Microsoft's latest patent-licensing deal for devices using Android and Google's Chrome OS is with Compal Electronics. The deal comes on the heels of a wide-ranging patent pact Microsoft inked in September with Samsung; Samsung, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, will become the world's largest smartphone maker in the third quarter. The Samsung deal, coupled with ones with HTC, Acer, Winstron, Quanta Computer and others, means that the companies responsible for 53 percent of U.S. Android shipments in the second quarter now license Microsoft patents.
"For those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it's past time to wake up," Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, and Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, wrote in a company blog post. "As Microsoft has entered new markets from the enterprise to the Xbox, we've put together comprehensive licensing programs that address not only our own needs but the needs of our customers and partners as well. As our recent agreements clearly show, Android handset manufacturers are now doing the same thing. Ultimately, that's a good path for everyone."
Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) remains the one major U.S. Android player that has not inked a licensing deal with Microsoft. Google announced plans in August to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion, in part for its patent portfolio.
Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president of mobile, said last week at AllThingsD's Asia:D conference that he hoped for a "patent peace where people aren't suing each other for competitive advantage." Andy Lees, Microsoft's Windows Phone chief, countered later at the conference that Microsoft is not trying to stop Android innovation, but "we're just trying to make sure that we protect our intellectual property."
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