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Microsoft pushes Acer, ViewSonic into Android licensing deal

updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu September 8, 2011

Microsoft gets Acer, ViewSonic to pay for Android

Microsoft continued its campaign of profiting from Android's success on Thursday with new patent licensing deals through Acer and ViewSonic. The deals will see each pay royalties for their Android devices, such as the Iconia Smart and ViewPads. In spite of Acer being one of the first Chromebook makers, only ViewSonic of the two will also pay royalties for any Chrome OS devices it makes.

The deals mark a renewal in Microsoft's efforts after a few months of quiet. Most of its earlier deals were focused on smaller companies located primarily in Japan or the US. Acer and ViewSonic are both located in Taiwan and suggest Microsoft is conducting its campaign on a region-by-region basis.

Its strategy is identical to that it has taken against Linux, where it assumes an effective ownership of the OS through patents. Microsoft has largely counted on companies not having the resources or will to challenge the validity of its patents and is currently only facing opposition from Motorola, which is losing ground in its case. Google's attempts to link openness in Android to a lack of patent issues has often been called into question, but many have considered Microsoft's claimed rights tenuous.

Concernes have been raised about the anti-competitiveness of the deals given that companies like HTC, and possibly Samsung, Acer, and ViewSonic, are being handed 'discounts' on royalties if they also make Windows- and Windows Phone-based products. Unofficial estimates further point to Microsoft making more from Android than Windows Phone and assert that it's compensating for an inability to compete. Microsoft has more recently portrayed Google as ironically using the same strategy it used itself to gain a monopoly in a field by giving away for free what its competitors had to sell.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011


    Cheaper to pay

    Look, Microsoft and Apple have a cross patent deal. Apple at the time was doing poorly.
    They made the deal to get some money from Microsoft.

    In theory, if they owned the patents, they could have requested the Courts to remove Windows from the marketplace.

    Don't laugh, because that's exactly what Apple is actually doing now.

    Back then, they took the deal. But lets say they didn't. Do you really think the Courts were going to remove Windows from the marketplace.

    Lets not forget those patents apple had were very broad - on the very basic foundation of computing - Microsoft could not have worked around them.

    Missed opportunity for Apple? Or let me tell you what would have really happened, Apple's case would have been tossed out.

    Because there is the law, and there is reality. No court was going to do the completely foolish thing of destroying Microsoft. It just wouldn't have happened.

    Still lovers of current patent law have to think about these things - under current law you aren't required to license your patents. So we give monopoly control of an industry to Apple?

    Didn't patents have the purpose of promoting competition? If they are destroying competition instead, wouldn't it be the case that patents aren't serving their original purpose?

  1. Tod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Didn't patents have the purpose of promoting competition? If they are destroying competition instead, wouldn't it be the case that patents aren't serving their original purpose?"

    More likely, they were intended to promote "innovation." And that's exactly what happens when you don't allow people to come along and copy the work of hard-working innovators without restrictions. Interestingly enough, one of the results of making it safer to invest in the development of innovative products is improved competition! But enhancing competition was not the primary purpose of patents.

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