We live in a world where people can own tangible “things” as well as intangible “things”. These intangibles include copyrights, trade and service marks, patents, and other kinds of Intellectual Property. This leads to some problems as one company brings its innovations to market, only to find out it has somehow infringed on another’s IP. When this happens the two try to work it out though a settlement or licensing agreement. If those negotiations fail, complaints are submitted to national and international regulatory bodies, and lawsuits are filed to enjoin the other from selling or otherwise distributing the products which contain the allegedly infringing “property”.
Microsoft holds a lot of patents, and has managed to convince the majority of OEMs that smartphones and tablets powered by Google’s Android operating system somehow contain code that infringes on Microsoft’s IP. Rather than fight it out in court, most OEMs have opted to license the property to which Microsoft lays claim. Though the contents of these licensing agreements are secret, rumors infer that Microsoft collects around $50 to $70 per device in licensing fees. This amount is arguably greater than that which Microsoft charges for a copy of Windows Phone.
If OEMs pay Microsoft more to license “stuff” when they load Android on their devices, why not simply buy a license for Windows Phone (which presumably includes all that “stuff”) and save a few bucks? That could be just what HTC is doing, if the rumors are accurate.
If you haven’t heard, HTC and Microsoft have apparently had talks to get HTC devices dual-booting Windows Phone and Android. On the surface, that sounds cool. You could get one device that runs two out of the top three mobile operating systems all in one package. Although I doubt you’d be able to hot-switch between the two operating systems, rebooting into the other would only take a few moments.
It’s unlikely that the operating systems will be able to share content with the other, so on-board storage will need to be doubled to make this kind of scenario actually work, but that’s not the interesting part.
We all know that businesses of every type are trying to cut costs. This could be a creative way that HTC is able to both satisfy Microsoft’s licensing agreement as well as save some much needed cash. It could also increase the number of “Windows Phones” that Microsoft could report to media outlets — and their shareholders.
This could also be HTC trying to differentiate their product line as being the only one good enough, fast enough, or otherwise “able” enough to run either Android or Windows Phone. It would be the only company doing so. That alone could be an amazing marketing move!
There’s might be some other motive behind the rumor. Could Microsoft be strong-arming HTC to put Windows Phone on their otherwise Android-exclusive devices? Could HTC have been given a mafia-esque “deal it cannot refuse”? Since the details of deals like this are usually pretty hush-hush, we may never know the true motivation behind the alleged talks, and it’s entirely possible it’s all just unfounded rumors.
Regardless, either case sure makes from some interesting conversation.
Image Credit: (CC) niXerKG