Microsoft has been collecting licensing agreements from Android manufacturers like Samsung and HTC for months now. According to ZDNet, this adds up to some serious dinero, to the tune of $444 million every year. With Android continuing to dominate in markets around the world, that number can only grow.
In today’s litigious IP environment, it’s often wiser for a company to pony up to patent holders rather than fight an extended court battle, even if they’re not entirely sure they’re in the wrong. Microsoft has banked on that, and a Goldman Sachs analyst estimated that every Android phone sold with a licensed manufacturer nets the technology giant between $3 and $5.
Of course, not everyone’s thrilled with the arrangement. Google objected to Microsoft “extorting” Android original equipment manufacturers, saying that they hindered the progress of innovation. Microsoft executive succinctly replied on Twitter with a single word: “Waaah!”
I’m sure that the manufacturers themselves aren’t thrilled with the arrangements, and neither are consumers or carriers, who will share the burden of a more expensive product. And to be perfectly honest, Microsoft would probably trade the relatively small amount of kickback money they’re getting for a phone platform that wasn’t stuck in the “other” section of the market share pie charts. To sum up, nobody’s very happy with the state of licensing fees — Microsoft’s just unhappy all the way to the bank.