back to article Aluratek, Coby license Microsoft patents for Android

Two more makers of Android-powered devices have signed patent-licensing agreements with Microsoft, proving yet again that Windows Phone doesn't need to match Android's sales for Microsoft to eat part of its lunch. The two latest companies to ink deals with Redmond are Aluratek and Coby Electronics, both of which manufacture …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    So hang on..

    At what point do microsoft earn more if Nokia &WinPho vanish?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So hang on..

      There's two problems to that logic:

      1) As Android user base so does it's clout to move further outside of Microsoft patents (e.g. filesystems)

      2) Utility patents only last 20 years, so it's never going to be a long term plan for Microsoft. Many of their patents are probably getting close to that already.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: So hang on..

        FAT32 (which is mostly what the patents are about) appeared with Win95, so 2015 no doubt, maybe a little earlier.

        1. Daleos

          Re: So hang on..

          It's maybe for ActiveSync to connect email apps to MS Exchange servers. MS also did a lot of research on multitouch (Surface 1 /PixelSense - ) way before Apple so there's maybe something amongst that lot too.

  2. heynownow


    If they'd only waited till the sept release for the open webos sdk, they wouldn't have had to pay for microsofts protection racket

  3. PyLETS

    US protection racket

    It works with a visit to Littlecorp by Bigcorp's lawyers. Bigcorp shows Littlecorp half a dozen dodgy patents they claim Littlecorp are using. Littlecorp look at them and say these patents are invalid. Bigcorp then says, "so what, you'll be bankrupt by the time you've proved they are, and if you aren't then we'll find a few more patents and start again with those". Littlecorp licenses the patents and agrees not to disclose the terms or which patents are licensed, or they have to pay twice as much. You only get to find out which patents are being used if Littlecorp has deep enough pockets to fight.

    All the larger corps have patents of their own, and agree to cross license.

    I'd be interested to know to what extent this affects prices of goods in UK/EU markets where fewer patents are allowed and software as such isn't patentable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US protection racket

      Re suing smaller companies out of business: That would make the suit malicious and with prejudice, which is hardly likely to go down well in court.

      1. Pinky

        Re: US protection racket

        In which case the company that is being sued to the point of bankruptcy can take MS to court for filing a malicious suit. All they need to do is pay the lawyers... Ah, I'll get back to you on that.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: patent extortion

      Is it? The FAT32 patent issue has gone to court and been proven valid. You either believe in patents and copyrights or you don't.

      Perhaps some day you will have a good idea and want to protect it so you can establish yourself in business. You would be glad of a patent then.

      On Dragon's Den they always ask about patents and they tend to invest in the good ideas that do have protection. Without it anyone can steal your idea before you have recouped your investment.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: patent extortion

        Actually the FAT32 issue should never have been allowed as the point here was MS did some stupid things for compatibility reasons and got a patent on it. No one in their right mind would *want* to use FAT32 except for the need to talk to Windows machines (due to their de facto monopoly in the desktop arena, and inability to read/write much else then FAT or NTFS).

        I am all in favour of protecting innovation, but anything that is to do with interoperability should be excluded from this.

        Also why the secrecy? Any deal that is not public is mighty suspicious and part of patent agreements is they *should* be conducted in the open so that the "value" can be seen for trading, not just to stop predatory agreements being signed, but also to allow investors to see the actual value industry putts on the innovation concerned.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          The "part of patent agreements" is really a wish list. Also sorry for the typos.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Re: patent extortion

          But if FAT32 is really the only or major source of the MS patents Android is using, why does Android continue to support it at all? All they would lose by removing it from Android would be the ability to read FAT32 formatted SD cards, right? How often would people want to swap SD cards between their phone and PC? If they do so, why couldn't they be required to install a driver to read ext3 or whatever fs format you care to use?

          I really really really doubt FAT32 is part of this, or at least anything more than a tiny component of it, for this reason. It is probably some basic patents without which a touchscreen smartphone can't be made. Apple doesn't get sued by MS over these because Microsoft and Apple signed a cross licensing patent agreement ages ago.

          1. FluffGlitter

            Re: patent extortion

            The problem is that FAT, FAT32 and no ex-FAT are mandated by the SD specifications, and Microsoft have patents attached to those filesystems. It the old problem of inserting your patent laden tech in to a specification so that everyone will have to pay you royalties. I suspect that this is a driving factor of device manufacturers removing SD card slots from their tablets and phones.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a small price to pay to get protection from Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Congratulations. You win first prize for managing to mention Apple in the only patent story that doesn't involve them.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS licenses, Apple Crushes

    Google is trying to overthrow the idea that "those who do the research should be able to benefit from it".

    This makes sense - their entire business model isn't about *creating* stuff - but sitting on top of the creations of others (web pages / videos and so on) and taking a few pennies.

    In a trade sense "Android is dumping" - it's taking the research that others have done, repackaging it, and then giving it away free so that the suckers who performed the research in the first place take a loss.

    It's exactly the same as "I spend 5 years coming up with X" - Google does nothing except copy X and give it away for free to make sure that I take a loss on that 5 years I spent coming up with X. It's parasitic behavior and Google is the ultimate parasite.

    It's always been cheaper to copy than create. The question these days is *why bother creating* when the rewards seem to be higher for those that simply copy?

  7. John Styles

    Not Corby

    Thought it was the Android trouser press. 'Where do you want the crease to go today?'

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