When Google announced Android back in November 2007 they claimed that their new mobile phone operating system would not only be open source, but that it would be free from patent disputes thanks to the Open Handset Alliance. Fast forward to the future and you’ve got Microsoft signing patent agreements with HTC, Onkyo, and Velocity Micro so they don’t get their pants sued off. Now Microsoft has their rabies infected lawyers running after Samsung, demanding that they pay them $15 for every Android device they ship. The South Korean handset vendor recently announced that they’ve sold over 3 million units of their new Galaxy S II smartphone, so that would equal $45 million from that 1 model alone. Add in Samsung’s entire portfolio of Android devices, including tablets, and you can see how this will get rather expensive rather quickly.
The Maeil Business Newspaper, published in South Korea and with a circulation of close to 900,000 subscribers, says that Samsung could likely negotiate the licensing fee to around $10 per unit, but failed to mention just how that’ll happen. We think it’ll probably involve Samsung agreeing to push Windows Phone harder than it currently is, that or set Bing as the default search engine on a variety of the phones they offer. We’d rather them not have to do anything, and for this whole petty patent argument bullshit to stop, but that’s sadly not how businesses work. If we ran Samsung, we’d call up Steve Ballmer and tell him that we’re going to switch our computers to Ubuntu or some other Linux distribution if he really wants to see $15 from every Android phone we sold. That would most definitely scare him into backing off. Likihood of that happening? Zero, everyone hates Linux on the desktop.
Expect to see this settled discreetly and for analysts to pull numbers out of their ass as to what the final terms of the agreement might be.