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LG To Pay Licensing Fees To Microsoft For Using Android 359

PerlJedi writes "InformationWeek reports that LG is the latest in a string of companies who have been bullied into paying 'license fees' to Microsoft for the use of Android on their products. 'Microsoft said the deal with LG means that 70% of Android-based smartphones sold in the U.S. are now covered by its licensing program. ... Microsoft does not disclose how much revenue it's obtaining from Android, Chrome, and Linux licenses, but some analysts believe it may be substantial, to the point where the company is making significant profits from the mobile revolution even though its own offering, Windows Phone, commands a market share of less than 2%, according to Gartner.'"
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LG To Pay Licensing Fees To Microsoft For Using Android

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  • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @12:41PM (#38674730)

    The fact that the regulators are on the take with bribes perhaps?

    Remember that lobbying has an ROI of %22,000

  • by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @12:45PM (#38674814) Journal
    I'm confused also, I thought Android was a Google product but apparently MS owns the patent?
  • by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @12:48PM (#38674852) Journal
    OK, I should RTFA article before commenting. MS is claiming that "certain components of Android and Chrome OS violate its patents" and therefore they have the right to charge license fees. Now I'm confused as to why Google hasn't taken MS to court to settle this one way or another.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @12:53PM (#38674916)

    This is why it should be required to disclose offending patents whenever you go to another person and say "hey. your product infringes on my patents. Pay me or I'll force you to spend millions defending yourself in court."

    Because if you're NOT willing to disclose what patents of yours are being infringed upon, it's fucking obvious you either:

    1. Know the patents you hold are trivial and will get thrown out on a review.

    2. Know the patents are weak, and that the offending company can EASILY change the code such that they don't infringe anymore.

  • by SadButTrue ( 848439 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:02PM (#38675038) Homepage

    When has this ever gone to court? The most advanced case is Microsoft vs B&N as far as I know. And the case there is looking very weak. Even if the few claims from the few patents left in the case are found to be both valid and infringed they are so narrow at this point that they are easily worked around.

    The problem MS has with their software patents is that they were VERY late to the OS game.

  • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:06PM (#38675098) Homepage's only fair that other companies pay up if they want to profit from the results of Microsoft's R&D.

    You see, the problem with patents is that even if you didn't benefit from Microsoft R&D, you have to pay up. How is that fair?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:07PM (#38675110)

    They don't give a damn if companies use WM...they don't need them to. WM exists so that they have a platform on which to use their patented technologies so as to avoid appearing to be a blatant troll. The real money is in doing nothing and getting paid for it via ridiculous patent law.

  • by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:12PM (#38675188)
    yep, i think the reason is more like"You currently have a microsoft licence - want to keep it???"
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:22PM (#38675342)

    It's completely illegal and really ought to be the focus of an antitrust probe. You can't send a letter demanding payment for allegedly infringing upon a patent and be required to sign an NDA to see the patent. That's not a legitimate move and quite frankly, the MS execs that thought of that ought to be dragged out into the street and beaten severely with chairs.

    Patents are public information for a reason, one should be able to look them up to figure out if one is or isn't violating one.

  • Pirate everything. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:31PM (#38675502) Homepage Journal
    That is basically what it came down to. Microsoft is basically making everyone pay to them regardless of what they do - even if you use linux, you have to pay them. and they are doing these on THREATS of litigation and do not even feel the need to actually show their patents. they are not suing anyone either - they are threatening to.

    this is extortion. period. there is no other explanation or definition for it.

    so, basically we are going to end up having paid to microsoft, EVEN if i do NOT use microsoft products, because microsoft was successful in threatening the producers to pay them out of fear.

    i dont approve that. i choose a product, when i choose a product. if i was going to choose a microsoft product, i would do so. when i have not chosen a microsoft product, that means i have NOT chosen to PAY them.

    if they take my money through ANY means out of my own choices, then it means they are robbing me. period.

    i dont see any other option but to pirate, to get my money back, which was taken away from me through these illegal means.

    the problem is, most of microsoft's products are crap, and i evade them as much as possible. so, what am i going to do now, since i am being cashed by microsoft even when i do NOT use their product ? pirate the other software which was supposed to be NOT microsoft ? this is a pinch.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:33PM (#38675538) Journal

    [Citation needed] Microsoft has a huge R&D division, larger than any other company in the industry has.

    Remember that on balance sheets, programmers can be counted as R&D. The D stands for Development, so it's not like Micosoft is spending $9billion annually on research.

  • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @02:15PM (#38676126)

    Alright, here. I AM a lawyer (though not your lawyer, and nothing I post here should be construed as legal advice) and you might be interested to know that Microsoft is already backing off a bit [] in the suit with Barnes & Noble. So yes: "at least 6 multi-billion dollar corporations, some of which are much larger than Microsoft, have signed patent deals worth hundreds of millions over completely flimsy ridiculous patents that could easy be overturned by any court."

    The nice way of saying it is that those companies have agreed to "play ball" and probably anticipate improved relations with Microsoft as a result. In the sense that it takes money to make money, these companies probably see the payoff as an investment in something else (even if that "something else" is just avoiding a protracted legal battle). Barnes & Noble is no stranger to the game of David & Goliath, though they are usually the Goliath! But they are refusing to be bullied while several of the companies who have capitulated are not treating it so much as being bullied as cutting deals.

    If Microsoft hadn't insisted on an NDA ("you're violating our patents but we won't tell you which ones unless you sign an agreement with us") they might have some minimal leg to stand on. As it is, though, what they're doing looks an awful lot like bad-faith extortion. Especially if it was a natural person doing it; but of course, large companies these days get away with much worse.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer