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Microsoft has been busy the last couple of days, first celebrating the awesome response to its latest OS, Windows 7, and then, threatening to sue HTC over patent infringement before deciding to license the same technology to the Chinese manufacturer.
Though any stable OS would have done well after the nightmare that was Windows Vista, Microsoft’s Windows 7 platform has made a lot of people happy, a fact evinced by how fast it was adopted by the general public. Since having been launched just six short months ago in October 2009, Windows 7 has already sold 100 million licenses worldwide, which of course excluded the many millions of pirated copies. It is now officially Microsoft’s fastest selling OS ever. Way to go Microsoft!
Microsoft announced that the Android OS infringes on many of its software patents (of the user interface and operating system type). Then, as HTC and Microsoft have had a “long history of technical and commercial collaboration”, Microsoft has reached an agreement with the Chinese manufacturer to allow it to use the same patented technologies on its devices, with a license. HTC agreed, and will now start paying royalties to the software giant to be able to use Google’s Android OS on its devices.
Very ironic, but a move that has resulted in no full-blown lawsuit – a fact that will definitely relieve HTC, who currently faces serious patent infringement suits from Apple. Other companies using Android however should watch out.
In Microsoft’s words: “Microsoft Corp. and HTC Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform”
HTC will now start paying royalties to Microsoft to use the tech, which some believe to be the same as those Apple is suing HTC over. This speculation has some interesting implications, most striking of which is that this move could be Microsoft trying to help HTC battle Apple. What is more plausible is that Microsoft is trying to ruffle up the competition, by making other manufacturers afraid of using the Android OS in their devices ahead of the Windows Phone 7 launch. Whatever the motive behind all this, we know that we are seeing three of the biggest computer giants get into the patent fray, and things might just get very ugly.