The list of Microsoft’s patent buddies has just gotten a little longer today: the company has announced that they have entered into yet another patent protection deal, this time with Taiwan-based Quanta Computers.
Readers may recall that Microsoft’s past partnerships range from big names like Samsung and HTC, to less prominent firms like General Dynamics Itronix.
Unfortunately, the release is vague enough to ensure that we aren’t privy to any specifics. It does mention though that in exchange for the company’s patent coverage, Quanta will pay out royalties on smartphones and tablets that run on Android or Chrome OS.
That could be absolutely huge. The Quanta name may not ring many bells, but they’re the one of the largest contract PC manufacturers in the world. On top of that, they handle tablet production and manufacturing for more prevalent companies. Remember the Amazon Fire? It’s probably one of theirs.
That’s where things start to get cloudy. If Microsoft’s deal allowed them to collect royalties on any Android or Chrome-powered product sold under the Quanta name, that’s one thing. What would really count as a Redmond win is if the deal gave Microsoft a cut from any Android or Chrome-powered product they make for another company.
The licensing deals Microsoft has inked in the past don’t shine any light on the royalty structure. They signed a similar agreement with Wistron, an Acer spin-off company that also manufactures products for sale under different brand names, but the terms were never disclosed.
In any case, Microsoft is playing hardball with these licensing agreements, and they’ll likely make bank off of them. Google historically hasn’t been a fan of Microsoft’s practices, so we’ll see if the folks over in Mountain View have anything to say about this.