ZTE agrees to Android, Chrome patent licensing from Microsoft

Most major Android handset vendors have joined Microsoft's patent program

Microsoft has inked an agreement that adds China-based ZTE to its Android and Chrome patent licensing program.

Financial details of deal were not disclosed.

But the agreement gives ZTE access to Microsoft patents covering phones, tablets, computers and other devices running Google's Android and Chrome operating systems.

ZTE joins others, including Samsung, HTC and Acer, that have also signed up with Microsoft's patent licensing program. Last week, manufacturing giant Foxconn entered into a similar agreement and is paying royalties to Microsoft for access to its patent portfolio.

Both Android and Chrome are Google-developed operating systems. But according to Microsoft, the two operating systems also use technologies patented by the company. Previously, Microsoft has filed lawsuits against Android device makers for patent infringement.

Microsoft's Android and Chrome licensing program is meant to help gadget vendors avoid further litigation with Microsoft. So far, the company has reached licensing deals with nearly all of the world's largest Android smartphone vendors and manufacturers, said Microsoft vice president Horacio Gutierrez in a company blog post.

"In fact, 80 percent of Android smartphones sold in the U.S. and a majority of those sold worldwide are covered under agreements with Microsoft," he added.

But two major holdouts still remain. Chinese company Huawei, the world's third largest smartphone vendor, along with Google and its Motorola Mobility business, have yet to sign on.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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