In 2010, Microsoft secured a licensing deal with HTC that raised a few eyebrows. No, it wasn’t anything to do with Windows Phone 7. It had to do with HTC‘s Android phones, which Microsoft asserted infringed upon several of the company’s patents. Fast forward to this year, and the $5 per phone HTC pays to Microsoft had generated more revenue than sales of its own Windows Phone 7 licenses.
Additonal deals have been announced since, with Velocity Micro and Onkyo both agreeing to remit royalties for their Android tablets. U.S. military contractor General Dynamics Itronix has also signed on for its ruggedized Android devices. While dollar amounts weren’t revealed, it’s understood that Microsoft is seeking between $7.50 and $12.50 as it continues to exert patent pressure on OEMs.
Now, another license agreement has been struck. This time it’s with Taiwan’s Wistron, which was spun off as a stand-alone manufacturer in 2000 by Acer. As an added twist this go-round, Microsoft is claiming infringements not only from Wistron’s Android efforts (which include the Acer Iconia Tab and Liquid smartphones), but also its Chrome OS products.
Wistron has only just begun churning out Acer’s Chromebook, the AC700 (nee Cromia). The launch of the cloud-powered, 12″ AC700 has already been delayed more than once, and it’s now set to go up for sale on July 11th. Whether these delays have anything to do with Microsoft’s royalty requests remain to be seen, but the timing of the announcement certainly makes one wonder.
One thing is certain: Microsoft might be losing a bit of the netbook market to Android tablets, but the company is doing everything it can to claw back any licensing dollars that might have gone missing.
Read more at Geekwire and Microsoft