Microsoft and Samsung have announced that they’re going to cross-license their patent portfolios. Under the terms of the agreement, Samsung will pay Microsoft money for every device they sell that runs Google’s Android operating system. Also, and potentially the biggest bit of news, “the companies agreed to cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone”. The marketing, who cares about, but the development?! That’s huge. Right now everyone knows Microsoft and Nokia are in bed to make Windows Phone successful, how’s that dynamic going to change now that Samsung is going to be in the mix? Samsung’s just announced their first Windows Phone Mango device too, the Omnia W, will there be more coming by the time the year is out?
“Together with the license agreement signed last year with HTC, today’s agreement with Samsung means that the top two Android handset manufacturers in the United States have now acquired licenses to Microsoft’s patent portfolio. These two companies together accounted for more than half of all Android phones sold in the U.S. over the past year. That leaves Motorola Mobility, with which Microsoft is currently in litigation, as the only major Android smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. without a license” — Brad Smith & Horacio Gutierrez, General Counsel & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
The bigger question here is, as Brad said, wasn’t Google’s purchase of Motorola supposed to make everyone feel better about patents? For Samsung to give up an as yet to be disclosed chunk of profit off every Android device they make to Microsoft, who they’re by the way paying already to get Windows Phone, then what good was the Motorola acquisition? While Apple prefers to sue companies who use Android, Microsoft has decided to make money off their competitors, and it’s not a bad market to be in. Samsung is on track to eclipse Nokia in terms of market share, and while not all of the devices Samsung sells run a smartphone operating system, the ones that do typically run Android.