How Apple Led The High-Stakes Patent Poker Win Against Google, Sealing Ballmer’s Promise | TechCrunch

“It’s not like Android’s free. Android has a patent fee. You do have to license patents.”

That was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an interview last year with The Wall Street Journal. At the time, Microsoft was on the verge of releasing their first Windows Phone 7 devices, and knew their best hope in the market would be to go after Android — the same OS which quickly ran Windows Mobile into extinction. In the months that have followed, right or wrong, it looks like Microsoft is slowly but surely forcing Google’s OEM partners for Android to agree with this stance.

The reality is that for an increasing number of these partners now, Android is not free. It doesn’t require the licensing fees that Windows Phone does, but it does require a patent fee. A fee paid to Microsoft, not Google, mind you.

If Microsoft is able to convince (or force) Samsung to pay this fee as well, it’s likely lights out for Android as a free OS, as Tom Krazit rightly points out on paidContent today. And with Microsoft and now HP offering their own rival mobile OSes backed by a vast array of patent protection, some of these OEM partners may begin to think twice about their firm Android commitments. At least, that’s undoubtedly Microsoft’s hope. Android as a free mobile OS that rivals iOS in terms of functionality is an unbelievable value proposition. But Android as an OS that requires you to pay Microsoft for each unit shipped is less so.

Read the entire article here:
How Apple Led The High-Stakes Patent Poker Win Against Google, Sealing Ballmer’s Promise.


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