Microsoft and Dell Ink Licensing Deal on Android Use

Microsoft and Dell announced a patent licensing agreement on Wednesday.

The agreement appears to be yet another in Microsoft's legal targeting of the Linux-based Android operating system. The exact terms weren't spelled out in Microsoft's announcement. However, it appears that Dell will pay Microsoft royalties for using Android, as well as Google Chrome OS.

In return, Microsoft is agreeing to license Dell's patents for technology used in Microsoft's Xbox game consoles.

The agreement was described as a deal to "share intellectual property" by Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft's Innovation and Intellectual Property Group.

"We have been partnering with technology manufacturers and vendors for many years to craft licensing deals, instead of litigation strategies," Gutierrez said, in a released statement. 

It was Gutierrez who early on claimed that Linux infringed on 235 of Microsoft's patent holdings, a claim that caused much outrage among the open source Linux community. In subsequent years, Microsoft has claimed to have reached intellectual property deals with around 70 percent of hardware vendors that used Linux OSes.

Android was shepherded by Google, which offers the OS royalty free to hardware vendors. However, those vendors don't get legal indemnity assurances from Google if they use it.

Microsoft apparently makes revenues from licensing technologies alleged to be used by Linux. Still, the growth of Android and iOS on mobile devices has pressed hard on its Windows monopoly, possibly causing it to lower Windows 8.1 costs for some hardware manufacturers.

Dell specifically uses Android in its Venue line of tablets.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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