updated 09:50 am EDT, Mon June 27, 2011
General Dynamics avoids Microsoft lawsuit threat
Rugged PC builder General Dynamics Itronix on Monday became the latest company pushed into signing a patent deal with Microsoft simply by choosing to use Android. The firm will pay Microsoft an unspecified amount in royalties for every device it makes running the Google OS. Although GDI doesn't make any Android devices yet, the company's Strategic Computing Solutions lead Mark Johnston has used the deal to tout Android as a superior alternative for some parts of his company's currently Windows-only lineup.
"The completion of this agreement enables Itronix to meet the evolving demands of our customers with more diverse applications and increased functionality in products that incorporate the Android platform," he says.
Similar to its approach to trying to stifle competition from Linux, Microsoft believes it owns patents inherent to Android and signs patent deals with companies only under the threat of a lawsuit if they don't comply. The company is also believed to have dual standards where its aggressiveness and rates change depending on relative support for Windows or Windows Phone. Dell, LG, and Samsung haven't made public showings of signing an Android deal with Microsoft, but key Android supporter HTC has made a deal even with WP7 phones.
Barnes & Noble, which not only doesn't but can't use any Microsoft platforms, has accused Microsoft of charging extortionate rates closer to those of a desktop OS simply because its Android-based Nook readers are more tablet-like.
Apple has also been suing Android makers with discouraging competition as a primary goal, but its focus has been on case-by-case disputes rather than blanket assertions that it owns licensing rights for another company's entire platform.