Microsoft signs Android and Chrome OS patent deal with Wistron

Last week, Neowin covered a story on a deal that Microsoft agreed with Itronix, which allowed the rugged computer manufacturer, access to some of the software giant's patent portfolio. Earlier today it was revealed that Microsoft is continuing on with their recent trend by signing a similar deal with Wistron.

Earlier deals have provided the estimation that Microsoft gains around $5-$15 from each product sold to a customer and therefore it would be safe to assume that they have secured a similar figure with Wistron. Microsoft didn't specifically go into details on the agreement, however Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president stated that "[Microsoft] are pleased that Wistron is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program, established to help companies address Android’s IP issues".

Given that Wistron produce an array of different electronic devices for OEMs worldwide, with its involvement in the Android and Chrome OS, this deal could be quite a significant one for Redmond. Patent agreements have previously only focused on the Android operating system, so it is interesting to see Google's Chrome OS on this deal too.

Microsoft's exact goal has never been communicated, however experts suggest it is an attempt to slow the growth of competing products and pursue more profitable arrangements that do not involve lawsuits. According to Microsoft, since starting their IP licensing program back in December 2003, they've managed to collect over 700 different patent agreements. Microsoft are certainly very happy about this as they continually boast their broad patent and IP portfolios to those they're seeking a deal with.

Image Source: ypdesigngroup.com

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27 Comments

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I think people misunderstands that signing a patent deal or licensing patents from a third party equals to paying for not being sued or "attacked". It's different because, if you are making a product that uses a patent from someone else, it is better to license it so you can take advantage of that patent instead of avoiding some functionality/design by just not implementing it in you product.

Sometimes, if it is too much to pay for the license, then you can always avoid implementing it.

Some of the early prototype hardware for media center extenders were made by wistron they have had a long time working relationship with Microsoft it would make sense they would want to keep it that way.

calimike said,
MS own Android patents? I don't understand...

The patents Microsoft are using to threaten these smaller companies are not Android or even mobile related, but are generic vague patents you could apply to anything internet/document related. Just look at the B&N response on Groklaw. Clearly Microsoft are trying to raise the price of Free Software so they can complete. It's anti-competitive, bullying (attacking smaller firms), and unethical. But we have come to expect no less from Microsoft have we?

jesseinsf said,
Apple is 100 times worde. They'd rather sue you instead to stop your production. Microsoft is just being fair.

Really? So why doesn't Microsoft sue Google for the Nexus phone? If Microsoft is interested in protecting IP, not undermining Android as they claim, then why don't they sue Google? It's simple; It's far easier to attack smaller weaker companies than risking invalidating their patents in court against Google.

Microsoft_Bob said,
Really? So why doesn't Microsoft sue Google for the Nexus phone?

Apparently, the lawyers know better than us about what's allowed or not...

Microsoft_Bob said,

Really? So why doesn't Microsoft sue Google for the Nexus phone? If Microsoft is interested in protecting IP, not undermining Android as they claim, then why don't they sue Google? It's simple; It's far easier to attack smaller weaker companies than risking invalidating their patents in court against Google.

This is exactly right.

alexalex said,
The biggest patent trolls ever as they do not use any of those Linux/Android patents in their products.

They're not linux / android specific, they're just general software & mobile patents, many of which they probably do use.

alexalex said,
The biggest patent trolls ever as they do not use any of those Linux/Android patents in their products.

And you know this, how?

alexalex said,
The biggest patent trolls ever as they do not use any of those Linux/Android patents in their products.

I disagree. Just looking at the overall lack of innovation in the Linux community and its various copies of both Microsoft and Apple software (not to mention the look and feel), Google was probably already violating some patents of Microsoft's in the first place. I won't even get into all of the things that Linux copies from Microsoft blatantly.

alexalex said,
The biggest patent trolls ever as they do not use any of those Linux/Android patents in their products.

How is signing a patent licencing agreement translates to patent trolling?

alexalex said,
The biggest patent trolls ever as they do not use any of those Linux/Android patents in their products.

I disagree, Apple are way bigger patent trolls than Microsoft.

~Johnny said,

They're not linux / android specific, they're just general software & mobile patents, many of which they probably do use.


+1

PlogCF said,

I disagree. Just looking at the overall lack of innovation in the Linux community and its various copies of both Microsoft and Apple software (not to mention the look and feel), Google was probably already violating some patents of Microsoft's in the first place. I won't even get into all of the things that Linux copies from Microsoft blatantly.
Linux != Gnome/KDE!!! Linux is a kernel, not a desktop environment! Gnome and KDE get many ideas from Windows and Apple but Gnome/KDE/XFCE is not Linux.

MS Lose32 said,
Linux != Gnome/KDE!!! Linux is a kernel, not a desktop environment! Gnome and KDE get many ideas from Windows and Apple but Gnome/KDE/XFCE is not Linux.

Yes, pretty much everybody knows that, it's just a lot easier to type. It's like calling somebody out for not saying "Microsoft Windows 7" or "Apple Operating System 10". And Linux "borrowed" their ideas from Unix and Minix.

Max Norris said,

Yes, pretty much everybody knows that, it's just a lot easier to type. It's like calling somebody out for not saying "Microsoft Windows 7" or "Apple Operating System 10". And Linux "borrowed" their ideas from Unix and Minix.

Microsoft borrowed their ideas from GNU/Linux and Apple as well. They all copy from each other. Every idea or piece of software is inherently derivative. The problem now is that companies like Microsoft are suing/stopping competitors using ideas that are vague, obvious, and should never have been granted patent status.

Microsoft_Bob said,
Microsoft borrowed their ideas from GNU/Linux and Apple as well. They all copy from each other. Every idea or piece of software is inherently derivative. The problem now is that companies like Microsoft are suing/stopping competitors using ideas that are vague, obvious, and should never have been granted patent status.

No arguments there, the whole IP thing is just lunacy. Don't see anything borrowed from Linux though; Unix perhaps, shoot Microsoft even paid for the rights back in the day (Microsoft Xenix) versus just blatantly copying the whole thing.

still1 said,
This definitely is bad for Android and consumer. what exactly is the patent that Microsoft is claiming

They aren't claiming anything. Microsoft and Wistron have entered into a patent licencing agreement that allows Wistron to utilize technology that has been patented by MS. This could be good for both parties, MS gets some money, and Wistron gets access to a huge patent portfolio without fear of litigation. Should another company claim that Wistron is violating their patents, but a MS patent or licence covers that use, then it is MS who would foot the legal bill

still1 said,
This definitely is bad for Android and consumer. what exactly is the patent that Microsoft is claiming

Well, Google could offer patent protection to those that utilize their OS like Microsoft does, but they do not. And with all of the patent issues Android apparently has, I'd say Microsoft is being very nice about it by working out a licensing agreement instead of litigating as others are.