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Samsung does a patents cross-licensing deal with Microsoft

Including Microsoft's mobile patents
Thu Sep 29 2011, 11:38

TECHNOLOGY FIRMS Microsoft and Samsung have ended their dispute over mobile patents with a cross-licensing agreement.

The agreement has been on the cards since earlier this year when Microsoft began crowing about how many licensing deals it was making with firms using the Android operating system.

"Our Wistron deal today makes for four Android patent license agreements in nine days," tweeted Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith in July.

The agreement with Samsung covers a range of patents and products and will see Samsung paying Microsoft unspecified royalties whenever it sells its Android-based mobile phones and tablets. In addition, or maybe in return depending on how desperate for support Samsung is, the firms will cooperate on the development of Windows Phone and a Mango handset.

Smith was predictably happy with this result, and once again turned to Twitter to express his pleasure. "Today's agreement demonstrates we now have a clear path forward for resolving the industry's mobile patent issues", he said as he suggested that Microsoft lawyers still have a long road in front of them.

"While we haven't yet reached the beginning of the end of mobile patent issues, perhaps we have now reached the end of the beginning," he added.

Microsoft claims that Android is not free for device makers and that the only way they can avoid litigation is to buy licences. Its plan appears to be working. The firm is signing up an increasing number of firms as licensees including Casio for Linux and Wistron and the others for Android.

The patent haul way of doing business is proving that Microsoft can be a success in the tablet and smartphone business without actually developing tablet and smartphone software. µ


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