Google’s complaints about patent-based attacks against Android don’t seem to be doing the company any good. We all know Steve Jobs pledged to destroy Android, claiming it stole its ideas from Apple’s iOS. Yet what is likely an even bigger threat comes from Microsoft, which claims that more than half of all Android devices are now subject to patent licensing agreements.
What does that mean? When you buy an Android phone, there’s a good chance either the vendor whose name is on the device or one of the manufacturers who contributed hardware to it is paying Microsoft a fee for each sale. Today, Microsoft announced an agreement with Compal, an original design manufacturer that produces smartphones and tablets for third parties and takes in $28 billion in annual revenue. This was the “tenth license agreement providing coverage under our patent portfolio for Android mobile phones and tablets,” and the ninth in the last four months, Microsoft lawyers Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez write in a blog post.