Reports from CES 2012 indicate that Windows Phone 7 may be a competitive mobile platform, however Microsoft has decided to hedge its bets and continue making money from Android by signing a patent-licensing agreement with LG. The terms of the agreement will likely require LG to pay Microsoft royalties for all LG tablets, phones, and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome OS platform. This deal likely mirrors Microsoft's ten previous patent-licensing agreements with Android and Chrome OS manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, Acer, and ViewSonic.
Microsoft recently released Halo Waypoint to the Android Market, bringing an official multiplayer companion to the palm of your hand. The app has a surprising amount of awesome features, including live overhead views of multiplayer maps (with weapon, vehicle, and player locations), score information, and the ability to "stay in contact with your Halo friends on Xbox LIVE no matter where you are."
On top of all that, Halo Waypoint tracks your career and campaign progress and stats according to weapons and enemies, and enables users to invite friends to challenges from their mobile device.
Things are getting a bit more interesting in the ongoing fight between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble. You'll remember that earlier this year, Microsoft began suing B&N for refusing to fork over Android-related fees from the Nook Color. Barnes & Noble has responded, alleging in its motion that Microsoft "is using its licensing practices to improperly broaden the scope of its patents in an attempt to dominate mobile operating systems such as Android that threaten Microsoft's monopoly in personal computer ("PC") operating systems." It may sound odd at first that Microsoft would be at Android's throat over PC operating systems, but indeed, it was recently discovered that Microsoft attempted to compel Google to provide its Android strategy, including information about Android's current abilities as a PC platform.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced its latest Android licensing deal with Taiwanese manufacturer Compal, marking the company's tenth such agreement to date. While such a small manufacturer in terms of market share makes little overall difference in Microsoft's profits derived from Android, its deals with HTC and Samsung, combined with various smaller manufacturers like Compal, means it now receives royalties from over half of all Android smartphones sold in the US (the figure may be even larger on a global scale).
Anyone out there still use Hotmail? No? Okay, never mind.
I kid, I kid. I know there are plenty of people who still use Hotmail, and if you fall into that category, you'll be glad to know that an official Android app just landed in the Market.
The Hotmail app brings key features from your Microsoft mail experience to your mobile device, including:
- Push mail
- Calendar and contact sync
- Folder and sub-folder support
- Send/receive attachments
- Multiple account support
So, all you Hotmail lovers, head over the Android Market to grab your piece of hot-and-fresh mail-on-the-go-pie.
It certainly seems like it. Yesterday, Microsoft announced via blog that it had concluded negotiations with Samsung and reached a licensing deal for the same seven patents it previously licensed to HTC for Android (along with other, smaller Android manufacturers). There were rumblings about just what royalty rate Samsung is paying, but the guess is anywhere from $5 to $15 per handset (it's likely on a percentage-of-MSRP basis - so think about 1-3% per $500 MSRP phone).
If you head over to FOSSPatents this morning, you'll find a rather lengthy article about Google's acquisition of Motorola that ends with the following conclusion:
Google bought MMI to prevent the worst for Google's strategy, not to make things better for everyone else.
In a way, the $12.5 billion price represents protection money. But not in the way most people seem to think.
This statement is obviously contrary to the heaps of coverage the Motorola-Google deal received from major news outlets, blogs, and Android enthusiasts.
When Google's General Counsel, David Drummond, posted the first real public response by the search giant to the intellectual property war being waged on Android, the techblogosphere just about peed their collective pants in excitement. Everyone loves a good flame war, it's true. Google called out Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle - by name - publicly. It doesn't get much better than that.
Unfortunately, this probably isn't going to help Google's ongoing battles with those companies, and it's not going to help the company's public image, either.
In a recent patent suit between HTC and Apple, the US International Trade Commission found the Taiwanese manufacturer liable on two counts of patent infringement in its Android-based devices (see our earlier post for a detailed analysis of the case and its effects).
Although this suit only involves Apple and HTC, its legal ramifications could affect Android as a whole - since the alleged infringements are core parts of the Android OS developed by Google.
You've all probably heard bits and pieces of news about a company called Lodsys in the last couple of weeks, (they've been "patent trolling" iOS app developers) even if you don't really keep up on all things fruit-related. If you're not familiar with the story, let me give you a quick rundown.
Lodsys is what we affectionately refer to as a "patent troll" - a company that buys up promising and often vague or [overly] broad patents in a hope of using them to threaten to sue the pants off people that they know might be infringing on them.