Microsoft’s intellectual property war is on a roll: The company just announced its third patent deal with an Android vendor this week.
As before, Microsoft is not saying much about the deal, other than that it is getting paid out of the agreement in recompense for Onkyo using its intellectual property:
Microsoft Corp. and Onkyo Corporation have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for certain Onkyo tablets running the Android Platform. Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from Onkyo under the agreement.
Not everyone is rolling over, however. Barnes and Noble is fighting Microsoft tooth and nail over the issue, saying that:
Barnes and Noble claims that Microsoft charges high prices for use of its intellectual property that the Redmond software giant contends relates to Android, and in the process makes Android “unusable and unattractive to both consumers and device manufacturers through exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions.”
But Barnes and Noble is not taking the matter sitting down. It contends that Microsoft has no place to be collecting revenues from companies that employ Android, because “Microsoft did not invent, research, develop, or make available to the public mobile devices employing the Android Operating System and other open source operating systems.” And yet, again according to Barnes and Noble, the company “seeks to dominate something it did not invent.”
Microsoft vigorously disagrees. The company’s opinion on its fight with Barnes and Noble outlines their entire philosophy on the matter at hand, and relates directly to why Onkyo, General Dynamics, and Velocity Micro have signed deals:
“Our lawsuits against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec are founded upon their actions, and the issue is their infringement of our intellectual property rights. In seeking to protect our intellectual property, we are doing what any other company in our situation would do.”
The money at stake here is real: it is rumored that HTC is paying Microsoft between five and ten dollars for every Android unit that it ships. When you contemplate the total volume of Android handsets that are sold, Microsoft could be setting itself up to be a major collector of Android profits through its intellectual property battles.
At least so long as Barnes and Noble doesn’t win their battle. We’ll continue to bring you the news of new deals as they happen.