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Microsoft Wants $15 Per Android Smartphone 361

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.

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @02:52PM (#36673840)

    You obviously don't understand business nor did you read the article. This isn't a research item this is a patent item. To a company a patent is an asset that can be used in trade or to beat a competitor over the head. Research doesn't necessarily lead to great inventions and what makes us think that Microsoft invented the inventions that they now own? Lots of companies buy and sell patents just like you or I would sell a used bicycle. I have four patents and one, from a job I had more than 15 years ago, has traded hands no fewer than 8 times. Did any of the interceding owners of that patent "invent" anything? No, but they owned the rights to that patent and presumably made money by selling it.

  • 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.

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:04PM (#36674008)

    They do make their own products. Competing products in fact. Therein lies the problem. Patents exists to provide incentive to research, you get a temporary monopoly on something you develop, in exchange for having developed it. Whether or not that should apply to software in general is an important question, but as it stands today software is patentable. If MS research patents something they own it until the patent expires, and they get to licence it.

    Now, one can argue if patents are too broad, to absurd to apply to software or the like. But if we use the steel analogy. MS is making steel, and came up with a new, better way to make more of it. They patent that technique. Samsung shouldn't be able to just waltz over, copy the design, and implement it themselves and leave MS research unrewarded for the work they did. All the a money (and time) spent on research has real value, and real costs - and if you spent all that money doing research it may take you longer to implement it than a competitor who didn't spend the money on research.

    Make sense? there is a finite puddle of money available, even to MS. If a company spends money on research they own the results of that research and if you want to use those results you have to pay. Or else there would very quickly be a lot less researchers.

    Microsoft has a lot more (or depending on how large you want to count Steve Ballmer, a lot less) wrong with it than mobile patents not capturing market share. WP7 seems to be decent, but late to the game, so you have to use what you can.

    Honestly, if I was MS, I'd be saying 'pay us a licence fee *or* let it boot WP7 along with whatever else you want'. Then it's a matter of getting app makers on board, and giving them the tools to do awesome stuff you can't easily do on droid (which might be more about building one product for desktop and mobile easily than about some specific feature that you can't do on droid).

  • Re:Windows Phone (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PickyH3D ( 680158 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:17PM (#36674176)

    Spoken like a true person that has never used one, and someone who definitely has never used a WP7 running the upcoming Mango release.

  • 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.

  • by shoehornjob ( 1632387 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:20PM (#36674202)

    If their R&D is so awesome, why can't they make their own products and not resort to ripping off other businesses to make money?

    You fail to understand that ripping off competitors is the new industry standard. No one really makes anything new anymore. They just copy ip and wait to get sued. Success is not measured by innovation but rather the skill of your legal department. Seriously though I'm having a hard time believing Microsoft has research in social computing. Does anyone remember the Kin?

  • by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:32PM (#36674360)
    I'm more inclined to believe Slashdot gives IBM a pass is because, unlike MS, they don't have an arrogant jackass for a CEO that goes around laughing at their competitors [] and intentionally crashing competitor's products at trade shows []. The guy is a no-class buffoon. That's probably got a little something to do with why Slashdot seems to have a collective chip on its shoulder towards MS vs other mega-corps.
  • by airfoobar ( 1853132 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @03:45PM (#36674532)
    Ripping off competitors is what the patent trolls do -- they can't do, so they sue -- just like Microsoft is doing in this case. As for copying IP and waiting to be sued, there's a deeper reason why that happens: it's almost impossible to bring a product to market without infringing dozens upon dozens of completely random patents. Even if you try to play it safe and license some of the patents likely to be used against you, the licensing fees you'd have to pay would almost certainly exceed your entire product development budget! How we can expect small startups to survive in this environment is totally beyond me.
  • 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.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!