updated 02:35 pm EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
Microsoft and Quanta make patent deal
Microsoft continued its patent campaign against Android on Thursday by striking a licensing deal with contract device builder Quanta. The Taiwan firm will pay Microsoft keep making computers, smartphones, and tablets for other companies. A boilerplate statement from Microsoft didn't give terms other than to confirm the expected word that Quanta would pay royalties.
The strategy has drawn criticism both to Google and to Microsoft. Google has been accused of mimicking 1990s-era Microsoft by price dumping, or using dominance in one area to undercut the prices others have to charge in another. It has simultaneously been accused of taking a cavalier attitude to patents and copyrights, regardless of their legitimacy, and has sometimes borrowed code that it knows it should have licensed.
The Windows developer, however, has been accused of charging unreasonable rates and in some cases simply using a license under the threat of a lawsuit in order to punish companies for using a rival's platform. Leaks have usually pointed to those who make Windows Phones, such as HTC and Samsung, getting a relative discount on the fee. Many of the companies targeted for the full rate also don't have the money or patent collection to challenge the validity of the patents, with the exception being Motorola.
Unofficial estimates suggest that, regardless of authenticity, Microsoft's Android and Chrome patent licensing has been much more profitable than its declining Windows Phone, making as much as $444 million in the course of a given year.