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back to article Microsoft to skim Samsung Android takings

Samsung, one of the industry's biggest Android device makers, will pay Microsoft a royalty for every handset it ships running Google's operating system. The electronics giant will pay Microsoft as part of a licensing agreement announced Wednesday, that will also see Samsung licence Microsoft's patents with Redmond agreeing not …

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Linux

Where's Google?

Come on you Chocolate Factory people. When are you going to say, enough is enough and kick the borg where it hurts?

This is a Tax levied on Android handsets pure and simple. Either stop messing around with Android and fix these issues (ie code around) or just give up.

Microsoft will make more money from Android than it will ever from WP7 etc and all without lifting a finger.

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Anonymous Coward

What can Google do if those vendors are stupid enough

to include MS patented technology like FAT filesystem for instance ?

I expect that by buying Motorola and some patents from good old IBM, Google has set up a defense line where the final battle will take place.

Oh and for those who continue claiming Google is doing nothing, please review MS modus operandi which by using NDA prevents those manufacturers from taking their claims to Google. More than that, Google is not selling Android so they can not claim business interference from Microsoft. A little bit of research before posting would greatly help here.

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Holmes

...

You prick. This is a web comment board, not Scientific American. We'll research as little or as much as we like. +1 for ill-informed rambling.

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Anonymous Coward

SD Cards

I'd be pretty unhappy if my android tablet wouldn't read the pictures from the card my digital camera uses...

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Facepalm

"....MS patented technology like FAT filesystem...."

Oh dear, here we go again. FAT is free, it's the MS proprietary Long Filename extensions to FAT that are patented.

Stick with 8.3 naming and you owe MS nothing.

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What can Google do?

Hope that Samsung, et al get a bad 69 or 80/20 ass rash and get tired of it before endfection sets in too much.

Google should impose that they dump the fat and go for the GFS (Google File System, or something that can tell those windows machines how to read them) and some EXT4 or compatible system on the hardware chips.

Google can help end those ms bondages just by providing a non-litigious file system. INT WTF, google?

Just like google is sitting on its ass about our phone books. Those should be in a vault, and that vault should have a scratch pad for the being-dialed number, and everything in the vault should be unreadable to apps unless that app NEEDS to call a per-app whitelist of numbers or load some per-app whitelisted URL.

Just another example of google's "don't be evil" falling short. Google needs to step up.

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Microsoft wants to kill cell phone makers

The same way it killed desktop makers. Soon, only Apple will be making money at this game.

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Big Brother

Protection from Apple

Is this not also about being protected from Apple's legal nonesense????

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No. MS can't give Samsung's non WP7 products protection from Apple. This is just giving Samsung protection from MS.

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Anonymous Coward

Get a grip

There's a lot that isn't being said about the Android-deals MS is making:

Unless otherwise specified, the deals only cover units sold in the US. I.e. this is really a MS-tax on US consumers. MS should not be allowed to collect royalties for software patents for units which are manufactured and sold in countries where the patent are not valid.

The only claims which have been held up in court so far are the ones related to MS' filesystem and integration towards exchange. The exchange-integration can easily be changed to become an option distributed via android-marked only to be purchased by those who really need it. MS' filesystem should have been dropped by the storage industry ages ago and replaced with an independent alternative. MS won't be dragging their feet in implementing it for long when every new gadget out coming out of asian factories uses some other FS.

Finally authorities everywhere must require that the terms in these deals are disclosed. Authorities are primarily put in place to serve individuals (voters/consumers), not coorporations. It is in the publics best interest to make the conditions wrt patents etc known so that the wider industry can come up with better and/or cheaper solutions for future generations of gadgets. Secrecy serves as a mechanism to lock out the competition, a kind of practise that is right up MS' alley.

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"Authorities are primarily put in place to serve individuals"

Eh? Not in the Corporate States of America, they're not...

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I'd say it's the other way round. Unless otherwise specified this is a global agreement. It's pretty clear as to why, because otherwise MS would be left having to sue dozens of grey importers seeking to arbitrage on the different license fees. The only reason that they'd settle on those terms is if they thought they stood no chance of winning, but they seem to like their chances.

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clearly there is somthing to the patents. otherwise everyone and there dog wouldnt be rolling over to pay M$. im not saying i agree, but i would have expected samsung to stand up and say no, if it was somthing silly

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Anonymous Coward

Samsung is a corporation and the basic business common sense tells them to take the least costly path. It is still costing them less to pay for racketing instead of possibly billions in case they are being sued. It has nothing to do with the quality of those patents, look at the percentage of patent lawsuits that are being decided in favor of the aggressor.

So far, there are not too many companies that have the balls to stand up and fight. For those who might ask, IBM and Google are two names that fit this description.

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Really interested in what kind of patent(s) Microsoft has..

It must be something good and un-refutable.. Samsung is one of the biggest IT/Hardware/electronics companies in the world, I don't think you can just bully them into paying you money.

They have more than enough to buy an army of the best lawyers to defend themselves...

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Childcatcher

Why Microsoft's blackmail works

It isn't about the money or the strength of the patents. It's mostly about time. Sure, Microsoft might have a weak or even an awful case, but it will still take a couple of years to resolve it in the courts. Samsung can't sit and wait while the market develops around them.

Great scam, but can anyone remember when patents were supposed to ENCOURAGE innovation? ROFLMAO.

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proves "that licensing works".

.. for Microsoft.

I think it's time to buy shares in Acer, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic or Wistron, then demand to see the licensing deals.

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Everyone pays everyone

Microsoft will be paying samsung for some tech, and motorola.. Samsung pay microsoft.. etc. etc.

The net effect is probably not that much for the existing cell phone makers. it creates a huge barrier to entry to new entrants (who have no patents, so have to pay *everyone*).

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Microsoft's traditional approach was to provide volume discounts for Windows as long as you only installed Windows on your hardware. Obviously they haven't got much chance of that with the phones but there is probably some kind of quid pro quo or volume discount for HTC and Samsung to encourage them to make phones that run Windows mobile. They're desperate for companies to make the phones until Nokia can come up with volume. Then it's a new round.

They probably won't bother going after Googola - Google will probably be only too happy to tell world + dog what the patents are and to provide replacements or workarounds in its own devices and Android.

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Anonymous Coward

@TonyHoyle

Finally some common sense, there will be cross licence agreements all over the place, i wouldnt be supprised if MS is paying out to Apple and Sony which are arguably bitter rivals. as much as they are paying out to MS, its just you dont hear all of this because firstly its not news people want to hear (not anti MS enough) and secondly most folk dont have a clue!

If there was any reason for them NOT to pay out then these companies wouldnt do it, it might well be that in return for them paying out they get access to other patents / licences which you may well like on you iphone or android device. The simple fact is none of us have a clue what deals are done, but lets look at the facts, android devices are still cheaper than WP or Apple devices, the hardware on many of these devices are essentially the same, the build cost and development cost will largely be the same, all this adds up to is three posible outcomes that either the device maker is making less margin on each device (which they sure as hell wont like and would fight tooth an nail over) or it chargers the consumer more or finally, they are make exactly what they were expecting.

with Android devices still cheaper than other handsets its arguably not being passed on to the users, if its taking a margin hit of which £10 per unit is quite a lot then shareholders would be going mental, which they are not, which only leaves the manufactures getting just what they want for the device and are quite happy with the agreement with MS/Apple etc, possibly because of other accessable patents, which may not even be smart phone related.

As Tony pointed out, the only losers are manufactures that do not have any patents / licences and will end up paying out to everyone, essentially that means new upstarts will have a really hard time, but then that will push the bounds of creativity, if they can come up with something else that doesnt rely on MS apple or samsung or anyone else then they may have a gold mine of their own.

Its also worth noting the apple samsung issues, samsung have said that if any iphone has the ability to phone people then they are using their patents, well thats some statement to make, whats to say that MS didnt say to samsung, oh crap, your right, here is $10 per unit for that usage, and here is a bill for $10 for our usage, net result, everyone happy and everyone get whats they want.

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@Dazzza I think you likely have a point.

Given that Samsung are *plenty* big enough to show Microsoft the middle finger there is more going on here than meets the eye. There have been a number of indications recently that there are elements of cross-licensing and cross-discounting in these agreements. How much it has actually cost the various parties concerned *net* when all the bookkeeping is done and dusted is impossible to tell from the publicly available information. I also have to say that Tony Hoyle's point (which you re-emphasised) that the real losers on this merry-go-round are those companies who do not have cards to play with at the outset is something I entirely agree with. Though it does have to be pointed out that if one chooses to go into manufacturing something based on existing technology you are almost certain to end up having to pay patent royalties to *someone* regardless of which industry you are in, not just the mobile-phone business. I also have to say that whilst one *maybe* can make a case for certain elements of commercial confidentiality it should, IMHO, be directly illegal to conceal which patents are involved and what the legal basis of the settlement is. The current system seems to generate a large game of liar's poker that is not healthy for anybody - least of all the poor bloody punter who ends up paying the price (literally) for all these shenanigans.

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Added to that

"The current system seems to generate a large game of liar's poker that is not healthy for anybody "

Added to that the whole idea that patents are all about disclosure and removing the need for company secrets, these closed door deals do seem to fly in the face of the whole point in the first place.

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Pirate

"Clear path forward"

Nah, sounds more like it provides a clear path to the tenderest, softest parts of Samsung's arsehole, which Microsoft is showing it is more than happy to screw. Hopefully Google will stay away from this anal rape that Microsoft is forcing on the mobile industry. Perhaps Google's deep pockets will finally prompt MS to either divulge which patents are being infringed or shut the f*ck up about it.

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I doubt it

Samsung's a pretty big company. If they gave in, I'll bet Google will too. Samsung has shown that they're not about to bend over for just any random lawsuit, as their war with Apple shows.

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Anonymous Coward

Daylight robbery ...

That's all this is.

MS need another big investigation and a clearout from top to bottom.

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Microsoft...the 800 pound school bully.

Microsoft are scum. I'm not sure how more concise I can be.

They are a thoroughly reprehensible company that can not stand one bit of legitimate competition.

I am lost for words...how far into the gutter and down the sewer can they go.

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Devil

Microsoft still uses draconian laws

Potential Microsft customer:

Hello Microsoft I would like to built a Microsoft network!

Microsoft salesman: Hello WOW that sounds great! How many servers and workstations are you planning to buy?

Potential Microsft customer: I will need 3 servers and 1 email server and about 20 workstations.

Microsoft salesman: Ok great sounds fantastic let me ring this bill up for you now...

Microsoft salesman: Ok so 3 Lic copies of 2008 server and 20 LIC of Windows 7 Professional.

and 1 LIC for email server.

Potential Microsft customer: Correct! Thanks! Total cost please?

Microsoft salesman: Ok now I need to know how many unix\linux\ Apple OS computers stations do you use at your company/place of business?

Potential Microsft customer: Thats none of your god dammned business!..hang ups phone.

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Why Ask?

does the mickeysoft spyware not report this automatically?

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Anonymous Coward

Good that compaines actually talk to each other and agree things, note samsunf actually talked to microsoft instead of just putting their fingers in their ears until a lawsuit appears

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Deja Vu?

Another Microsoft cheerleader speaks.

Apart form the typo this is just a cut and paste away form many other pro-Redmond responces here.

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RE: "Deja Vu?" That is all this thread needed to be complete.........

..........yet another drive-by MicroShill accusation.

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Joke

No wonder why Windows sucks...

It was just a big beta test, and the patents are their end product.

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Anonymous Coward

How long are their patents on the various FATs valid?

Because they've been around a good few years.

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I'll make a guess

MS will drop their Motorola claim as Motorola are now backed by Google.

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Anonymous Coward

Uninformed MS bashing

How can some of you guys just slag MS off for racketeering and breezily dismiss the whole idea of them being due patent royalties?

The whole point of patents is that those who own them get protection and licensing.

MS have been creating and patenting stuff for decades, so much so that it's pretty inevitable that they actually have some *real* ones in there somewhere.

Just because the US patent system is now full of crap does not prove that *all* patents are crap and, I repeat, MS have decades of them built up.

If you are uninformed about the patents (and, yes, I'd have liked to know the specifics too) then you have no basis to cry troll when in the case of MS (as with IBM, HP and other long-standing giants) there is every likelihood they have something of value.

MS bashing is 'on trend'. Has been for a while. The adults and the sensible children bash where necessary, but understand that when they know nothing about the underlying facts then nothing is exactly what their opinion is worth.

Grow up.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 21:31 GMT - And the organized crime has

valid patents on method and apparatus for insuring customer facilities against fire and any potential physical damages against business assets and/or human lives. And they invested a lot of resources in patenting these business methods so it always makes sense to license the protection services to as many businesses as possible.

Since you you seem to be so well informed, maybe you can share with us here some of the details so we can see for ourselves the validity of those patents.

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FAIL

Informed MS bashing

"The whole point of patents is that those who own them get protection and licensing. MS have been creating and patenting stuff for decades"

And what mickysoft can't create they steal from others

http://gizmodo.com/5144366/former-employee-responds-to-microsoft-spying-allegations

http://www.macobserver.com/columns/thebackpage/2004/20040708.shtml

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Nuffin wrong with commercialism

Or protecting intellectual property. Don't want to have to pay someone for using a solution they inventedto a problem that you have? Invent your f@cking own solution.

I'd expand on what Tony Hoyle says above and suggest that there are probably tax breaks (or at least reduced taxes paid) for all companies affected when you pay them to use their patents, and less taxes paid against earnings if the company can squirrel that income against a different column on a ledge somewhere. There's probably even tax loss calculations that can be taken into consideration if things go to court and you lose...

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FAIL

"Android appeals to a few sad geeks and lots of poor people who really want an iPhone. That is all."

Get over yourself iTardSpurt

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Pirate

NTFFO

Are we still without orbital weapons to test?

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I still don't get how Google haven't already demanded to know which patents Microsoft alleges Android to infringe. Android is their product, albeit one they give out for free, so surely Microsoft going after their customers warrants some raised eyebrows from competition/antitrust quangos unless MS can back up their claim that they are due money? Call it harassment of their customers or campaigning to devalue their product, Google has to have some ammo they could have used to demand a dialogue with Redmond by now.

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Stop

Is it really in their best interests?

If Google really push this thing (remember, they are up against Oracle as well, so they've got their hands pretty full at the moment) it might go to court, cost a lot of money and end up with large swathes of Android axed (I don't believe it but it is a tangible risk).

So what's happening at the moment? Android is taking the world by storm and rapidly becoming a platform that cannot be allowed to fail. The sheer success of the platform is making an all-out-war less likely because no-one wants to press the big red button. I believe this is also why Microsoft are not approaching Google directly. They could sue them to get Android canned, but why would they? It's a big money spinner for Microsoft at the moment. Google don't make phones (not really, yet, that might change) so there is no money in it for Microsoft to sue them since they cannot shaft them for $20 per unit (or whatever).

Oracle, however, can't really lose from their spat other than a load of money in costs, since they're not in that market.

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