.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 27, 2010 Microsoft Corp. and HTC Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.

The agreement expands HTC’s long-standing business relationship with Microsoft.

“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”

Microsoft’s Commitment to Licensing Intellectual Property

The licensing agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 600 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 
There are 15 comments

z0phi3l says:

Considering they only went after HTC, this is most likely related to Sense UI more than Android as a whole

Sense does have full Exchange syncing right?

d3xn2o says:

Seems like us Android head are like the Hackers of the 90's

"stealing" stuff for our own purposes...

Ohh well personally With out android who would of pushed to make the developers and Companies step their game up

ekie84 says:

poor HTC

seucode says:

Ahh, the wonderful world of patents and 'intellectual property'. Nothing like using your portfolio to force other companies to pay you royalties.

I'm so proud to know that pretty much any tech hardware I buy gives money to 'the worldwide leader in software', Microsoft, in some way or form. Even by supporting linux.

bsinc1962 says:

Like Steve Jobs always says "If you can't beat'em, sue'em"

dboss007 says:

Thanks USPTO for creating this patent mess the tech industry is currently finding itself in.

kbaker says:

At least they responded better than Apple did, and it (to me anyway) just shows how great/threatening HTC is as a company.

tallbruva says:

Remember this comment from Steve Ballmer:

"I don't really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting, and said, 'hey, we've just launched a new product that has no revenue model!'...I'm not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that's kind of what Google's telling their investors about Android," - http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10083590-94.html

Guess Steve-O understands now :-)

BoNg420 says:

I am placing a patent on the colors red, yellow, and blue. Anyone using these colors or variations or mixtures of these colors will have to pay me $$$$$$$$$$$$.

PAY UP BITCHES!

Seriously thats about as vivid as some of these patents are.. I liked the one apple used against HTC, something on the lines of sliding your finger motion across the screen to unlock a phone..

Sokkermick says:

I see this as a way to help the case against Apple. HTC likely will be making Windows Phone 7 devices and it would certainly hurt Microsoft if HTC were unable to get their phones into the States.

The difference between what Microsoft did and how Apple went about their IP business is that Microsoft does not want companies using their tech without asking, Whereas Apple will just sue to get them off the market.

Awake says:

This is the same thing Apple is "trying" to sue HTC for. It also shows Apple are full-it, trying to sue for other peoples patents. The Androids coming to the market must be serious home run hitters! ;)

John-Paul says:

So is this MS essentially backing HTC in the lawsuit by "buffing" there IP list, is this MS/HTC laughing at Apple saying all they had to do was ask and they would be happy to come to an arrangement, or is this something else?

Wesley#AC says:

This is rubbish Linux is open-source and Microsoft should prove to a court that it is infringing on its patents if it wants to do something like this. Then if they are proven right, they can go Google, not to manufacturers and ask for a licence fee.

B@stards!

JohnnyACE562 says:

Patent Nuclear War. It's coming.

{{-_-}}

ALUOp says:

I don't think anything is surprising here.
The details of the deal are not disclosed. Who knows how much is HTC paying. Maybe it's just $0.01? Or maybe it's -1,000,000?

Everybody knows HTC is so important to M$ for their WM.
Without HTC's customization, capacitive screen driver, etc, WM is like Windows 98 in 2010 and its market share could have dropped down to really close to 0 by now.
Last year, when asked why HTC didn't release HTC HD2 with Android, HTC CEO said "I have to take care of WM", just like a mother taking care of incapable son.
Because of all these, nobody in their right mind would think M$ would really go after their important partner.

This is just a ugly tactic that M$ is using just to slow down Android. They made a high-profile announcement about HTC paying royalties so that they could scare other manufacturers off, which benefits both M$ and HTC. M$ gets to slow down the fast-growing Android, and HTC gets less competition from other Android manufacturers.