androidChina’s Hon Hai, the Taipei-based parent company of contract manufacturing giant Foxconn, will pay patent royalties to Microsoft for the Android and Chrome-based devices it makes under a licensing agreement announced by the companies tonight.

It’s a significant win for Microsoft’s patent licensing efforts. Foxconn makes an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics, working under contract for many of the largest technology companies.

Specific financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

The deal is the latest in a series of patent agreements reached by Microsoft with major makers of Android and Chrome devices, including LG, HTC, Samsung, and Acer. Microsoft claims that elements of the Google operating systems violate its patented technologies.

The news release announcing the deal includes this statement from Samuel Fu, director of Hon Hai’s intellectual property department: “Hon Hai is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer that holds more than 54,000 patents worldwide. We recognize and respect the importance of international efforts that seek to protect intellectual property. The licensing agreement with Microsoft represents those efforts and our continued support of international trade agreements that facilitate implementation of effective patent protection.”

Comments

  • Guest

    What a pathetic patent troll they have become. If MS ever wondered why people dislike the company, this is one prime example. They really need to change their way, the current strategy won’t last forever. Really disgusting.

    • guest

      What’s pathetic and disgusting is that kneejerk critics like you would be the first to criticize MS if, like Google, they had shipped an OS they knew violated the patents of others without proactively entering into licensing agreements and indemnifying their OEMs.

      • Guest

        If Google violated patents, why don’t they go after Google? Instead these weasels go after smaller OEMs. And what exactly are those patents that were violated? Noone knows. Microsoft is becoming a truly disgusting company – mobster tactics at its finest. They can’t innovate so they litigate.

        • asok14215

          I have no love for MSFT, but why doesn’t Google indemnify Android OEMs, then?

          • Guest

            If a company decides to give in to MSFT’s bullying and agrees to a licensing deal, then that would really be their business. Google cannot simply indemnify OEMs, just because. No corporate board would approve that. And why should they, especially IF Google believes that no patents were violated to begin with. Indemnifying OEMs would effectively mean admitting to patent infringement. Again, MS chooses not to go after Google, which is highly suspicious. That’s exactly what a patent troll would do, to extort money from those that cannot possibly defend themselves against such an IT giant. If MS has a case, go sue Google. Otherwise shut the f up and do something useful – maybe innovate, that’d be something.

          • ex-alliant turd

            MS indemnifies its OEM. No reason Google couldn’t have as well. You’re just embarrassing yourself further.

          • Guest

            Defend the hive at all cost. But don’t complain when MS will be irrelevant in a few years because consumers (and OEMs) avoid them like the plague.

          • ex-alliant turd

            I realize this is upsetting for you. Here you thought you could show up on this site, like you do others, and spout some anti MS bullshit w/o getting called on it. But you couldn’t and now you’re mad. Too bad. Try not to cry on your way out.

          • Guest

            LOL. Not upsetting at all. :) You MS shills always resort to personal attacks, it’s equally predictable and funny.

          • asok14215

            Again, I have no allegiance to MSFT. So what you are saying is that Google is knowingly promoting OEM software that it knows has patent violations, for which their OEMs are left to fend for themselves. Or they don’t know…or care. And in either case, they won’t indemnify the OEM (like MSFT does). Call me crazy, but it doesn’t sound like a great deal for Android OEMs.

          • Guest

            First of all I didn’t say that, please read my comment above again. What I wrote was that if Google believes that no patents were violated, then consequently they shouldn’t indemnify OEMs. And they don’t. BTW, they also don’t charge OEMs for Android, so there’s nothing really to compensate for afterwards. Secondly, clearly Android remains a great deal for OEMs despite the extortion fee from MS, otherwise they would have dropped Android by now and switched over to say Windows Phone 8. But they don’t. My point isn’t that Google is great, which they aren’t by any means, my point is that MS uses disgusting tactics to intimidate OEMs. Playing dirty will only get you so far, eventually consumers and OEMs will say enough is enough. This of course equally applies to MS, Apple, Google, Facebook, you name it. But MS seems to try very hard to rush to that result. And people are turning away in droves.

          • asok14215

            If Google believes that no patents were violated, then it should be a no-op for them to indemnify OEMs. “Hey, not only does Android not violate patents, but we’ll indemnify you if we’re wrong!”. That’s exactly what MSFT does for its OEMs. So it’s curious as to why Google does not do the same.

            And Google DOES charge for Android, just not by license fees. They make all their money on the big data from the user population that end up using Android on the OEM’s handsets. Do you think there is NO revenue motivation for Google to create the Android ecosystem? Of course there is.

          • Guest

            I didn’t say they make no money off Android, I said they don’t charge the OEMs for Android. BTW, OEMs also receive a kickback from Google for revenue produced by consumers using pre-installed Google services. Maybe (and I don’t know this) that kickback somewhat compensates for MS’s extortion? Then OEMs are happy, Google’s happy, and MS can keep their lousy licensing fees and continue not to worry about innovating. In the end it will be MS’s loss, you’ll see.

          • asok14215

            You are getting caught up in semantics. Yes, Google does charge for Android. Every Android customer has a monetary value to them on a spreadsheet. The kickback is taken off the top of that monetary value.

            If OEMs are happy with this arrangement then fine. But obviously Google told them at some point, “no, we are not going to indemnify you for patent violations, regardless of what our beliefs are with regards to the software being patent-clean”.

            Good faith belief in Android being free of patent violations by Google, which you seem to think is an important issue, means absolutely squat when it comes to OEM licensing. So your obsession with this “belief” facet of the discussion is puzzling and a red herring.

          • Guest

            You practically answered this yourself: “That’s exactly what MSFT does for its OEMs. So it’s curious as to why Google does not do the same.”
            Well, one could give away the OS to OEMs for free. That’s exactly what Google does for its OEMs. So it’s curious as to why MSFT does not do the same. Very simple, different business models!
            (And no, I am not saying one is better than the other, they are just different business models)

          • asok14215

            You’re avoiding the question. Google obviously tells its OEMs that they are on their own with regards to patent violations in Android. You can try to hand wave and gesticulate wildly, but that’s it in a nutshell.

          • Guest

            I don’t know, I am not Google nor am I in any way affiliated with them. Maybe they are telling OEMs use at your own risk, maybe they just disagree that there are any patent violations to begin with (…and are therefore not going to help out OEMs that enter a deal with MS). Again, I don’t know whether Google is doing the right thing here, but it’s blatantly obvious that MS is doing the wrong thing. If they truly have a case they should go after Google. End of story.

          • asok14215

            “Maybe they are telling OEMs use at your own risk, maybe they just disagree that there are any patent violations to begin with (…and are therefore not going to help out OEMs that enter a deal with MS).”

            In other words, “Use at your own risk”.

            Why is MSFT the bad guy if their patents are indeed being violated? It’s the OEMs that might be selling patent-infringing software to their customers. If Google is not indemnifying them, then they have to deal with MSFT in court or settle. Why aren’t they willing to take MSFT to court if MSFT’s patent claims aren’t valid?

        • guest

          They *are* going after Google via the Motorola case. The way patent litigation works is you go after the person selling the product. That’s OEMs in most Android cases. Even Motorola was an OEM when that case began. And MS has gone after *all* Android OEMs – big, small and medium. So your statement that they’ve only gone after smaller ones is false. The patents that have been violated are public in some cases like Motorola and private in the majority of others, consistent with normal patent licensing and litigation. So again your statement that no one knows is false. Did you notice that Apple has sued Android OEMs for patent infringement as well? Using your brain dead logic, does that mean they’re using mobster tactics as well and can’t innovate? Oh right, you only apply that yardstick when it comes to MS because that’s what trolls do.

          • Guest

            Apple is certainly no innocent child, neither is Google. But MS seems rotten to the core lately. Ever wondered why people hate on MS so much more than any other company?

        • Geek at heart

          They go after the companies that actually sell the phones. Makes a lot of sense since they are the ones monotizing the OS on their devices.

  • guest

    How much longer before Motorola is forced to take out a license as well? Too bad this revenue is all being reinvested/lost in WP. It must be a non-trivial total by now.

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