JUST A WEEK AFTER selling its Enterprise Business to Zebra Technologies for $3.45bn, Motorola Solutions has signed the latest in a string of patent sharing arrangements with Microsoft for devices running Android and Chrome.
At present, Microsoft is paid a small percentage for each Android or Chrome device that is sold, representing royalties for certain patents that Microsoft claims apply to those operating systems. It is estimated that Android is a bigger money spinner for Microsoft than Windows Phone.
Details of the deal are vague, but cover a worldwide agreement for Motorola Solutions, the enterprise side of the former Motorola business. This is a distinctly separate business from Motorola Mobility, the company that was sold to Google, and then on to Lenovo.
Nick Psyhogeos, general manager and associate general counsel for IP licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft, said, "Microsoft prefers licensing to litigation, since licensing is a more effective way to share technology and accelerate the pace of innovation."
For Motorola Solutions, Joe White, VP of Enterprise Mobile Computing, added, "We are pleased to have agreed upon a solution that allows our customers to purchase Android products from Motorola Solutions with confidence."
At the moment, the deal raises as many questions as it answers. No one outside the two firms knows the financial terms of the deal, what products it covers, and how long it lasts.
We do know, however, that this is the latest of many deals signed by Microsoft and the rest of the technology industry under the umbrella of the Microsoft IP licensing programme. Microsoft has yet to disclose its specific patents that allegedly are infringed by Google's operating systems.
All we know is that Microsoft has enough leverage in threatened litigation to persuade some of the biggest names in technology to sign up, including Acer, Amazon, Dell, HTC, LG, Samsung and ZTE, to name but a few. µ