Microsoft and Foxconn parent company Hon Hai have signed a worldwide patent licensing agreement that places the manufacturer underneath Microsoft's patent portfolio umbrella for devices running the Android and Chrome OS. The agreement covers patent usage in smartphones, tablets, and televisions. While specifics of the agreement are not available, Microsoft will reportedly receive royalties from Hon Hai under the agreement.
Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing
program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs allowing customers, partners and competitors to use Microsoft-owned patents. The company maintains that Android utilizes "borrowed" patents from its own portfolio and has consequently embarked on a lucrative licensing campaign, with Microsoft said to be receiving more income from Android than it does from its own Windows Mobile platform.
Microsoft's specific patent licensing program for Android device makers has resulted in signed license agreements with numerous companies including Samsung
, LG, HTC, Acer, and Barnes & Noble. The patent purchase is unlikely to alter the trajectory of any existing lawsuits, but may have been intended to stave off forthcoming actions, either by Microsoft, Hon Hai, or both.