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Microsoft says Android violates its patents as well, HTC pays up

Apple has sued HTC for patent infringement with Android almost certainly being the target, now it turns out Microsoft believes Android also infringes on their patents and HTC has just paid up.

That means the free-as-in-Google smartphone OS isn't free anymore -- it's just Microsoft who's getting the money for it, and from the maker of the Nexus One, Desire, Legend, and Droid Incredible no less. That hurts Android.

How the deal affects HTC's position in the Apple patent infringement case, however, is unclear. If HTC can point to a licensed Microsoft patent for technology Apple claims HTC is infringing upon then that no doubt helps HTC and hurts Apple and the iPhone.

With Windows Phone 7 series fast approaching, it looks like Microsoft took the opportunity to get more than a little Sun Tzu on their smartphone rivals last night.

Now lets see how Google -- and Apple -- respond.

[CNET via Android Central]

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Sorry, but HTC paying royalties to Microsoft does nothing to hurt Android. There were companies that paid royalties to SCO for Linux and no harm came from that. I don't see how this damages Android in any way. The only loser here is HTC.
    Apple won't license to them so if they lose that fight they take a serious blow. Paying Microsoft for licenses to patents that may or may not save their bacon is a hail Mary, but it is much less costly than the alternative.
    And Android is just fine.
    Microsoft will sue Google for patent infringement. No idea where that goes. Palm is sitting on a huge pile of patents and Google is sitting on a huge pile of cash. You do the math.
  • Ha... Android is just fine? Tell that to the dozen or more Android fanboys that are nothing but Apple and Microsoft haters. This leaves them with a raw taste in their mouths and an eagerness to jump ship. Regardless of how it shakes out for Apple, this will leave most guys who went to Android just to avoid putting $ in Apple or Microsoft's pockets looking for a new hero. Bummer, Android... bummer.
  • ..and by dozens I mean just the ones I know. I'd bet a huge percentage of Android fans overall fit that bucket.
  • Regardless of what fanboys think, it has no affect on Android. Will it hurt HTC sales of Android devices? It might, but HTC's loss is Moto's gain. Android users will not abandon Android because of HTC.
  • 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?
    If it were Android as a whole they would have gone after Google, Motorola (Droid) and the rest. This does not impact the Android OS at all.
  • If the patent infringement is directly related to the Android operating system then it most certainly does affect Android. One of the most attractive features of Android is that it's open source, phone manufacturers don't have to pay money for licenses. That was a very appealing advantage for HTC as opposed to licensing windows mobile. If both Apple and Microsoft start suing phone manufacturers for patent infringement, Android just lost its most appealing feature to those that make phones. Is it cheaper to license Windows or pay royalties to Apple and Microsoft and pay for the whole legal process involved with sorting out the mess?
  • I love this graphic. Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahn!!!!
  • ...
    why didn't they just call it "Windows 7: Phone Series", that way "Windows 7: Desktop Series" and "Windows 7: Server Series" could be used...
  • If Android violates MS patents then why did Microsoft go after HTC and not Google.
    The only reason I see them paying up and not going to court like they are doing with Apple is HTC wants to keep making/selling WinMo phones. So provoking MS further would cost them more than this outcome.
  • Totally wrong Take, as usual, Rene.
    There is no reason to believe Android violates Microsoft patents. Neither company has stated that.
    Android phones use MicroSD cards, those cards use Fat32. Fat32 patents are off-again-on-again, but licensing is cheap.
    In addition Microsoft actually has more patents on touch screen technology (including multi-touch) than Apple does.
    This has nothing to do with Android. It might have something to do with HTC hardware. But it is more likely just an end-run around Apple.
  • @STING .. MSFT can't sue Google.. because Android is OS ... they can only sue the company that puts the product out...
    The manufacturers have the option to change the OS before putting it out.. just like they do with Sense...
    The license agreement they have with HTC could be small potatoes.. but it's still gives MSFT good PR ... cause I'm sure if it was a lot of money .. then HTC will probably want to fight it..
  • For games iPhone is better for percarmonfe games because objective C is closer to the metal than Android's Java based language. But a lot of games are online, so its a toss up. Many people prefer the tighter iPhone integration and user experience. Both are very good.