Microsoft to net more mobile profits from Android licenses

General Dynamics Itronix becomes second company to pay Microsoft licensing fees for Google's open source platform

Microsoft profits from mobile licenses are poised for a bigger increase -- due, ironically, to increased sales of Android devices, not Windows Phone 7 devices, as reported earlier this month by InfoWorld contributor Woody Leonhard.

Microsoft noted on Tuesday that it has convinced a second company, hardware maker General Dynamics Itronix, to pay licensing fees for the Android phones it manufactures. The Redmond giant has claimed since last year that it owns patents on unspecified technologies used in the open source platform. Since then, Microsoft has given target companies two choices: Pay us licensing fees or we'll see you in court.

The first company to agree to such a deal (publicly, anyway) was HTC, back in April of last year. The terms of that agreement dictated that HTC had to fork over $5 for each Android-loaded phone it rolled out.

Other companies, however, have been slapped with lawsuits after rejecting Microsoft's demands, including Barnes & Noble, which uses Android for its Nook e-reader, and Motorola, makers of Android-powered devices such as in its Droid line.

Microsoft isn't alone in going after Google and Android. Oracle sued Google for infringing on Java technology in Android back in August 2010. Meanwhile, plenty of other lawsuits have emerged over mobile patent infringement: Apple sued HTC in March, claiming HTC has infringed on 20 patents related to the iPhone user interface and underlying architecture and hardware. Nokia and Apple have sued one another; Nokia claimed the iPhone infringes on patents covering wireless data, speed encoding, security, and encryption and Apple countersued, accusing Nokia of infringing 12 Apple patents. The list goes on.

The notable difference between Microsoft and the other companies engaged in lawsuits: Microsoft is the only one that has managed to make a buck from its patent-infringement claims -- if you don't count the various law firms raking in the dough as they go to battle for their respective clients.

This story, "Microsoft to net more mobile profits from Android licenses," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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