Feeds

back to article Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

Microsoft will collect a royalty for every device built by Foxconn that runs Google operating systems Android or Chrome OS. Hon Hai, the parent of the Chinese electronics behemoth, confirmed today it has inked a deal to license unspecified Microsoft patents on smartphones, tablets and TVs built by Foxconn that use Google's Linux …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Mmmmmm...

I love the smell of royalties in the morning. It smells like victory.

5
8
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmmmmm...

But charging the people that make your current (and future?) Xbox, is that a good idea?

I wonder where the money will come from to pay M$?

12
0

Re: Mmmmmm...

Well, for one thing, I doubt Foxconn manufacture these phones and then give them to the company that ordered them for free, so I suspect the money will come from Samsung, LG, HTC etc..

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Mmmmmm...

"But charging the people that make your current (and future?) Xbox, is that a good idea?"

Here's what would be funny: If Samsung started price-gouging both Apple and Microsoft, and they both took their business to a different manufacturer, who would be guaranteed enough business that this new manufacturer would undertake a massive expansion in order to meet Apple's and Microsoft's requirements - thereby netting Samsung both reduced income and a serious new competitor!

0
16
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Mmmmmm...

This is exactly why it's just not possible to kick microsoft enough.

Its not enough that no-one wants their comedy new desktop OS - kick em now whilst they are down.

Its not enough that they can't shift as many of their pathetic phones in a quarter as Android activates in a day - kick em again even when they stop moving.

And its certainly not enough no-one even realises they have a tablet out - it's impact has been that minimal the needle didn't budge. Just read this story, and kick 'em again. And again.

And again - we don't want any chance of them coming back.

28
5
Silver badge

Re: Mmmmmm...

Presumably Microsoft's thinking is that now they can go to all the people that don't make the current or future Xbox and say 'Foxconn are paying and they've got enough money for really good lawyers; why don't you just pay up and save us all some hassle?'

Even supposing Microsofts ends up paying its own royalties via Foxconn, that's a good piece of leverage over everybody else to have acquired for free.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Mmmmmm...

Cut the head off the corpse and fill the mouth with holy wafers, then drive a stake through the heart and pickle in holy water. When finished, burn and sprinkle the ashes over seawater on a bright sunny morning.

And yet, it will STILL come back, somehow.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"And yet, it will STILL come back, somehow."

Like a huge curled up Fergusen in the bowl which just won't flush away no matter how many times you try.

1
0
Childcatcher

Re: Mmmmmm...

In the beginning was the void.

MS looked upon the void and said let there be light and there was light.

And MS separated the light from the darkness and behold it was good.

Then M$ said every thing you see belongs to me.

Here endeth the lesson.

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

…And we still have no idea what these patents are

Great business model!

39
0
Bronze badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

I would imagine that Foxconn, at least, knows. I'd be very suspicious of any deal of this kind that was woolly enough not to specifically define which items are actually being licensed!

4
0
Silver badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

Odd that Android devices would violate the patents but iOS doesn't.

I wonder if MSFT is demanding a royalty for every ipod/pad/phone Foxconn make

9
0

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

Apple and MS have a Patent deal of some sort.

3
0
Windows

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

The asserted patents are known and are referenced here: http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2011111122291296 refer exhibit D

IMHO the patents would not withstand a legal challenge, perhaps a good reason why MS have tried to keep specific details away from the public where it would face broader analysis and discussion.

22
0
JDX
Gold badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

It's not really your business what patents they are is it?

2
49
Silver badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

You could be violating those patents right now!

6
0
Silver badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

I think the word you were looking for was "infringing".

2
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: It's not really your business what patents they are is it?

I do hope that's irony. Just in case, the problem is that it's difficult to avoid infringing patents if you don't know what they are.

Otherwise nice one, very droll!

11
0

@ JDXRe: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

"

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

It's not really your business what patents they are is it?"

It damn well is my business if you're expecting me to pay anything for them.

24
0

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

They're obligated to disclose them to the infringers or face the prospect that they can't enforce on that group of infringers. Laches takes place at this point because they've been playing this game for 5+ years and not told the AOSS or Linux communities what's actually infringing only that we are. Clearly not legit.

The companies, so long as they're participants in full of those said communities, they've effectively got a Laches case and don't need to sign the NDA OR any agreements. I'm strongly suspecting B&N's legal team saw this and it's part of why they told MS to go pound sand.

6
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

@Stevie you owe me a new keyboard! I suspect more than a few fandroids would like to violate a patent if only they could catch one :)

2
2

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

Rumor has it that all of these deals Microsoft has signed with device vendors involve patents on the FAT filesystem and later derivatives.

Presumably, Microsoft is not releasing this information because it wants the idea out there in the public consciousness that "Microsoft invented the technologies that Android uses." Also, by keeping the terms of its deal with one company vague, it can presumably negotiate a more favorable deal with the next company it goes after.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

@Neil McAllister

What everyone else should do is just use a different file-system and let Microsoft keep FAT. When Windows users need to install a driver, so be it. What everyone else should do, create a new file-system and let any "partner" use it for free and non-partners can license it. Then they never ever let Microsoft become a partner so that they will need to license it. It is time to trim the FAT.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

> IMHO the patents would not withstand a legal challenge, perhaps a good reason why MS have tried to keep specific details away from the public where it would face broader analysis and discussion.

Even more likely, "You sign a patent license deal and we will sweeten the xbox contract."

The aim is to to set precedents.for licensing and to keep alive the illusion of risk associated with android.

2
0
Gold badge
WTF?

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

"You could be violating those patents right now!"

"We are Microsoft. All you software belong to us."

As Machiavelli said "Let them that hate also fear me."

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

@AC Yes but they want their devices to work straight away, i.e plugin to a PC, MAC, Linux machine and have a readily available disc.

There are already plenty of other file systems about, I suppose the problem is trying to get OS's not designed for it to behave.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

Have you tried to NOT use FAT on an android device (especially Samsung)?

Seriously, the devices actively resist using ext4 or f2fs-formatted storage.

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

So they are paying to use legitimate patents?

Do Foxconn have to pay other companies not directly related to Android OS for their patents/Tech also?

I'm sure they do so where is the issue here?

0
4
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Triple Microsoft tax bingo

So that's a tax on the manufacturer (Foxconn), and a tax on their end client (e.g. Acer), and finally a tax on Google. Proof that MS are at their most innovative when they've got real competition.

Oh, and they also do Windows Phone.

14
6

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

Actually no, at least not according to other coverage of this issue. The same patents will only be licensed once for each device. If both FoxConn and its client have signed a licensing deal with Microsoft, it is up to them to decide who pays, but Microsoft only gets paid once.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

Ok, it's royalties, Google knew when they purchased Android that it had seriously questionable IP, if agree with the system or not, they still knew what they were getting into. They then chose to give away the OS for free, so MS are rightly claiming royalties for the technologies they developed. In fact they are required to recoup royalties by law, because they would loose the IP if they didn't and they're required to make maximum profit for their shareholders.

That no credible company has tried to take them to court suggests that they have something valid. I'd like to know what it is, you'd like to know what, but actually they don't have to tell us, we could go through all the patents assigned to MS, but frankly, I can't be arsed.

9
51
Devil

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

Where to start.

> ... it had seriously questionable IP

Does it? What IP would you be referring to? Or does your NDA stop you discussing it?

> ... MS are rightly claiming royalties for the technologies they developed

Really? Like to tell us all what this technology is?

> ... That no credible company has tried to take them to court suggests that they have something valid.

No it doesn't. It suggests it's cheaper and less painful to give in.

> ... , but actually they don't have to tell us,

And there is the crux of the problem. I notice they're still not going after the source of the "infringement".

> ... frankly, I can't be arsed.

That much was evident.

45
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

"That no credible company has tried to take them to court "

Either you are trolling or just oblivious to the fact that Barnes and Noble took them to court and looked in a very strong position. No one knows the results of the deal but many with a little bit of knowledge (that excludes from maybe Information Week) feel like Microsoft backed down and essentially gave a barter deal to Barnes and Noble that they couldn't refuse.

The fact that Microsoft didn't decide to take it through to trial and get their bumper payday including possibly triple damages shows that they have reservations about their IP if it was to come under judicial scrutiny. However the snippets release from the case show that there is nothing credible and they are trying something close to extortion.

If it was genuine IP they wouldn't be doing hush-hush deals, with restrictions discussing anything about what patents they are asserting and going after defendants on a company-by-company basis.

If they really believed they had proper IP that needed to be protected why not do a public lciensing program that is fully transparent and request payments from everyone at one - oh because the last company that tried that (although still not transparent) was SCO. Look where that got them.

24
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

"hey are required to recoup royalties by law, because they would loose the IP"

You are mixing up patents with copyright and even then you only have to issue a ceasing order.

7
1
Silver badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

"> ... it had seriously questionable IP

Does it? What IP would you be referring to? Or does your NDA stop you discussing it?"

The fact that there have been 19 publicly-announced royalty-bearing agreements between Android handset manufacturers and Microsoft (and other IP holders) to this point should be very obvious proof that Android has extremely serious IP issues.

"> ... MS are rightly claiming royalties for the technologies they developed

Really? Like to tell us all what this technology is?"

Why do you need to know? That the lawyers for the Andriod handset manufacturers know, is all that really matters.

"> ... That no credible company has tried to take them to court suggests that they have something valid.

No it doesn't. It suggests it's cheaper and less painful to give in."

Have you got ANY evidence to back that up? Like, let's say, the cost of mounting a defense and the amount of money that any of these Android handset manufacturers can be expected to pay in royalties under the terms of these agreements? Also, there are at least some jurisdictions where the loser has to pay the winner's legal fees.

"> ... , but actually they don't have to tell us,

And there is the crux of the problem. I notice they're still not going after the source of the "infringement"."

You seem to mistake, "I want to know" for "they have a legal obligation to let me know"

And as for "not going after the source of the infringement", if this is how their lawyers have decided to do it, then that's how they decided to do it.

And notice that Google is not exactly rushing to intervene in these lawsuits on the Android handset manufacturers' behalf, and they haven't exactly offered to indemnify them against any judgements or awards, or even (as far as I know) to help pay their legal costs.

3
28
Bronze badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

Well IBM are charging for the Fab equipment, the chip tech, the storage tech, the OS tech, the communications tech, the screen tech etc. etc. so why shouldn't MS get money for their troubles as well?

0
4
Silver badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

> That no credible company has tried to take them to court suggests that they have something valid.

Microsoft tried to shake down B&N for royalties on these patents. B&N refused to sign the NDA and then published to alleged patents. Instead of going to court over this MS paid $300million for an alleged 'partnership'.

One conclusion is that MS did not want to go to court and lose the patents.

10
0
Silver badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

> You are mixing up patents with copyright

No, he is mixing up patents with trademarks. If you don't protect a trademark you could lose it.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

> very obvious proof that Android has extremely serious IP issues.

No, it s obvious proof that the US has serious Patent Office problems. The PO will pas just about any application because that way they get to collect the fees and not have to worry about any consequence.

The result is lots of lawyers making lots of money while businesses and courts, and ultimately consumers and taxpayers, pay the costs.

If a patent is put up for review then the PO collects another set of fees. This is inspite of prior art or the patent just being an 'idea'.

7
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

You can also lose a patent if you allow people to use your technology and make no attempt to defend the patent or issue C&D letters. If I recall correctly this happened to the people who initially made the 3.5" FDD, matsushita was it? I can't remember...

0
2
Silver badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

..and you cant spell LOSE

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Triple Microsoft tax bingo

"The fact that there have been 19 publicly-announced royalty-bearing agreements between Android handset manufacturers and Microsoft (and other IP holders) to this point should be very obvious proof that Android has extremely serious IP issues."

No, it's just proof that it's cheaper to pay Microsoft to go away than to spend years in court getting questionable patents invalidated (and the one does not prevent the latter. There have been several cases where royalties paid on patents have been clawed back when the patents were invalidated - a thought which must have MS shitting housebricks)

The fact that MS turned tail when B&N not only stood up to them, but published the list of alleged patents says more about their true view of those patents than any agreements entered into (and now those patents are in the open, it's easier to pick them apart)

Court cases of this kind are mostly about who has deeper pockets and greater determination. The usual pattern is to shake down the smaller players first, then to use the monies gained to finance going after bigger fish - which works until the fish in question turns out to have a formidable set of offences and defences as well as a serious toxin load.

Note well that MS are not going directly after Google - if they did that the game would be up very quickly.

2
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Not paying for patents

If the patents were any good Microsoft would publish them; what they've done is blackmail Foxconn by threatening to tie them up for years in litigation for years.

This is a classic example of how these mediaeval instruments work to stifle innovation - companies that are small simply can't fight the court cases while the big established companies just write a cheque rather than challenge the ludicrous claims (Microsoft invented something? Don't make me laugh).

Just fucking scrap patents already.

35
9
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not paying for patents

The patents are all a matter of public record, it's just that we don't know which ones specifically are being claimed on here.

Scrapping patents would be the worst move a modern society could make - software patents maybe, but general patents are required for business and development. Why would I spend a ton of money developing a gizmo that anyone could copy and make themselves?

11
6

Re: Not paying for patents

Robert Long1

"This is a classic example of how these mediaeval instruments work to stifle innovation - companies that are small simply can't fight the court cases while the big established companies just write a cheque rather than challenge the ludicrous claims (Microsoft invented something? Don't make me laugh)."

I was under the impression that Google was a sizeable company with money in the bank. It could afford to fight these claims, but it hasn't. You can't blame Microsoft for that.

6
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not paying for patents

That I understand, Google never had to pay Microsoft a cent about these patents. Perhaps because they are known to fight back, hard.

16
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not paying for patents

Just to point out that patents are not a product of the Medieval Ages, but of the Age of Enlightenment.

Clearer now?

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Not paying for patents - @AC 12:22

Google hasn't had to pay Microsoft because they haven't actually made devices that use them. Writing the software doesn't infringe the patents, putting it in a device and selling it does. That's why Apple have been suing Samsung et al not Google.

4
8
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not paying for patents - @AC 12:22

You know that Motorola brand...you know they are Google right?

You know they make smartphones?

13
1
Silver badge

Re: Not paying for patents

"Just to point out that patents are not a product of the Medieval Ages, but of the Age of Enlightenment."

Not quite. Patent law, from the period you are referring to, is just a formalization of a system of government/monarch-granted monopolies dating back to at least the 1100's.

9
2

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.