Android Phones

Microsoft reaches payment deal with Samsung over alleged patent violations

September 28, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka



Microsoft has reached an agreement with Samsung over alleged intellectual property violations present in Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets. The two companies have agreed to a cross-licensing deal that will allow Samsung to use software and features in exchange for working with Windows Phone 7 and paying royalty fees for each device sold.

Samsung is the latest manufacturer to come to terms with Microsoft, which has alleged that Android violates a number of patents held by the Redmond-based company. Microsoft claims that core Android features violate its IP, so it has forced multiple companies to agree to pay per-device royalties or risk lawsuits. HTC was the first to make such an agreement, thanks in part to its pledge to develop for Windows Phone 7.

While Samsung has seen sales of it’s smartphones rise in recent years, the credit goes to Android. The Windows Phone 7 platform has failed to catch on with consumers in an era where Android or iPhone dominate the conversation (and sales). WP7 sales are so poor that Microsoft is believed to make more money through profits from licensing deals with HTC’s Android phones. Adding Samsung to that mix will increase profits and encourage the Korean phone and tablet maker to play a bigger part in WP7 (and Windows 8 tablets presumably).

UPDATE: Microsoft has another blog post further commenting on this issue and naming the other companies who have agreed to similar deals – Acer, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic and Wistron. Two Microsoft lawyers credited with the post go on to say that

We recognize that some businesses and commentators – Google chief among them – have complained about the potential impact of patents on Android and software innovation. To them, we say this: look at today’s announcement. If industry leaders such as Samsung and HTC can enter into these agreements, doesn’t this provide a clear path forward?

Here’s the usual corporate speak about the deal.

“Microsoft and Samsung see the opportunity for dramatic growth in Windows Phone and we’re investing to make that a reality. Microsoft believes in a model where all our partners can grow and profit based on our platform.”

- Andy Lees, president, Windows Phone Division, Microsoft.

“Through the cross-licensing of our respective patent portfolios, Samsung and Microsoft can continue to bring the latest innovations to the mobile industry. We are pleased to build upon our long history of working together to open a new chapter of collaboration beginning with our Windows Phone “Mango” launch this fall.”

- Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president of global product strategy at Samsung Mobile.