Microsoft’s got handset makers who make Android devices by the balls. Right now Samsung, HTC, Acer, and 7 others are paying the office software giant upwards of $5 for every phone or tablet they sell that utilizes Google’s code. To understand how big that is, consider this: Samsung and HTC, just those two companies, were responsible for over 50% of the Android phones sold in Q2 of this year in the United States. According to the BBC Microsoft is in talks with yet another company, one that doesn’t have such a well established brand in the west, but in many other countries is known for making quality low and midrange Android devices: Huawei. Victor Xu, Chief Marketing Officer for the Chinese mobile phone maker, said the discussions with Microsoft are “in progress” and that “over the next three years we are aiming to be in the top five smartphone makers, and in the top three in the next five years”.
Now to be absolutely frank, this is just getting out of hand. Either Google has to issue a statement saying that Android partners should not take Microsoft’s crap or they should finally announce that they’re suing Microsoft for harassing companies once the Motorola deal goes through and they’ve amassed roughly 17,000 patents. You may or may not believe in the usefulness of the patent system as it currently operates, but we feel that money that’s being thrown at lawyers and lobbyists is better spent on engineers and designers who push technological progress forward. Back in September the analysts at Goldman Saches estimated that Microsoft is on track to make the patent fees they’re collecting from Android device makers a business that’s worth over $400 million per year. Assuming a hotshot engineer makes $100,000 per year, that’s potentially 4,000 of the best and brightest minds going unpaid.
Instead it’s going to ad agencies peddling Windows Phone.