As Android gains popularity and market share among mobile phone users and device manufactures, there are a few things that are happening. It’s a pretty weird web of connections that points to some interesting results. As we know, Android is a free Operating System for mobile devices created by Google. It has brought us phones like the Google Nexus and, more recently, the HTC Incredible. According to AdMob, Android traffic has surpassed that of the iPhone, so Android has become a big deal relatively fast in a mobile world dominated by Apple and Microsoft.
HTC is probably the most well known for making Android phones. The Nexus itself runs the Android OS on HTC hardware. Earlier this year, Apple attacked HTC, saying that HTC has infringed on at least 20 of Apple’s patents. Most of these relate to the OS, which is Android on most of their recent devices. Of course, HTC has been in the game a while now and it’s still debatable as to whether all of Apple’s accusations are true or not. So, it seems that HTC is in for a battle based on features of the OS it’s running, which was developed by Google.
Now that HTC is battling it out with Apple over these alleged patent infractions, we suddenly here about a back-door deal between Microsoft and HTC. For many of their non-Android devices, HTC is running Windows Mobile. It appears that Microsoft is planning to go after the Android OS regarding patents, but HTC’s new royalty deal with Microsoft seems to protect it from facing a two-front patent battle with Apple on one side and Microsoft on the other.
“We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations,” Microsoft IP deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement. “We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform.”
The details of HTC’s deal are not available, but Microsoft is allegedly already in talks with other manufacturers to reach deals regarding the Android OS. HTC, Samsung, and Sony Erricson will probably avoid any serious problems because they also make Windows Mobile phones. They already have an existing working relationship with Microsoft, but Motorola dumped Windows Mobile entirely in favor of Android. We can only wonder how that choice may come back to bite them.
As it stands, it looks like Microsoft has found a way to earn royalties off of a free operating system developed by Google. Having gone after HTC already, Apple may be looking to go at other Android phone makers. In the end, Microsoft and Apple could end up splitting Android like a wishbone, but I wonder if Google is even worried.Category: News | Tags: android, apple, google, HTC, Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson