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Microsoft claims Android violates patents, makes HTC deal

updated 07:55 am EDT, Wed April 28, 2010

MS complicates Apple HTC lawsuit with patents

Microsoft today tried to cast doubt on Android today by claiming that the OS infringes on some of its patents. It argued that Google's platform uses Microsoft technology for both the user interface and the core architecture. Multiple phone manufacturers, starting with HTC, have allegedly been violating those patents simply by using Android on their phones.

As a result of the claims, Microsoft said that it has already struck a one-way licensing agreement with HTC that will see it pay royalties to Microsoft in exchange for the continued ability to ship phones using Android. The terms of the deal weren't discussed.

HTC is already one of Microsoft's better customers and regularly licenses Windows Mobile, although it lately has been shifting most of its attention towards Android phones given their higher popularity.

The move is typical for Microsoft, which has often tried to deter the use of Linux-based software by claiming patent ownership. It has notably never sued directly for infringement but has instead counted on licensing agreements that let it profit even when customers switch away from Windows. A deal with Novell is the most notable example, but several other Linux distributors have also made such agreements.

Any agreement potentially complicates Apple's lawsuit against HTC but may not necessarily be tailored with this in mind. Depending on the level of overlap, HTC may lean on one or more of the patents as examples of how it may not necessarily violate Apple's patents. More likely, however, is Microsoft hoping to thwart its current main rival Google by increasing the costs of using Android or raising the possibility of lawsuits if manufacturers refuse to abide by Microsoft's interpretation of the patents.

Google hasn't commented on the lawsuit.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MacMan2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So the big wigs at Microsoft got up at 4.... no.. lets think bout this.... 1 am to write this so it could hit the wires.... amd macnn got it bout 5 am... dont you mean on Tuesday... because your disclosure that google did not respond... well.. is.... i wouldnt reply at 8 in the mornint your time or 5 mine in Washington...

  1. JamieJR7

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all about the tone...

    "The move is typical for Microsoft..."

    Yeah, how dare a company try to cash in on its own patent ideas. Instead of looking at this through the obvious Microsoft hate cloud of dust, try to look at it from a business perspective. It's far more profitable to make money from licensing than a one-off fee for suing wouldn't you say?

    If Apple does end up having a case against HTC and in the future wins the case, you can be sure Apple won't stop HTC from making the devices that infringe on their patents given the amount of volume HTC sells. I hope when that happens we see a "The move is typical for Apple or any tech company worth their salt..."

  1. MacMan2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    follow up

    I just wanted to clarify my comment earlier.. I am just tired of BLOGGERS who write stories that have facts in it that seem out of place or dont match with the publishing times or just cut and paste things they find on other sites. Macnn has a history of of doing both. I am just curious how MS did this at 5 in the morning their time and expected Google to respond or how the lawsuit was filed when courts were closed at night? I am guessing that the correct writing should have been...

    On Tuesday, Microsoft tried to cast doubt on Android today by claiming that the OS infringes on some of its patents.......

    Odds are that is when the suit was filed... Just want them to be more accurate.... Oh wait.... that would then make them Journalist.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why don't we...

    All just gather around each other, sue each other for everything and anything under the sun, and have one big patent circle-jerk?

    The sleazy, corrupt lawyers will get rich and fat, and the big companies will be happy.

  1. mytdave

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the thing about ms

    The thing is JamieJR7, M$ is unlikely to hold any patents, or any enforceable patents, on phone UI, because they stole all their ideas from someone else. So, in M$'s case, yea it's a typical move for M$ to try and extort licensing fees through intimidation, just like they did with Linux - and as we all know, they hold no valid patents on anything in Linux, but trying to convince (and calm the fears of) skittish CEOs of wimpy companies of that is another story.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I don't think the UI patents are the lucrative ones. Think bigger.
    You think HTC entered into a licensing agreement with MS because MS intimidated them, and not because MS has valid patents? Ya, bud. That makes sense.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Absurd patent laws

    Google did not steal any Microsoft tech...period. They developed an OS, on their own. I'm so sick of the lovers of any current law who are so quick to defend something, when they know nothing about what they speak.

    What happens is the patent office grants multiple overlapping patents for overlapping's impossible to create any OS...even from scratch without someone, usually multiple companies claiming infringement.

    the current laws don't protect invention, they actually harm innovation. Obvious ideas should not be patentable....the current system is a mess.

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