updated 11:20 am EDT, Sun October 23, 2011
Compal now gives Microsoft 50pc of ODMs licensed
Microsoft picked an unusual Sunday timeframe to reveal that it had struck a patent licensing deal with Compal. The deal will make Compal pay a royalty for every Android and Chrome OS device it makes under contract for others. As with every other deal from Microsoft, the exact terms weren't made public.
The Compal pact is unique as a milestone for Microsoft, which now has more than half of the contract electronics companies making licenses. Deals have already been made with Quanta less than two weeks ago and with Wistron from this past July.
Microsoft's agreements remain controversial. Similar to the Linux licensing strategy it started in 2003, virtually no one has made a definitive challenge of the patents' legitimacy. The Windows developer claims to effectively own the rights to any Linux-based OS, but it has also counted on its financial clout and legal experience to deter companies from contesting its patents in court. Many can't afford either the costs of a defense or the risk of having their products banned.
The main challenger so far is Motorola, which has been countersuing Microsoft and refusing to make a license. Its only smartphone OS is Android, unlike Windows Phone-using rivals such as HTC and Samsung, and it's widely rumored that Microsoft provides 'discounts' for companies that use its OS.