Earlier today, Microsoft and Samsung disclosed that they reached a cross-licensing agreement over patents. The key point: it’s a bad blow to the notion that Android is free. Instead, it’s more like “free” with huge Android OEM partners like HTC and now Samsung agreeing to pay Microsoft to use Android. Google must be pissed off.
And they are. Here’s their statement:
“This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.”
Yes, they used the word “extort”. Wow.
Today’s maneuver is only the latest in a series of moves by Microsoft to destroy Android, or get paid trying. CEO Steve Ballmer is on record as saying that Android isn’t free, you have to pay Microsoft for the patents it violates. And Microsoft has gone out of their way to ensure they maintain the patent upper hand. It’s either evil, or evil genius.
Google’s move to buy Motorola gives them some leverage, but clearly not enough if Samsung is still willing to enter into an agreement like this. You have to wonder if there is something else Microsoft is throwing in to sweeten the deal.
This back and forth will not be over anytime soon.