List of Companies that Pay Royalties to Microsoft for Using Android OS


According to Microsoft, Google's Android OS is infringing on many of its patents and hence those manufacturers who use Android for their devices owe royalties to Microsoft. But the intriguing fact is that, instead of suing Google itself for infringing on its patents, Microsoft is finding it easy to sue or threaten smaller firms which don't have the financial muscle to fight a legal battle with the Redmond troll giant. Following is the list of companies who are already paying royalties or being sued by Microsoft for using Android.

Companies That Pay Microsoft Royalties for Using Android

Velocity Micro
Velocity Micro is a computer manufacturer whose product line includes gaming systems, notebooks, netbooks, home entertainment media centers among others. In 2010, Velocity Micro entered the eReader and tablet PC race with the release of Android based Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet. In June 2011, the two companies signed on a deal that will make Velocity Micro pay royalties to Microsoft for using Android on its Cruz range of devices.

General Dynamics Itronix
General Dynamics Itronix is a manufacturer of rugged computing devices that include tablets that run on Android. Again in June 2011, General Dynamics Itronix signed an agreement with Microsoft in which the former will pay royalties to Microsoft for infringing on its patents.

Onkyo Corporation
Onkyo Corporation is a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, specializing in home cinema and audio equipment including receivers and surround sound speakers. Onkyo released two 10.1 inch tablets earlier this year and as expected, both runs Android OS. According to the agreement between Onkyo and Microsoft, Onkyo will pay royalties to Microsoft though the exact amount was not revealed.

Wistron Corporation
Wistron Corporation is the latest of the lot. Wistron is an original design manufacturer from Taiwan. Few days ago, Microsoft and Wistron announced that they have signed a license agreement according to which the latter will pay Microsoft royalties for using Google's Android OS in its designs for tablets, e-readers and smart phones.

Barnes & Noble Being Sued by Microsoft
Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble over their Android based Nook ebook reader in March 2011. Rationale remains the same - Android OS infringes on its patents and companies who use the platform needs to pay up.

Microsoft - HTC Deal
The Microsoft - HTC deal started it all. In early 2010, Microsoft and HTC jointly announced a patent deal that will provide broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC's range of smart phones running Android OS and HTC will pay Microsoft an undisclosed sum for these intellectual property rights.

Microsoft Wants $15 on Every Android Mobile That Samsung Sells
According to Reuters, Microsoft Corp has demanded that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd pay $15 for each smartphone handset it makes based on Google Inc's Android operating system as the software giant has a wide range of patents used in the mobile platform. It seems like Samsung is seeking a settlement with Microsoft for a lower royalty amount of $10 in exchange of a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the company's Windows Phone platform.

Why Microsoft is not suing Google?
To answer that particular question, I will quote PCWorld, "In the technology industry, device manufacturers are the point in the chain of commerce at which steps are taken to clear third party patent rights. The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft's patents, and companies shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights." 

Another quote from the same article -"Software patents are often too vague and broad, and many probably should never have been granted in the first place. But, assuming Android does violate Microsoft patents, it seems reasonable to expect those profiting from the inclusion of those patents to pay some sort of licensing fees."

Reasonable sounding argument I would say. But there lies the problem. As noted in one of the comments, if Android violates Microsoft's patents, then so does Apple's iOS, RIM's Blackberry OS and Nokia's Symbian OS. Why Microsoft is going after the only free and open source OS of the lot and not the proprietary ones? Whatever might be the answer, it seems like Microsoft is not going to stop without suing every single hardware vendor selling Android OS.
image source: gadgetsteria

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