Microsoft is now asserting its own patent rights on Windows Mobile technologies that are found within Google’s Android operating system. The company is now working with Android OEMs to try to rectify the situation and HTC is the first OEM to cross-license Windows Mobile technologies for its own Android license–a surprising situation since the culprit of this patent claim is against Google, not its hardware partners. Still, it looks like HTC doesn’t want to be involved over another embittered battle considering the situation it has gotten itself in with Apple.
According to the Microsoft press release, “Microsoft Corp. and HTC Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.”
We’re wondering if other manufacturers that churn out Android and Windows Mobile/Windows Phone smartphones will be as generous with the cash to cross-license Microsoft’s technologies on behalf of Google. Microsoft sure is treading in delicate waters as it doesn’t want to alienate OEMs to its own Windows Phone platforms and have them jump to Google.
With other technology firms–particularly Microsoft and Apple–arguing that Android infringes upon their intellectual properties and OEMs taking the fall for the situation rather than Google, it remains to be seen how much cheaper it is to create an Android handset versus a Windows Phone device–the hardware costs should be comparable for both (they essentially use the same technologies of radios, touchscreens, and sensors) and the difference should be the software costs.