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Microsoft targets Wistron, now says Chrome OS infringes too

updated 11:55 am EDT, Tue July 5, 2011

MS makes Wistron sign deal for Android, Chrome OS

Microsoft continued a campaign to try and stifle competition from Google on Tuesday by pressing Wistron into signing a patent licensing deal. The agreement will see Wistron pay Microsoft royalties for not just the Android e-readers, phones, and tablets it makes for other companies but also Chrome OS devices. A deal for Chromebooks and similar hardware appears to be new and suggests Microsoft believes it's inherently owed money on the web-first OS as well.

Taiwan-based Wistron chose not to comment on the deal. Acer and Samsung, the only two manufacturers of Chrome OS-based PCs so far, also haven't commented on the implication of possible lawsuits.

The deal follows a slew of such agreements in the last couple of weeks that have included Onkyo, Velocity Micro, and General Dynamics. Microsoft is widely known to be using these deals as leverage to push holdouts into paying royalties rather than challenge the legitimacy of its patents through defense in a lawsuit.

Only a few companies are resisting so far and are led by Motorola, which has countersued and so far refused to bend. Barnes & Noble has also exposed some of Microsoft's tactics and notes that its patent terms would charge more than for Windows Phone 7 to get a patent license for a device as simple as the Nook Color.

Significantly, Microsoft has given heavy discounts to those who use Windows Phone and isn't yet known to be charging Dell, LG, and Samsung for Android use despite Google being a much larger part of their businesses. Many of the companies targeted either can't use Windows for their products or have just started moving away and are relatively small.

Chrome OS, the new addition, is likely being targeted as it too promises to oust a traditional Microsoft foothold. Windows netbooks have seen sales crash owed mostly to the iPad, but Chromebooks could further eat into that share as well as get those buying low-end notebooks. The OS poses the most threat in Microsoft's enterprise bastion, where the greatly reduced need for support and constant updating could undermine Microsoft's most important market.

by MacNN Staff



  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't get it...

    Why pay Microsoft $$$$ to use Android? What a b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t c-r-a-p coming MS! On other hand, I could careless because it's good for Apple.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS New Cash Cow?

    Does Microsoft make more money from Android manufacturers paying "incensing fees" to use Android, or from its own Windows 7 Phone series?

  1. fmlogue

    Joined: Dec 1969


    New Business Model?

    So Microsoft is going to stay solvent as its Windows and Office monopoly crashes by being the number one patent troll? I guess this is really not a new business model for them, it just will become their major income.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sweet irony

    The strangest part of this is Google have not give their point of view yet. They should be aware now the OS they made and offer for free to OEM manufacturer in exchange of bring more ads to customer are causing problem with Microsoft. And now Microsoft is making more money with Android than Google it self. This is not a healthy position for Android ecosystem.

  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Google really and truly doesn't care. TThey created Android for one reason only: to turn the cell phone market into a revenue-producing outlet for their advertising sales and information mining. They have assessed the risks, and realized that the profits from selling the information and attention of cell phone users outweigh all the downside of the various legal penalties they will incur by totally ignoring IP law in the creation of the OS.

    It's an interesting idea. Suppose you came up with a way to make a profit directly off of people even using a PC. You could then take some version of Linux, build a patent-infringing-but-more-or-less-complete Windows compatibility environment, and then sit back and watch your Linux (being free) take a huge chunk out of the Windows market. You'd be sued, but if your revenues were high enough, that wouldn't matter.

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