Microsoft and Dell today announced a patent licensing agreement that will allow the companies to share technology and “build on each other’s innovations.” While the duo didn’t reveal too many details, three product lines were mentioned: Android, Chrome OS, and Xbox.
Microsoft and Dell say they have agreed to license each other’s applicable intellectual property related to Android and Chrome OS devices as well as Xbox gaming consoles. The terms state Dell will pay Microsoft royalties for Dell’s products running either Android or Chrome OS, and Microsoft will be “on consideration to Dell for a license for Xbox gaming consoles.”
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While it’s unlikely Dell will suddenly start building and selling its own Xbox consoles, it may mean the company can use technologies like the Kinect in its PCs. In that case, Microsoft would be licensing some intellectual property used in its Xbox consoles for Dell to use for its own purposes.
“Our agreement with Dell shows what can be accomplished when companies share intellectual property,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement. “We have been partnering with technology manufacturers and vendors for many years to craft licensing deals, instead of litigation strategies.”
Dell’s vice president of End User Computing Products Neil Hand added: “Today’s announcement builds on our history of collaborating to bring new technologies to market. The relationship between Dell and Microsoft continues to help Dell deliver choice and flexibility to customers looking for the best technology to meet their needs.”
In short, this is yet another Microsoft deal to sign Android and Chrome OS patent agreements, with a twist. Clearly Dell has negotiated something more than just forking over money for whatever patents Microsoft claims Android and Chrome OS infringe.
Unfortunately, we won’t know what that is until Dell is ready to share what new product it is working on. As the computer maker is now a private company, it doesn’t have to reveal anything.
Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble