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Microsoft Wants $15 Per Android Smartphone 361

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
sfcrazy writes "Microsoft Corp has demanded that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd pay $15 for each smartphone handset it makes based on Google Inc's Android operating system. The software giant claims to own a wide range of patents used in the mobile platform. From the article: 'Samsung would likely seek to lower the payment to about $10 in exchange for a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the U.S. company's Windows platform, the Maeil Business Newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials as saying.'"
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Microsoft Wants $15 Per Android Smartphone

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  • Windows Phone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FrankSchwab (675585) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @02:46PM (#36673778) Journal

    How much does Microsoft want to license Windows Phone OS? My understanding is...around $15.

    So, $15 to license Windows Phone 7 with a bunch of software that Microsoft paid to develop and has to maintain along with patent licenses, or $15 to license Android that doesn't contain a single line of Microsoft code but needs the patent licenses? I'm sure their patents are worth something, but this seems a wee bit overpriced.

    • Re:Windows Phone (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:03PM (#36673986)
      I believe this is some of Barnes and Nobels defense. ie they are asking more than it costs to license their entire OS stack so therefore it is an unreasonable license fee and is designed to block use of the software( Android ). Blocking can bring them back into court for anti-trust. Remember, they are associating WP7 with both Xbox and other Microsoft services and software.

      no doubt many have already decided to give Microsoft the money instead of fighting them and only a very few are fighting. Too bad those fights will be dragged out for years.

      LoB
    • Re:Windows Phone (Score:5, Insightful)

      by surmak (1238244) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:03PM (#36673996)

      I wonder if there are antitrust implications of licensing the patents for that same price that they sell the software for.

    • by PickyH3D (680158)

      That's the entire point. They want to A) say that Android isn't free, nor is it as profitable as a result. And B) show that for a similar licensing fee or less, you can (as a company) quit forcing your customers into a no-win upgrade cycle that Apple has gotten out of doing. Microsoft is almost certainly asking for $15 while aiming to be haggled down to around $10 with a stronger partnership negotiated for WP7, which follows Apple's one-year (or maybe they'll go to semi-annual) upgrade path. To be frank, Sa

    • Devil's Advocate (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pavon (30274) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:53PM (#36674630)

      If Google is allowed to make Android available to anyone for free, then why shouldn't Microsoft be allowed to competitively price their mobile OS at $0 as well? From that point of view it costs $15 for the mobile patent licenses either way, and WP7 is thrown in for free.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @02:49PM (#36673808)

    Eventually this will wind up with either Samsung entering a "mutual" royalty agreement where undisclosed patents are licensed by guys in trenchcoats, on a bridge, in fog.

    Or, they'll go into court and to to patentville USA Marshall TX where every scumbag patent thicket group brings their IP litigation. It's friendlier in East Texas y'all.

    It's the cost of doing business I guess.

    • by deadhammer (576762) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:46PM (#36674556)
      There's a solution to this, of course: refuse to do business in Marshall, TX. Don't open stores there, don't sell phones there, don't allow people with IP addresses from that range into your app store, and insert a catch-all clause in your EULA that you don't support users from Marshall. That way you've removed yourself from their jurisdiction and you can't be sued there. Repeat with each new lawsuit haven that springs up.
  • Dear Microsoft, you don't innovate by rent-seeking. This is why no one cares what you are doing anymore. You have become irrelevant, like the other tech giants before you.

  • by Archtech (159117) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @02:54PM (#36673866)

    Does anyone know exactly what Microsoft's patents involve? Without knowing that, it's hard to make sense of any of these stories.

    Based on the published newspaper articles so far, though, I must say it looks as if patent law is being used to accomplish the exact opposite of its supposed intent. Rather than guaranteeing an inventor the sole enjoyment of revenue from its innovations for a period, it is being used by a company that is not a serious player in the market to impede others from selling their products - and to give it a substantial stream of wholly unearned revenue.

    • While your other points may be true, what makes you think MS is not a serious player in the market? They have a full blown product with 25,000 apps written for it, and are actively going to release a huge update this year and planning another one next year. It isn't some random patent troll in East Texas.

    • by GNUman (155139) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @04:52PM (#36675434)
      Patents are mentioned and refuted in Barnes & Noble's response ( http://www.groklaw.net/pdf2/MSvB&Nanswer.pdf ).

      They include:

      (in parenthesis: page and paragraph in document where validity of patent is put in question)

      Patent 5,778,372: "Remote Retrieval and Display Management of Electronic Document with Incorporated Images". This refers to loading the text of a web-page before the background image. (page 16, paragraph 33)

      Patent 6,339,780: "Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Available Display Area". This basically treats putting the "Loading" message inside the page area instead of the toolbar. (page 16, paragraph 32)

      Patent 5,889,522: "System Provided Child Window Controls". (page 17, paragraph 34)

      Patent 6,891,551: "Selection Handles in Editing Electronic Documents". (page 17, paragraph 35)

      Patent 6,957,233: "Method and Apparatus for Capturing and Rendering Annotations for Non-Modifiable Electronic Content". (page 17, paragraph 36)

      Patents 5,579,517 and 5,758,352. Dealing with file name compatibility between different OS (page 14, paragraph 29)

      Patents 6,791,536 and 6,897,853. Simulating mouse inputs without a mouse (page 15, paragraph 30)

      Patent 5,652,913. Shared data structure for storing input/output data (age 16, paragraph 31).
  • Then, what if i entitle myself to $15 worth of pirated microsoft products in return ?
    • by oakgrove (845019)
      Hey, I pay good money for Microsoft products. Do you have any idea how much broadband internet costs around here?
    • by isorox (205688)

      Then, what if i entitle myself to $15 worth of pirated microsoft products in return ?

      Then microsoft win again, as you're using their product rather than a competitor.

  • a pony.

  • Embedding an entire OS (WindRiver VXWorks) costs around $15 per system. Putting Java on a Blu-ray player or phone costs in a similar range ($5-15 I believe).

    Microsoft contributed nothing to the development of this phone, except being the first ones to patent specific ideas. I'm all for protecting processes, but our patent system really needs to be fixed.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Microsoft contributed nothing to the development of this phone, except being the first ones to patent specific ideas. I'm all for protecting processes, but our patent system really needs to be fixed.

      Substitute "a small inventor in his garage" though...

      A small inventor in his garage contributed nothing to the development of this phone, except being the first one to patent specific ideas.

      Would he have a claim to force Samsung to pay up? Would you support him, or crap all over him?

      • "Would you support him, or crap all over him?"

        Can't I just IGNORE HIM??? Why do you present this FALSE DICHOTOMY???

        "being the first one to patent specific ideas"

        Unless you have something specific in mind, this is nothing more than a useless STRAW MAN ARGUMENT.

        Please come back when you learn how to express yourself without falling into the most obvious logical fallacies.

      • Substitute "a small inventor in his garage" though...

        The small inventor in his garage can't afford to defend his patent. A major corporation can violate it all they want and never pay a dime.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Samsung would fight him and bankrupt him in court. The patent system is not for the little guy, never was.

    • Before the iPhone or even the existence of Google, Microsoft was developing and selling millions of mobile devices and created many patents on them. Sure, most were nonstarters or even lame, but they showed a lot of people, including Steve Jobs, what might work and what to avoid. If Microsoft tries to recoup their investment, can you really blame them?

      Sure you can!!! Have at it.
      • by Necroman (61604)

        Before the iPhone or even the existence of Google, Microsoft was developing and selling millions of mobile devices and created many patents on them. Sure, most were nonstarters or even lame, but they showed a lot of people, including Steve Jobs, what might work and what to avoid. If Microsoft tries to recoup their investment, can you really blame them?

        Not really. Part of me understands that capitalism needs this. But at the same time, the holders of the patents aren't sharing their technology, or charge absurd prices for simple ideas.

        We really just need to reduce the length of software patents.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          mmm, I would prefer the complete removal of software patents. The way software is developed, they thought process, the community. A;; this are different from software then hardware. Plus, hardware is dependent on software, so removing software from the patent process in no way inhibits it's innovation.

          It should fall under copyright.

  • by TopSpin (753)

    Samsung Galaxy S II Astonishes With 3 Million Units Sold in 55 Days [christianpost.com]

    So there is $45 million that Microsoft figures Samsung must owe at $15 a pop. At that pace Microsoft expects about $289 million a year.

    I suspect, and hope, that Samsung will figure they can risk a fraction of that to fight the legal battle for a few years. Perhaps invalidate a mass of patents ah la Oracle/Google.

    • Re:Fight! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:19PM (#36674192) Homepage

      Yes. This seems like a reasonable business choice. $15 is a ridiculous figure. I have heard that figure is what Microsoft charges for their own mobile OS. This certainly doesn't seem to be "reasonable and non-discriminatory" licensing. I say fight too. Also, it's a little entertaining to see all the crap go down as it has been. There seems to be a massive increase in [software] patent litigation and I have to wonder when everyone playing the game will finally realize we are all better off without it.

      • This certainly doesn't seem to be "reasonable and non-discriminatory" licensing.

        Note that RAND is not a legal requirement for patents.

        (though perhaps it should be)

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      But you have to look at the downside for Samsung if they win. They open the door to the idea that these patents are just hogwash, and then patents start getting invalidated all over the place. The next thing you know, new companies, little bitty upstarts that aren't even public companies listed on a valid exchange, are able to compete in the market. Big companies don't have a "patent club" to beat them down with anymore.

      Samsung won't have any of that.

  • First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. - Mahatma Gandi

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:14PM (#36674146)

    One thing that makes me really sick is to see a [powerful] company like Google sit idly by and simply watch trolls like Microsoft smear the Android OS.

    Does Google think Microsoft's actions elevate Android's profile?

    This is what I would do if I were Google:

    Change Android's licence to at least require that any patent agreement entered into by an Android licensee with parties like Microsoft particularly pertaining to Android's 'infringements' be made public at least as far as what patents are involved.

    Is this too much to expect?

    • "require that any patent agreement entered into by an Android licensee with parties like Microsoft"

      Bizarre way of thinking...

      The only possible outcome for google in your scenario is that people will not bother to sign contracts with them.

      Microsoft is at least claiming some sort of legal reason to restrain their customers, this... not so much.

      • by bogaboga (793279)

        No contracts need to be signed. The requirement is to just meet license conditions, period.

        That is..."If you are to get into any patent licencing agreements pertaining to Android, these particular patents must be made public."

        After-all, the patents themselves *are* public knowledge, right?

    • Because they've nothing much to win from doing that?

      Samsung's might be quite willing to pay $15 per device. They're probably not about to stop shipping Android because of it.

      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        They are selling enough devices without the US market. Just show MS the middle finger and not sell any devices to US. Or charge all of the patent license $$$ to US customers only. I mean, why should I pay for a foreign broken patent system?

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