updated 08:15 am EDT, Wed July 6, 2011
MS faces resistance on Samsung Android payments
Microsoft is finally pushing Samsung in its attempt to collect patent royalties from every Android manufacturer, according to leaks from the Korean media. The Maeil Business Newspaper understood that Microsoft was trying to get $15 for every Android device Samsung makes. The company was reportedly hoping to lower that royalty down to $10 in return for providing stronger support for Windows Phone.
Neither Samsung nor Microsoft commented on the claims.
The request would be a rare one for Microsoft. Most of its campaign has targeted smaller companies that either supply Android manufacturers or only use Android for their mobile hardware, such as Barnes & Noble or Velocity Micro. Conspicuously, Microsoft has usually avoided targeting its Windows Phone partners, such as Dell and LG, even when they make most of their revenue from Android hardware.
Microsoft does collect Android patent royalties from HTC but is widely known to be charging less than for others since HTC is also a Windows Phone partner. If the claims are accurate, Samsung may be counting on similar loyalty after having some of the most important Windows Phone devices, like the Samsung Focus. That it didn't get an automatic break may be an indication of Microsoft's unhappiness with Samsung's sheer importance in Android with the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab lines.
Critics have accused Microsoft of using lawsuits as a substitute for fair competition and have drawn parallels to the American company's behavior in the pre-antitrust days, where it required that companies charge for a copy of Windows on every PC even when it was using Linux or another rival. Early looks have suggested it's actually making more from royalties on Android than sales of WP7 hardware. Patents give Microsoft a safer platform to make its case than what it had in the 1990s but also haven't been seriously challenged in court so far.