Apple’s patent tyranny against every Android manufacturer they can find gets a lot of ink, but it appears that Microsoft is getting the bank. After securing yet another licensing deal with Taiwanese OEM Compal, Redmond announced that a full 53% of Android devices being made are done so with a licensing kick-back to Microsoft. Other major players which have settled with the software giant include HTC, Samsung, Acer and many more.
Microsoft is currently making at least $444 million dollars a year off of Android hardware, putting them in the strange position of making more direct profit off of Android phone and tablet sales than Google, which gives away the operating system freely. Microsoft’s mobile software patent portfolio has allowed it to bully Android manufacturers into submission with startling efficiency, leading Samsung executives to say that they can’t rely on Google for protection. For its part, Google considers the licensing agreements “extortion,” and Motorola Mobility, which is slated to become a part of Google later this year, is one of the only major Android manufacturers left that hasn’t agreed to pay Microsoft royalties.
Elsewhere in the wide, wide world of technology patent litigation, Steve Jobs’ upcoming biography notes that the Apple co-founder had a hatred for Android stemming from a belief that the product was stolen. (“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”) Before his death the executive vowed to spend his last dollar and last breath fighting Android in court, and Apple’s refusal to settle in the Samsung Australian case seems to bear that out. Between Microsoft, Apple and Oracle, Google and its manufacturers still have a long fight ahead of them in the patent arena.