HTC Pays Microsoft for Google Phone?

From The Register:

HTC has agreed to pay Microsoft a royalty when it sells a mobile phone running Google's Android operating system.

But why does Microsoft make money from Google's software? Android is based on open source software - and Microsoft has long raised fears that aspects of Linux may infringe on its patents.


Microsoft's bland eight-line statement makes no mention of which patents are covered. Hat tip to Ina Fried at CNET for joining the dots.


Mobile players like Nokia, Apple and RIM are in the midst of a patent lawsuit daisy chain.

Microsoft's press release is here.

From Ina Fried at CNET:

The mobile phone wars got a more interesting late on Tuesday as Microsoft publicly asserted for the first time that Google's Android operating system infringes on its intellectual property.

Microsoft has taken the position, according to those close to the company, that Android infringes on the company's patented technology and that the infringement applies broadly in areas ranging from the user interface to the underlying operating system.

In a statement to CNET, Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said that, although Microsoft prefers to resolve intellectual property licensing issues without resorting to lawsuits, it has a responsibility to make sure that "competitors do not free ride on our innovations."

His comments came as Microsoft and HTC announced they have inked a new patent deal that specifically provides the Taiwanese cell phone maker with the right to use Microsoft's patented technologies in phones running Google's Android operating system. Microsoft said it has been in talks with other phone makers.

"We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform," Gutierrez said.

Although Microsoft and HTC did not disclose details of the financial terms of their agreement, they did note that "Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC." The deal covers all Android-based phones made by HTC, including the Nexus One, which Google sells directly.

"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," Gutierrez said in a press release announcing the deal. "We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC."

My question is, why is Microsoft going after HTC for making an Android phone, and not Google? Why not Motorola who released the Droid in 2009? And why did HTC cave to MS?