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back to article Microsoft gets five bucks for every HTC Android phone

Buy an HTC smartphone and $5 of what you spent on it goes to Microsoft - even if you've just bought an Android device. So says Citi analyst Walter Pritchard in a note sent out to investors today, according to Business Insider. Microsoft announced the royalty payment deal - the result of a legal settlement - last year, but the …

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Flame

Mainly in the USA

Those figures I imagine are for the US only? Since many USA patents don't apply to the outside world HTC does not really have to pay them for shipments to non-USA countries i'd imagine.

I hate patent trolls who really don't come up with anything revolutionary but rather just spew out on some paper and wait till someone makes something similar, then pounce, sue, win!.

Companies should just all together stop shipping anything to the USA and watch the economy there crash. Yeah yeah you say someone could take their place but that takes time. Maybe this would get the patent office to actually read the patent before rubber stamping it......

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Meh

Didn't MS steal Java code?

I remember some time ago (1 year perhaps?) MS were accused of copying large chunks of Java source code for their C# system... or did I just dream that?

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That was google

I think you are confusing MS with Google, who are being hauled through the courts by Oracle (owners of Java since buying Sun) charged with using Java source in an unlicensed manner to build the Java-compatible Dalvik VM that forms the heart of Android.

MS got sued by Sun many moons ago for adding non-standard features to their Java implementation (JScript) - the classic "Embrace and Extend" tactic.

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Not JScript

JScript is Microsoft's implementation of JavaScript which was originally a Netscape invention but is now a standard (helpfully called ECMAScript to avoid confusion with Java).

Microsoft's lawsuit with Sun was because MS licenced the Java trademark, logo, source code etc. signed a contract to abide by the terms of licencing and then merrily set about breaking their implementation so it was not compatible with the standard but passing it off as if it was.

This is different to Google who never licenced anything, don't use Sun / Oracle code (apart from a fragment in a unit test), have never claimed compatibility with Java and explicitly say it's incompatible. The fragment was the bit that was "stolen" but given it's complete superfluousness it seems like a goof rather than an intentional copyright infringement and probably would be defended as such. This is why they're being sued on patent related issues rather than contractual / copyright ones. Oracle rummaged around for patents that might cover Android's Dalvik despite it being a separate beast and are suing Google on the basis of those.

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Bronze badge

Wasn't google...

Yes OP is right, apparently in a conversation Scott McNealy had with Bill Gates and Steve Ballamer. Microsoft had come for a meeting with Sun to ask for royalties on OpenOffice due to patent infringements, McNealy instead said that as Java patents were all over .Net he wanted royalties for every copy of Windows.

The meeting was short.

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Mushroom

NTFFO

reprise, from another comment:

"Microsoft are moving from annoying (very annoying) to dangerous now.

Are there no orbital weapons that need testing?"

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FAIL

The annoying thing

The biggest thing Microsoft are getting money for is VFAT support, which CRIPPLES a phone. You want to download a 4G file to your 32G MicroSD card? Sorry, VFAT32 won't support a 4G file.

The REALLY annoying thing is that there is no reason the phone couldn't let me put a real file system (EXT4) on the card, BUT for the fact the various phone manufacturers have needlessly constrained the software to only allow VFAT32, primarily to insure that if I plug my phone into a Windows machine, it will understand how to write to my phone. Since I could not care less about supporting Windows machines, LET ME USE A REAL FILE SYSTEM YOU BASTARDS!

I'd love to see somebody grow a pair, refuse to license VFAT, and just support real file systems.

TL;DR: money is to make the phones speak VFAT because MS won't let Windows speak EXT4.

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I thought there was a workaround

A couple of years ago someone analysed the patent and it appeared to cover storing a short name AND a long name for a file on a VFAT partition. The proposed fix was simply to store a short name OR a long name, not both. Most devices would work happily with the change because the short name is the fallback so devices wouldn't be reading both values anyway.

Why didn't HTC do this? If it were just VFAT then $5 seems like an outrageous sum to pay so I suspect it must cover other things too.

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FAIL

That is so so true

It always amazes me that MS Windows can't read any other filesystems that are NIAMS (Not invented at MS) - I usually have a dual-boot PC set up & it always seems pathetic that the MS bit can't read the Linux partitions, especially when compared to Debian installed on the other half of the disk. Debian can read all sorts (and of course there's Samba as well - which some say is faster at serving Windows files than Windows is).

And that's on a desktop(!), let alone a phone....

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Stop

@David D. Hagood

Oh yes, all those 4Gig files we have to copy to and from our phones every day. Just what are u smoking m8 ? I dont know anyone that has ever tried wanted to or even thought about copping a 4 Gig file to there phone ? What exactly would the point be ???

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Re: speaking EXT4

Odd. Google seem happy to expend a load of effort pushing their toolbar onto the world, and loads of cash buying up codecs to give away, but apparently it has not (yet?) occurred to them that distributing an ext-n IFS for Windows would blow away one of Microsoft's longest-lived strangle-holds on the non-MS market.

Well, I'm picking on Google, but of course almost any hardware vendor could do this, with no more effort than is normally spent distributing dodgy device drivers and their "related" crud-ware apps. The majority of sheeple seem quite happy to install whatever is on the CD that comes with a new toy. If it contained an ext4 IFS, they'd never be the wiser, but their device would (it appears) be 5$ cheaper.

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Gold badge

Although I agree ..

.. I do want to know why on earth you'd want a 4GB file on your phone. Other than that, yes..

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Stop

There *is* a FAT-free alternative...

It's called the Universal Disk Format (UDF), and it's supported by Mac OS X, modern Linux distributions *and* Windows Vista/7.

It happens to nicely solve the problems of storing incompatible forms of metadata (e.g. NTFS streams, Mac OS X's extended attributes/forks/other trinkets, and a baseline version of POSIX semantics); in addition to adding some nice features such as "streaming files", too.

It's just a shame that Microsoft decided to sabotage efforts by others to adopt it for years, by delaying a full, read-write implementation for all media types (optical, magnetic and Flash) until Windows Vista - so that they could coast off collecting patent royalties for FAT variants; ensure that proprietary software developers managed to produce incompatible, half-baked implementations; and generally retard progress for everyone.

Now if only consumer electronics companies would implement it in their products; and older versions of Windows would die quietly...

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VFAT on Android?!

Sorry, a bit shocked... How come Google came up with the idea of using FAT on removable storage? Nokia does make same mistake but it is Symbian and they already have license from MS for a long time, also the Symbian system is kinda designed around it etc.

If you own a Android device and you have personal data (not mp3s, lets say family pictures) on that memory card, make sure you back it up. There is absolutely no security on fat, no journaling whatever.

Man even MS doesn't use VFAT on Windows Phone! They have some malicious indents but basically, it is a far risky filesystem on removable storage. Also the age of micro sd card readers are over after the devices have high speed usb chipset so please don't come up with the usual "but that xp user" excuse. If you are Google, you can sit and even code ext2 filesystem plugin for xp/7 and make it part of install.

Also Android fans who will androidically thumb down this post: I hope you will never need to extract data from a really corrupt fat32 drive. You may end up even paying thousands of dollars or spending a MONTH literally.

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Oh it is excuse of lazy companies

Both Windows NT and OS X can read any filesystem as long as they have "installable filesystem" at right place. On OS/2; windows NT grandfather, things were a bit more obvious and NT did also read the HPFS using the very same system.

There is no reason rather than lazyness (and a bit political) windows can't read ext2. You can't blame open source guys too, they just don't want to take responsibility for people's data on a complete foreign operating system but a company sized as Google with their resources can install ext2 (or any sane filesystem,even a new invented one) to both os x and Windows.

At last resort, they can donate a bulky sum (ethical reasons) to FUSE and make use of it without any kernel level risk.

Obviously, GNU will never bother to do these things or FSF. Can you imagine them getting some Microsoft signature for their app? :)

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Happy

Not sure about 4GB but

I once stored a MySQL dump of the UK postcode database on my phone (that being the nearest suitable storage device), to get it from the development box in the office to the production server in the colo data centre, and it was about 3.5GB. Do you think that counts?

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Holmes

Licencing issues

The Linux kernel licence would require them to distribute the Source Code for any ext2 / 3 / 4 driver. And I'm guessing that something like a filesystem driver would hook into the kernel in so many places, its source would expose more of Microsoft's secrets than they are willing to let on.

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Gold badge

Re: Licensing issues

Guess again: http://www.fs-driver.org/

NT was designed with installable file-systems in mind. The only obstacles are commercial ones. Obviously it suits Microsoft if everyone else pays a FAT sum to interface their storage to Windows boxes. Less obviously, it seems to suit everyone else, too.

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Devil

That is the first $5 of my money they will get.

...and the last.

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So, whose phones can I buy?

I'd rather not pay Microsoft another penny, and I'm no fan of Apple either. Used to be a Nokia (my current phone) was OK, but since they're in bed with Microsoft now they're off the list. Which manufacturers aren't paying the Trolls' tolls?

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Pirate

Plan might be

A plan might be to buy Nokia's one and only remaing MeeGo-ish phone (out shortly, may or may not be called the N950). Then never buy another Nokia again and tell all your friends their the devil. That should skew the numbers nicely.

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Silver badge

Good question

How about Symbian or Meego! or Palm?. Feeling a bit unhappy too.

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Bronze badge
Devil

Involuntary customers as a business model?

I actually think the most annoying aspect of Microsoft is that I NEVER want to be their customer, but they have managed to remove my freedom to choose before I even start shopping for a new computer. What sort of business model is it when all of your actual customers were forced to use your software, and a large fraction of your so-called customers hatte you and don't want anything to do with you?

The thing that makes it hypocritical is that Microsoft full-well understands that we WANT freedom and REAL choices. Just look at their advertising. As far as I can remember, all of their recent advertising campaigns are choice-based--but fake Microsoft-only choices.

As regards the outer topic of patents, the sad thing is that patents were originally intended to ENCOURAGE innovation, not stifle it. These days the main point of IP is to gain leverage over your competitors, and the abuse of the licensing fees is just the lesser evil.

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I'd say Apple but...

Well, Apple uses their own (and totally documented!) HFS+ Journaled on millions of devices they sell and besides some small issues which won't really matter on phone, it is a very robust filesystem.

However, as your idea is not paying for MS patents, the fonts they idiotically licensed from MS could be a problem. Thank God they didn't license Arial the Helvetica clone that time.

I never,ever imagined Google would put that joke patent trap to their modern operating system.It as designed for diskettes! Even on a diskette, better filesystems existed.

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Gold badge

WebOS

HP/Palm? although that is Linux based and might be taxed by Microsoft as well.

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I seem to recall that ...

... the big idea was having a free/open market, that is, competition. Paying $5 / copy of Android to Microsoft cannot be good for that. This, in fact, reminds me of the MS deals from the 1990s where the only way of PC OEMs getting Windows (+DOS) for a not hugely inflated cost was to pay per PC sold ...

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Stop

what about Barnes & Noble

Microsoft is after them and keep trying to beat them with signing an NDA to keep it all quiet but B&N would not fall for it. $5 is excessive considering Microsoft charges that or slightly more for their entire OS. HTC is a chump for playing this game with Microsoft. And they should be moving ext4 onto these things since most of the time the SD card is not easily removed. And besides, has the SD vendors also paid Microsoft so that would put the cost even higher overall for the privilege of reading and writing VFAT.

Stop because this needs to stop NOW

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hey?

Since when you thought that writing code is for free? I am not going to say mention my daily rate but I am not poor. Or do you expect some code monkeys to work for free for you?

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Windows

And how much for iPhones?

<--- what is this icon supposed to represent? I am clueless

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Devil

Windows

$10 for opening one.

$10 for closing one.

$5 for looking out of one.

Thank god they never thought of "Microsoft Doors"

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Anonymous Coward

of course

its prefectly fine that other companies uphold there IP, just as long as it isnt MS because heavens forbid that MS actually makes something that might be useful to someone else.

IP is IP, most companies have various sections in our contracts that tell you, anything you make from this day forth belongs to us, should they not uphold that contract?

As much as i dont like the system, it is the system and its not going to change, so well done MS for making something that others want to use

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Facepalm

Open system?

Here we go again... So how long until MS makes the most money, and screws the android market?

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hah hah

Given that Googles entire business model is based around stealing other peoples intellectual property and not paying them anything in return, I find it rather amusing that MS has made this one stick.

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@ MS Rocks

I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear you - was that "Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"

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Thumb Down

The only way MSFT will make money out of mobile phones?

Time to merge the VFAT avoidance patch in the Android Linux kernel.

http://lwn.net/Articles/338942/

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WTF?

Microsoft

The new patent troll on the block, with, unfortunately, a large amount of resources to back up their ludicrous schemes.

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Bronze badge

Wow

That's possibly more than Google gets, bearing in mind much of the revenues Google currently has attributed to Android are coming from advertising, not licensing. If Google had anything significant in terms of license revenues they would have announced it on their last earning calls especially since the lack of diversified revenues has become something of an issue for the analysts.

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Thumb Down

Tail wagging the dog

"MS has alleged Android infringes its intellectual property, and has other smartphone vendors in its sights."

Yay, a company that had at that time never released or developed a phone product can sue a company actively building phones for IP

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Silver badge
Linux

Who cares?

In reality you are paying many different companies for different patents and IP when you buy any phone. The fact of the matter is that $MS may be getting a fiver for my phone, but they certainly 'aint getting any cash for their crappy OS from me.

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Microsoft is the reason HTC was lagging behind in early 2011

For one thing, M$ wasted a lot of time of HTC execs with their patent trolling actions, and then they agreed to produce a lot of different models for Windows Phone 7.

So all of a sudden, all their developers are tied up making a load of hard-to-sell Windows phones. And their Android phone plans got delayed.

So this year, not only Samsung got the jump on them, but even LG and Sony had their dual core phone out first.

Its impressive they got the Sensation done, but I bet they would have more newer stuff if it wasn't for M$.

Anybody should have realized that the whole patent shtick went way over the top when Monsanto was allowed by the U.S. supreme court to patent living things. By judge Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer, no less. Almost the whole supreme court is made up of former Corporate Lawyers now.

Electronics patents should have half the shelf life of mechanical patents, and software patents half again. The difference in speed of progress is even greater, but this would mitigate the ridiculous monopoly building and keeping thats going on now.

And patents on living things are downright ridiculous. They should be illegal in any country.

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Gold badge

Re: patents on living things

"And patents on living things are downright ridiculous. They should be illegal in any country."

Patents on *existing* living things are absurd. The spaghetti monster surely holds all the design rights for those, there are several billion years of prior art, and the manufacturing process is fucking obvious.

For *new* living things, the situation is less clear. The concept is obvious, but the the tools you use to create them might be patentable, and you might cover the products of those tools with copyright or some sort of design right.

Having said that, despite wild claims from some self-promoting researchers in the area, no-one has yet come close. "Close" in this context would be something that didn't start with a living organism or materials derived from one. For a historical equivalent, consider Wöhler's creation of urea from wholly inorganic precursors. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_W%C3%B6hler)

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Meh

head hacker

I spose the real question is whether or not M$ bot Skippy to make puppies or 狗肉 .

fubar

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