Thanks To Microsoft, Android Just Became More Expensive For HTC and Others

[Update]: Microsoft has not stated that HTC has or hasn’t infringed on their patents in regards to why licensing Microsoft’s patents was a necessity. Our reporting was based on CNET and their sources inside the company.

One of the main things that attracted handset manufacturers to Android was the fact that it was cheap to put on a phone. For HTC – and maybe other handset manufacturers soon – the price-tag to sell their products with Android on it just became a lot more expensive (and by a lot more expensive, I mean relatively expensive considering Android is close to free for handsets adorning the “with Google” branding).

google-nexus_one

Microsoft got bored recently and decided to do some digging in their file cabinets: what they came up with was a collection of patents that HTC – and Google, and everyone else that uses Android on their devices – was infringing on. No specifics about the patents or how much it cost HTC to license them were discussed, but apparently there are infringements in both HTC’s Sense UI and even within the core of Android itself.

“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.”

HTC decided not to fight the claim, though, and instead opted to clean things up with Microsoft right away. They’ve undoubtedly had a strong business relationship thanks to Windows Mobile, so it’s no surprise that HTC didn’t put up a fight. HTC also has their hands full with their ongoing patent war with Apple, as it is. CNET suggests that this painless submission to paying Microsoft for a patent license might actually be able to help them put Apple’s claims to rest.

patents_art_257_20080430080855It’s hard to say for sure, though, as everything regarding the patents and the licensing terms have been kept tight-lipped up to this point. As far as other manufacturers goes? They’ll need to be gearing up for a phone call from Microsoft, too, as they’ve already expressed interest in clamping down on other Android-based handsets.

I’m not sure if this will slow the Android ecosystem down – and subsequently if Microsoft did this to give them some leverage in forcing their way back into the OS game with Windows Phone 7 Series – but if their claims of Android as a whole infringing on their patents turn out to be true, then they just got a little bit stronger in this race to the top. What do you guys think this will do to Android, the Open Handset Alliance, and its supporters? Does this make any difference at all or will business just go on as usual? Let us know your thoughts below.

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  • G8D

    Patents! Everywhere!

  • Darkseider

    Google seriously needs to take MS head on and finish this bullshit once and for all. MS claims infringement in Android Core which is the same shit they pulled with Linux infringement claims. Yet everytime they never produce anything to substantiate these claims. Time for MS to put up or shut up and Google should be the ones to do it. I am tired of all this patent trolling from MS and Apple.

  • http://schwiz.net schwiz

    I agree with Darkseider this is complete bullshit patent laws in the US are so outdated.

  • Phil

    Thats not exactly true…that is has become much more expensive. In fact it may not be any more expensive…we simply don’t know but many of us believe it isn’t.
    -
    What you are seeing here is a part of Microsoft’s anti-Linux campaign that has been going on actively for a couple years now and in talks for many years. They’ve been claiming that Linux infringes on some of their patents though they have never disclosed those patents. They then came up with the ingenious idea of going to relatively smaller companies (read without the tech guns to fire back) claiming that they need to sign a licensing agreement behind an NDA to continue to use Linux. Its quite possible that in these agreements these companies pay very little or nothing to MS. But what it does is make even smaller companies scared to use Linux over Windows and boosts their sales. Thats why the contracts are always along with an NDA because the whole gig would be up if that got out or the actual patents they are claiming got out.
    -
    In this case they went after HTC for a second reason. It makes them look good in the face of Apple for reaching an agreement instead of trying to sue. I highly doubt this will discourage any of the big boys from using Android though it might make some smaller players think twice which is what MS seeks to do. However I’ve gotta wonder if this time they have not gotten to close to one of the Linux vendors (Google) with the ammo to tell MS to either put up or shut up on the patent claims. MS cannot let those patents ever go public because the Linux community will write those pieces out of the software and the whole gig will be up.
    -
    But again I do not believe this will slow down Android….Google probably won’t let it.

  • MJ

    I would love to hear what patents of Microsoft’s were infringed upon. This is ridiculous, if you ask me. Pretty soon, we’ll have lawsuits on the infringement of the concept of an operating system. I wonder who owns that one? o_O

  • McG

    I don’t think this will slow down Android by any means. I think we’ve all come to expect this from Microsoft. It’s a fact that they have fallen to the back of the pack in the mobile OS race and they are simply flexing their Microsoft muscle to make sure they stay within arms length of the others. With Android and all it offers and the fact that they are starting to integrate into other devices beyond mobile phones there success is inevitable. Nice try Mr. Gates.

  • Rick

    Why is non of these companies are challenging M$ to the so called patents that Linux steps on.

    I really hope Google steps up and challenge M$ of the so called patents. I know M$ backed down when FOSS asked them to tell them which 139 patents Linux steps on, M$ became quite.

  • http://n/a frankie

    Microsoft could just be looking for some $$$ compensation…I don’t think they will mess with android to much cuz all these companies in one way or another help each other….the only jerks on this block is a bit of a fruit him self hint hint……yes jobs I’m starring at u with ur gay walmart blue jeans and ur 1997 old navy turtle top…dude u have the money hire a stylist….or better yet…there’s an app for that!

  • Phil

    By the way IBM has applied for the patent on “patent trolling” to try and stop some of this shit.

  • elijahblake

    man i’m so sick of fkin patent wars.. just because Android is moving up and taking away everyone’s customers (because it’s innovating) everyone else just wants to get a piece of their pie…

    I seriously think something needs to be redone with the way patents on technology are written. The patents seem to do more harm than good when you have companies that are trying to be innovative and give consumers what they want..

  • MJ

    “By the way IBM has applied for the patent on “patent trolling” to try and stop some of this shit.”

    LMAO

  • Claudio

    i hate Microsoft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • MSGNYC

    1) If it is Android that is infringing upon MS IPs, HTC wouldn’t be the ones that would have to pay licensing fees. Google would. Android is their OS.

    2) Since it is HTC that is paying for licensing, maybe it has something to do with their Sense UI itself?

    3) THEN AGAIN, maybe it has nothing to do with Android or Sense at all and people are just jumping to conclusions per usual. Maybe HTC wishes to incorporate some of the tech in which MS hold patents to into their Sense UI and/or future phones and need to license them from MS?

    Since noone knows or is saying ANYTHING about which patents are being licensed, maybe people (blogers and online reporter alike) should stop ASSUMING all of the time. We all know what happens when you assume and I refuse to let someone else make an A** out of me….

  • Darkseider

    Plain and simple. The only worthwhile smartphones and OS’s that actually innovate are those that are made to run Android, WebOS and Symbian/MeeGo. Ever notice that all of these are also open source? Makes ya wonder….

  • Phil

    @MSGNYC – If I’m not mistaken Google can only be held liable if there is an indemnity clause in the Android licensing. I could have that all wrong but I believe thats the case.
    -
    Also I believe HTC probably saw this as advantageous with their Apple law suit. They show that they have no problem working it out…and since these deals sometimes involve cross licensing patents it may give them some ammo against Apple.
    -
    And again don’t confuse this with Apple’s lawsuit. This deal is most likely squarely aimed at the Linux kernel at the core of Android and not really Android itself like Apple. You won’t see MS go after others with too much technology like maybe Samsung or Moto.

  • Quentyn Kennemer

    @MSGNYC it’s already been stated that there are infringements and that Microsoft is going after other manufacturers.

  • Ross

    Here we go again. Reporting on an effect that hasn’t happened yet, and may or may not ever happen. What do we know at this point? Microsoft filed a copyright suit? Anything more? Why the need to provide speculation and commentary? What not just tell us what is known? Why start a panic with these overreaching speculations that are presented as facts?

  • Ban

    Im glad to be using a modded 360 and a “original” version of windows 7.

  • Fourthletter

    To put it simply this is HTC’s get-out-jail-free card for their lawsuit with Apple.
    They go to court and show that everything Apple is suing them for is now licensed from Microsoft.
    Apple and Microsoft have tons of overlapping patents, but they play nice to keep Office on the Mac.

  • MSGNYC

    Quentyn,
    I’ve read about this on multiple site so far. I have yet seen any mention of any “infringments” Only that MS has signed patent agreements with HTC covering a broad spectrum of MSs IPs.
    None of which stating any of the IPs. Could you please link me to one of the articles mentioning these infringements? I would really like to see it.

  • MSGNYC

    BTW, I meam article where MSs mentioning the infringments and not the blogger/online reporter assuming that they are infringing without MS even saying so.

  • Phil

    @MSGNYC – You won’t find any. They are protected by an NDA. This is the standard procedure MS has been using for the past couple of years against Linux. Its just now found its way to the world of Android. This will disappear and you’ll hear nothing else about it.

  • Darkseider

    Microsoft will never release a list of the infringements because they will be laughed at and dismissed. They take on the small players and essentially bully them into ponying up some cash. Typical MS behavior. I do truly hope someone tells MS to put up or shut up. You reading this Google?

  • Quentyn Kennemer

    @MSGNYC all source links are included in the article. @Ross speculation is just that. It’s not my intention to cry “wolf” and scare the masses.

  • Bob

    I dont think so, I think HTC licensed patent from microsoft to save itself from Apple patents. Besides companies like Motorola already have a lot of mobile patents, and if push comes to shove, Google will simply buy Palm for the patents.

  • Peter

    Given that average android device is just as expensive (or even more in many cases) then their WinMO versions I really don’t see how Android was cheaper. If it in fact was cheaper for the manufacturers the end customer surely didn’t see any of those savings.

  • MSGNYC

    Fourthletter,
    The effect on the Apple lawsuit is a pretty slick way to think about this.
    HTC can’t bring up Microsofts patents in court against Apple can they? It is their patents against Apples right? Until NOW, since they license from MS they can now bring up these patents in the lawsuit basically stating
    “How could I be infringing on Apples IP patent when we have a license to use this tech from Microsoft who actually own the patent to the IP not Apple?”
    Pretty slick of HTC and Microsoft huh? Microsoft quitly backing up HTC against Apple on the DL perhaps?

  • Shep

    I love this site but this post is soo android biased. Hey! I”m an android fan boy–lets not enforce patent laws! Microsoft didn’t get bored–they did what was right.

  • al

    I agree with MSGNYC. Since HTC and MS have work together in the past, sounds like HTC elected a little help from MS for their pending Apple lawsuit.

  • rramsdell

    MSGNYC,
    I don’t see that these patents were revealed. So how do we know which patents MS is claiming to cross reference Apples claims?

  • Kang Su Gatlin

    I do tend to think this is about Apple and not Linux. There are a lot of phone manufacturers that use Android, and many a lot less friendly to Microsoft. So why does MS go after HTC, one of their best allies against the iPhone?

    It is to strengthen HTC against Apple. That’s what HTC gets out of the deal, but what about MS? MS gets a prominent Android licensee. I suspect HTC is paying something like one cent per phone to MS, but those terms will never be disclosed. But that puts MS in much better position to attack other manufacturers who they may dislike more in the future.

    All in all, this is likely good for HTC and Microsoft. It’s probably short-term positive for Android, as it may cause Apple to back down. But it’s probably long-term slighly negative for Android as Android “may” no longer be able to argue that it has a substantial price advantage to manufacturers over WinMo.

  • Darkseider

    @Shep It has nothing to do with Android bias. MS has been pulling this shit for years and never disclosing the violations. When they tried this with Red Hat the EFF stepped in and asked MS to show the violations at which point they stepped down. Plain and simple. MS is pulling their usual FUD campaign and get the small players to pony up some $$$.

  • Thomas Brown

    Does anybody else think that graphic looks like something they plucked out of MS Works 97?

  • Matt Fisher

    Even Microsoft shouldn’t be looking to get in to a legal battle with the cash machine we call Google. I really hope it happens though, because even though Google doesn’t run around trampling small companies with patent claims (it does like to buy them though), it can hold its own in a patent confrontation. Microsoft will probably continue the patent bluffing and Apple will continue to try to rape everyone with ridiculous blanket patents on software concepts like “multitouch gestures.” I just hope one of them takes a beating for it.

  • Dave

    A much more likely interpretation is that HTC is licensing Microsoft patents as a defense against the Apple law suit. I seriously doubt Microsoft would be suing its best hardware manufacturer.

  • RobF

    Software patents disgust me (and I’m a software engineer). The idea of MS getting dollars from Android sales sickens me.

    But one thing is for sure, even if MS did manage to hurt Android’s progress with IP the last place I would turn is a WinMo phone. As much as I dislike Apple I think they’re the lesser of two extreme evils.

  • JRun4

    If android is infringing on patents that microsoft has for their platforms… why don’t i like MS products more? Haha

  • treefq

    I have a hard time believing all the major hardware manu’s didn’t get their legal to review the particulars of Android. MS is talking with HTC, well thats great but lets see: Moto, Samsung, LG, Sony-erikson, and whole host of others are all implicated in this. Sounds fishy to me.

  • slbailey1

    I’ve read that it covers a broad range of patients. Do this mean that HTC can now fully impliment Exchange, Office Mobile, Office Web Apps, and Silverlight?

    I also believe that MS is helping HTC with it’s fight with Apple.

  • http://www.techticker.co.uk Alex

    Windows Phone 7 will cost $20-$30 per handset. Basically what Microsoft is doing is nesuring that they get paid for every Android handset that is out there. Android is free and if these patents cost HTS $20 per phone I can see Microsoft getting really rich. It’s basically in the 90s where Microsoft got paid for every PC even if ti did not run their software. I hope Microsoft wins Google and Anfroid are a piece of &%^&

  • Vlad

    My guess is that MS patented command line commands. So beware whoever uses DIR, DELETE and RENAME. I bet you they even patented the backslash.

  • Covert

    the way i see it, HTC who has good relationships with MS and making phones for them is asking MS to step in and help them out, clearly all wimo phones with sense MS is fine with, so now they are just making it official for HTC to use MS panteted stuff. now apple will look at HTC in court, and not only will google be standing behind them but MS too… now what is apple gonna do, HTC may not be big but they are damn good and the OS’s they put on their phones know it (google and M$) so they are going to protect them against attacks from apple in order to guarantee more amazing phones get made for their platforms…

    apple can suck it

  • Darkseider

    Microsoft legal counsel has responded and this is indeed addressing what they are calling patent violations in Android itself. Personally now is the time for Google to tell MS to put up or shut up. This has to be done and Google would be the perfect company to initiate. Also because Android is based on the linux kernel, linux would be brought into this as well which would call on the legal resources of the EFF as well as IBM. Time to put MS out of its’ misery and destroy them in court.

  • rramsdell

    Ballmer said. This is important to the firm, he said, because otherwise “every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability”.

    This is Microsoft mentality period. Balmer said this and this is directly related to what just transpired with HTC. Microsoft wants a tax for all OSes running Linux which they say infringes something like 180+ ( not sure the exact number )patents which they refuse to disclose what are those infringed patents. This did not work with Redhat, etc… so now they go after HTC. They will more than likely go after all the other vendors.

  • http://androidsfuture.blogspot.com Tallbruva

    I’m in the camp that Microsoft did this to help HTC in their fight with Apple. As Dave said, HTC is the largest manufacturer of Windows phones. If Apple is successful in their suit, it has a direct bearing on Windows phones. And with MS about to release its biggest phone OS to date, they can’t afford to have their closest partner restricted in releasing their devices.
    -
    Many of the claims of Apple against HTC seem to deal with UI actions. Sense UI (which was first introduced on WinMo phones and later extended to Android) appears to be the target. Hence, it would seem that the “friendly” agreement btwn MS & HTC is as many have said: if you (Apple) sue me, then you’ve got to come after them too (Microsoft). Considering the beat-down you took in the late ’80s/early ’90s, do you really want to go there again.
    -
    But that’s just me :-)

  • http://www.androidace.com/ Darnnell

    It shows pure weakness. Total Big Brother move!

  • Darkseider

    “Many of the claims of Apple against HTC seem to deal with UI actions. Sense UI (which was first introduced on WinMo phones and later extended to Android) appears to be the target.”

    WHAT? How does this make any sense? Sense UI is developed by HTC and can be put on whatever OS they see fit. MS didn’t develop it nor actively develop it so how is that even a point of contention. This is straight up an assault on Linux again. This time HTC is target with others to come apparently. I truly hope for Google to bitch slap Ballmer and MS into stupidity by forcing the issue to court.

  • chris

    I hate microsoft. Leave Android alone and stop putting other companies down because they offer a much much better product.

  • ryan

    Wow, reading bgr

    http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2010/04/28/microsoft-and-htc-announce-a-patent-licensing-agreement/

    you would think that there are two completely different stories here. I know phan is in the name but the anti M$ bias here is pretty strong even for a phan.

  • John Levanger

    Android can’t possibly be infringing upon Microsoft’s code as my Moto Droid has never experienced a BSOD!

  • jjfizzle

    The thing about the way patents are used currently in the US is damn funny. While I truly believe that you should get paid for your ideas, however the point of technology is to innovate to improve peoples lives. MS and Apple have acted like children over this whole mobile OS sector. MS has fallen so far behind in this race the may as well sit this one out and go for something they can actually do or create apps that will help businesses versus focusing on porting Win 7 to a mobile platform. I think most would agree if everyone has a problem with Android then make something better. MS can’t even get manufactures to use Bing that often.
    As for Stevie J at big red, well if they would have brought their phone to all US carriers versus the god forsaken att then maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation. The only way Google can put this S#@t to rest is to spend the money, buy Palm and truly produce their own phone. That way they would have some great patents to which they could improve on. The OS itself has way too much momentum for other Manu’s to stop using it.
    What I find so intriguing is that almost everyone laughed when Google took on the mobile os world, and now they have become what apple first was “the thing everyone wants”

  • Brian

    Everyone asks the question why will no one stand up to Microsoft on this – the answer is obvious: Microsoft is right. Linux infringes on Microsoft patents.

    Everyone is so quck to villify Microsoft for defending their IP – but MS has never asked for significant amounts of money or tried to bury Linux products, only asked for licensing agreements. Which they are compelled to do under the current patent law or they lose their force.

  • Argus

    @Quentyn, look at the headline. What about that says speculation and doesn’t say, “Panic now.” I’d call this yellow journalism, but I hate to even attach a label with the word “journalism” in it to these posts.

  • James

    Here goes quent again jumping to conclusions like he did a couple days ago with the sky hook scare. A lot of comments doesn’t make it a good article. If this was really is just speculation like he told ross it is, he should do like the other writers on this site and put [speculation] on the title

  • Lenny

    God forbid someone want to get compensated for the work, time and money invested in developing patents. It’s not like there is a set of laws designed to protect intellectual property or anything.

  • http://androidsfuture.blogspot.com Tallbruva

    @Darkseider
    -
    I feel where you’re coming from. But take a look at the actual patents Apple is going after HTC for. Not saying they make sense; just showing how Apple is stretching the truth to make their case.
    -
    Remember, Apple never sued Google & Android (even tho we all know it’s targeted at Android). Which means they have to go after something HTC has actually implemented. And what’s the only thing HTC has implemented on Android? Sense UI. :
    -
    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/apple-vs-htc-a-patent-breakdown/
    -
    -
    Note patents Patent #7,657,849: Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image
    -
    Patent #7,362,331: Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States
    -

  • http://androidsfuture.blogspot.com Tallbruva

    And as you said, HTC uses Sense on WinMo as well. Which means if Apple is going after HTC for the reasons above, then they by default have to go after Microsoft because the same tech is being used on both Android and WinMo.

  • Abrown

    Isn’t it interesting that when Android becomes a threat to their bottom line then they finally speak up. I mean how long has Android been around now? and they’re just barely waking up and scrambling for patents that they can use to take down the Android revolution? Well maybe they should just wake up and MAKE A STINKING DECENT PHONE!! I like MS, and I own many of their products. But this patent thing is driving me crazy! Oh and that goes for you too Apple!

  • Steve

    What this means is everyone who cares about android needs to avoid buying any HTC products. If you buy one you are saying you are ok with this sort of crap. So glad I did not get an eris, HTC go DIAF!

  • Mr. Lars

    #48 Chris Crocker? Is that you?

  • http://androidsfuture.blogspot.com Tallbruva

    I’ll do you one better… Remember when Steve Ballmer outright dissed Android and Google when it was announced?
    -
    “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 he understands it now :-D

  • bill

    Funny how everyone thinks everything should be for free. Android may be free, but we do have patent laws here in the US. Don’t like them? Change them. Everyone hates everyone, I hate Microsoft, I hate apple, I hate IBM, I hate this company, or that company..really, when does it end? I am all for anyone protecting their rights, be it a 14 year old coding in his parents basement or a corp like Apple, HTC or microsoft. This is why we are in a free country. Anyone remember when HTC threatened a suit against a programmer for paten infringment on the weather app? Android and linux scares no one, certainly not Microsoft nor Apple. You may delude yourselves into thinking so, so be it. Linux has not put either company out of business yet, and I am sure Android will not either.

  • Deezulbub

    HTC has stuck with MS & WinMo through thick & thin…mostly thin. I’ve been a devoted user of HTC devices &, therefore by default, a user of WinMo. But the biggest gripe by the community has been that while HTC continues to churn out fantastic devices, they’re blemished by the shortcomings of WM. Not even HTC’s build-in’s have been able to apply enough lipstick to that pig. Now HTC is set to release THE device (for now, anyway), & have based it on Android, & suddenly, MS cries, “Infringement!” What a load of crap! I whole-heartedly agree with other comments stating that MS should worry about building a decent platform first; if they had, everyone would be clamoring for WM devices instead of Android. However, MS is too busy trying to protect & “reclaim” what they think is rightfully their own. What an unfortunate lack of focus. Sorry, but not even WM7 is going to change the fact that MS has been passed-by by other, more innovative platforms. And Steve Jobs & Fruit, Inc. can eat it as well…no amount of “cool factor” or perceived slickness can overcome the fact your devices aren’t the end-all, be-all for those in the know. Bring on the EVO & GIVE ME MY ANDROID!!!

  • Steve

    Bill you might want to go take a look at the halloween documents. Reality is Linux is a major force in the server room and embedded devices, apple and MS will do anything to keep it from eating yet another one of their playgrounds. If these patents were legit MS would have said which ones they were.

  • jose

    I understand that as a company it is their fiscal and fiduciary responsibility to protect its inventions and by doing so protecting themselves from possible lawsuits from their share holders who will hold the company liable for failing to act. Now I understand and respect this process because essentially it helps we the (investors)people in the end. What I dislike is the effect it has on me as a consumer. Its like instead of creating products companies resot to turning patents into a revenue generating business where they license their patents as opposed to creating more innovative products. I am honestly getting sick of these actions. I hope HTC is getting more out of this than I am aware of, and it helps in their other battle with apple. Android came along and forced the industry to change and speed up .. a much needed disruptive action on behalf of google that resulted in or help speed up Windows Phone 7 series and the new mobile Apple OS 4.0 which lets be honest has stopped innovating since it came out until now … people should be very happy Google entered the game because they help create a very competitive atmosphere where innovation had seemingly become stagnant.

    Damn… when will the attacks on android end?

    Apple should just come out and sue Google … I dont see why they are waiting. Just get it over with .. a**holes.

  • http://crappytechreviews.com steve

    Bad MS! Shame on you for protecting your IP and worrying about your share holders.

  • Covert

    atleast we know we are in the right pond, if all the other big boys are this scared of android, then hell, i want to be apart of android!

  • Mike Silva

    Now THIS is a good motive to get a Nexus One instead of any other Android phone, and I want to see Microsoft dealing with Google instead if this FUD just like they did with Linux.

    Google is the only hope to get rid of the M$ TAX, let’s hope we can buy a Chrome OS netbook without paying the M$ TAX.

  • Ross

    The people who don’t like intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, et al) typically don’t have any intellectual property that needs protecting. When you rely on royalties or licensing for income, it’s a different ballgame. It’s interesting how many people wouldn’t think twice about demanding free content, but wouldn’t dream of walking into a store and walking out with a TV they didn’t pay for. You might thing a patent someone is trying to protect is stupid or obvious, but apparently the patent office thought that the applicant made a successful case for originality, and since it was that patent office, and not someone who saw a sentence or two in a blog, who evaluated the whole of the application and granted it, I’ll stick with the assumption of a patent’s validity.

  • NoX

    I agree totally with Darkseider,, MS is playing the bullying game on small players and hope to scare us all into not migrating to Android.

    Google.. please help us all.

  • billy

    MS has been making the windows compact embedded os for 10 years so why is it any shock that the android knock off infringes on hundreds of their patents for compact devices?

  • mino

    go to the hell MS!!!

  • hazydave

    There are lots of “whys?” asked here. I may have some intelligent guesses.

    We don’t really know what happened between HTC and Microsoft, but as stated, they’ve been partners on things. So have lots of other companies, and there’s a fair chance that many phone manufacturers already have patent cross licensing with Microsoft…. so that could be why there’s no big news from other companies.

    There’s a lesson here from IBM in the 1980s. Every computer company sooner or later had a patent licensing agreement with IBM. One big reason was that IBM had thousands of patents, so you could probably never fight them all in court. Another was their goal was largely to make some money and also to cross license your patents, since they were such a big target. You could license one, two, or three-or-more IBM patents. So basically, they could dump 50 or 100 they think you’re infringing, and if you still have 3 left in that stack after the lawyers and engineers look it over, you’re taking the license. This also meant that, in all likelihood, the cost of licensing was pretty cheap and the cost of fighting it pretty expensive.

    There’s every reason to believe Microsoft wants to play ball in the same fashion. So they’re probably not going crazy on licensing terms, and they may also be worried about exposure to other folks patents… particularly given the fact they’re re-designing the phone GUI. They have older stuff, but they’re kind of the last folks to the party on these modern touch interfaces (well, they certainly can show some prior art on their “Surface” interface, which came out the same year as the iPhone… both five years after “Minority Report” showed the world what a cool virtual touch interface looked like).

    It’s also possible HTC got something good out of this. When you file a patent, it’s claiming nothing; once granted, it’s claiming everything. If Microsoft has GUI patents that read on HTC’s work as well as Apple’s, and they’re older, Microsoft wins, Apple has no case. Don’t know, but it could be the case… this is probably the cheapest way out. Particularly if they license first, then announce the patent coverage. Impossible to say without more details, and these may not be forthcoming.

    See, that’s the thing… IBM didn’t really want the other companies getting together to defend. They had some pretty good patents in there, and some total drek with obvious prior art known to any CS student of the ’70s and ’80s. Like most big companies, IBM had learned to game the patent system… in fact, they were probably one of the first to really work it. Strike down a few low hanging fruit, and anyone licensing their stuff gets nervous about the quality of the portfolio. So these things are best done as quietly as possible.

    Apple’s in a different boat… there’s every change they don’t care about cross licensing (knowing the Apple ego, they’re not worried about other guys’ patents until they get hit over the head with them), they probably want to block HTC if they can. So any preemptive move by HTC to shut that down would be a good thing, and something they’d spend a little on to save alot.

    All conjecture, but just wanted to point out, there are multiple possible ways to look at this. Not that I think any of these software patents should have been granted. Much less the blatently obvious ones. And don’t even get me started on business method patents, eg + =

  • James E

    Patents on the ground, patents on the ground. Looking like a fool with your patents on the ground.

  • Matthew Hutchinson

    I can understand patents belonging to companies and truthly copyright infringement is wrong. But obviously Microsoft and HTC have a strong link to each other in the windows mobile game. After all what would the windows mobile market be without HTC. A lot less popular, thats for sure!

    The question is this… If HTC are using programs and companies like Apple are pushing law suits against them, how is that going to make the customers of android feel. Personally i’m starting to look at Apple as petty. I now don’t want to bother with a company who bullies others into it’s doing. And Apple is damaging their own reputation in my mind stomping on a company that is just finding it’s feet.

    Much like a cold war, technology is a war and brings on innovention. Apple should imbrace this and use it to develop something better, not moan and winge that things have been copied. Afterall looking at the apple iphone, much is needed to improve it. Let me start with a Flash and a 8mp camera and internet flash player support for a start. Now that would be innovation for a start. Then and only then, wiuld I think about going to apple, but it seems that Apple take what is truely a very good operating system and attach old fashioned hardware.

    I put it this way, if you had a Bugatti Veyron, you wouldnt put wooden cart wheels on it.

    HTC are progressing very quickly with the Android handsets. Do you actually think that Apple is really quite scared about the Android mobile phone market to make so much fuss? I feel Microsoft is being far more relaxed about the entire issue. And therefore I would still buy their products. Well everything except Vista. LOL!

  • http://www.taiwan-taipei.com David

    I heard somewhere that Microsoft patented a button with its special function for handheld devises. The patent claim could be targeting something like this and not Android.
    Does anyone here have an HTC device with some special function on it?

  • Eruaran

    Microsoft is attempting a repeat of their per-processor licensing scam of the 1990′s under the guise of “patent licensing”. The strategy is twofold: 1) Microsoft gets payed no matter which product you buy. 2) It becomes more expensive to buy the non-Microsoft option. This strategy effectively shut out competing operating systems on the PC in the 1990′s and resulted in an antitrust case against Microsoft. They should have been broken up as a criminal monopoly back then but they’re still here and still up to their old tricks.

    The difference today is that this time around they don’t already have a monopoly in the mobile market and their “patent licensing” strategy is exposed to the harsh light of the internet from day one, making large numbers of people very angry as this behavior amounts to nothing more than racketeering. Make no mistake, this is a shakedown that HTC is caught in the middle of. But this time, I can hear the distant rumbling of an industry that will not put up with this.

  • Derek

    Microsoft wanted anriod os through IP under their license fee as intelligent concepts of dmv does.. Owners must pay registration fee thru DMV for their vehicle or motorcycle. If DMV found out that motorcycle had modifed engine. DMV won’t give owner’s renewal registration , unless owner put original engine together back..

  • Derek

    BTW: Microsoft is genuinely COMMUNIST PARTY and SOCIETY RULER!

  • http://www.paytone.biz phonecards

    Plain and simple. The only worthwhile smartphones and OS’s that actually innovate are those that are made to run Android, WebOS and Symbian/MeeGo.