Foxconn's mom licenses patents: Microsoft trolls another Android scalp

Hon Hai caves in to Ballmer's IP claims.

Microsoft Hon Hai Foxconn patent license

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) licenses patents to Hon Hai Precision Industry (TPE:2317), for its Chrome OS and Android ODM activities. As usual, there's no word on how much money's changing hands. As usual, we don't know which patents are being licensed.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers mutter darkly, as usual.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

If anyone can report this, Michael Kan can:

Microsoft has signed up another [ODM] to its Android and Chrome patent licensing program. covers Foxconn manufactured devices running the Android and Chrome operating systems.


Both Android and Chrome use its technologies [says] Microsoft. [The] licensing agreements give a way for Android vendors to avoid facing further legal action. ... Foxconn is best known as a manufacturer of Apple...products. But the company also assembles tablets for Amazon, and handsets for Nokia, Motorola and Huawei.  MORE

Steven "meta" Musil adds:

Hon Hai, parent company of [Foxconn], will pay Microsoft unspecified royalties in exchange for "broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio." ... Microsoft has long argued that Chrome and Android areas ranging from the user interface to the underlying operating system.


Microsoft said it now has patent protection deals in place with hardware makers that produce more than half the world's Android smartphones. [It] has reached similar agreements with...Acer, HTC, ViewSonic, Nikon, Compal Electronics, Quanta Computer, and Wistron.  MORE

Joe Mullin says this is the biggest licensee (so far):

Taiwan's Foxconn makes a staggering 40 percent of the world's consumer electronic devices. ... Microsoft will be getting paid a toll on a large number of [them]. ... Microsoft [makes] more money from patent licensing than from its own mobile phone system.


Foxconn is an "original design manufacturer" or of those behind-the-scenes companies that makes enormous numbers of devices, but never has its name printed on them. ... Going straight to the level of contract manufacturers could serve as a kind of end-run for Microsoft to get some licensing revenue even when the handset companies keep fighting.  MORE

And Liam Tung adds some context:

One manufacturer still holding out on Microsoft's Android licensing agreements is Motorola Mobility...drawing Google, Motorola Mobility's owner...into the fray. The pair are set to face off again over patents in the Mannheim regional court this Friday.  MORE

But Swapnil Bhartiya calls it "Bogus":

Foxconn seems to have chosen the 'easy' path [but] there is no doubt that Microsoft's claims...are bogus as we have already seen in the B&N case. ... These deals are less about money and more about PR stunts, a game Microsoft loves to play.


At the same time licensing is a normal practice. ... It's just that the declining abusive and monopolistic force of the past is now using such deals as a PR stunt. ... Gone are the days when Microsoft could crush competitors through unethical business practices.  MORE

Bogus? BOGUS??? ありちゃん-san says Redmond "deserves every penny":

Microsoft is investing billions a year in research and from that research creating products. Microsoft is doing good by licensing their innovation and research to companies so those companies can build something better.


Sure Microsoft cannot deliver at first, but at least other companies are using Microsoft’s creative research to build something wonderful, Android.  MORE

Meanwhile, Nicolas Charbonnier offers this broader view:

Microsoft is the one paying Android companies. Not the other way around.


You will not find one single Android/Chrome company supposedly paying an "Android/Chrome licence" to Microsoft who isn't also selling Windows Phone/RT/8 devices. Who do you think paying for all [the] R&D, marketing, implementation, testing, initial manufacturing runs etc?  MORE

Computerworld Blogs Newsletter

Subscribe now to the Blogs Newsletter for a daily summary of the most recent and relevant blog posts at Computerworld.  

Shop Tech Products at Amazon