If you bought an Android smartphone or tablet in the last six months, odds are surprisingly good that you paid a considerable chunk of the purchase price to Microsoft. The dinosaur of the software world has successfully sued and/or negotiated with most of the major Android OEMs, including Samsung, HTC, and lately LG. Microsoft claims that over 70% of the Android hardware sold in the US includes licensing fees paid to the company - a disturbing statistic for an open-source operating system.
Microsoft hasn't disclosed how much it's making off of its Android-related patents, though estimates put the amount in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Tellingly, they've stayed away from Google itself and recent acquisition Motorola. Not content with their
ill-gotten gains, Microsoft took to Twitter to boast about the agreements. Using the hashtag #anotherandroidlicense, Microsoft's head of Corporate Communications sent messages like "we are the 70%" and continued the company line that Android is neither open nor free. This seems like something of a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point.
Does anyone else find it off that Microsoft is revelling in the relatively small amount of money it's pulling by sabotaging a competing product, while its own Windows Phone 7 platform languishes in almost every market? At last count, WP7 had a 2% worldwide market share; that's just slightly behind the former Windows Mobile, which hasn't been placed on any new hardware in years. Compare that to a 53% market share for Android in the same NPD report, and Microsoft's victory dance seems pretty hollow.
You stay classy, Redmond.
[via Beta News]