April 28, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Microsoft’s Windows Mobile may not be blazing the charts since the introduction of Android, but that doesn’t mean the tech giants won’t still benefit from Google’s mobile operating system. Though Android is open source and free for manufacturers to use, that price of 0 is going up now that Microsoft alleges that all Android phones infringe on patents it holds.
The problem lies in Linux, the open-source operating system that Android is built upon. Microsoft alleges that it holds patents to code included in Linux, therefore every Android phone is stealing its unnamed intellectual property. HTC recently reached a deal with Microsoft to license those patents for an undisclosed fee, and every company releasing an Android phone will have to pay the price or fight Microsoft in court.
“We… have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform,” Microsoft said in a statement announcing the deal.
Paging, Google, now might be a good time to throw some of that legal muscle to your partners. Microsoft’s claims haven’t actually been validated by any court. When the company made similar claims against Amazon and other entities using Linux, all others buckled in order to avoid a costly and lengthy legal battle (a typical move in patent fights). Motorola, LG, Samsung, and Google itself will have to stand-up to these allegations or it will set a precedent that every company will have to pay Microsoft in order to release an Android phone in peace.
It looks like Steve Ballmer is the new Paulie Cicero.