Microsoft can add another feather to its IP licensing hat, having now signed Motorola Solutions up for a licensing agreement. That's not Motorola Mobility, the portion of Motorola bought by Google and now being sold to Lenovo that makes handsets such as Moto X and Moto G, as well as Verizon's Droid line. No, Motorola Solutions is the other Motorola, the part left behind after Google snapped up the smartphone half of the company. And they apparently have eyes on the mobile devices market, with this agreement covering devices running both Android and Chrome OS.
The terms of the deal weren't announced, but it's clear from signing the deal that Motorola Solutions is serious about getting more involved in the Android and Chrome OS space. And probably confusing the heck out of everybody with there being two different Motorolas.
Microsoft, for their part, has signed deals like this with numerous companies, including major Android players like Samsung and HTC, and even manufacturer Foxconn. The deals have been estimated to bring in more than $2 billion a year in revenue for Microsoft, and while Motorola Solutions isn't likely to be a major contributor to Microsoft's bottom line, it never hurts to have another company paying for the rights to your patents.
The exact terms of the IP licensing deal signed by Microsoft and Motorola Solutions were not made public.
Microsoft also recently cut the licensing cost for Windows Phone devices and smaller Windows tablets down to the low low price of zero dollars. Windows Phone is steadily gaining marketshare, but for now those almost-pure-profit multi-billion-dollar Android licensing agreements are overshadowing the costs of building up the Windows Phone ecosystem and user base. But they'll get there.
Microsoft and Motorola Solutions sign licensing agreement
Agreement with Motorola Solutions covers devices running Android and Chrome.
REDMOND, Wash. — April 21, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday a patent licensing agreement with Motorola Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers. The license provides worldwide coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Motorola Solutions’ devices running the Android™ platform and Chrome OS™ operating system.
“Microsoft and Motorola Solutions share a respect for intellectual property and a commitment to fair and reasonable patent licensing programs,” said Nick Psyhogeos, general manager, associate general counsel, IP licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft prefers licensing to litigation, since licensing is a more effective way to share technology and accelerate the pace of innovation.”
“Our Motorola Solutions communications technology works best for everyone when it is backed with robust intellectual property and patents,” said Joe White, vice president of Enterprise Mobile Computing, Motorola Solutions. “We are pleased to have agreed upon a solution that allows our customers to purchase Android products from Motorola Solutions with confidence.”
Microsoft’s commitment to licensing IP
The patent agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant technology ecosystem. 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 that open Microsoft’s IP portfolio for customers, partners and competitors. The program was developed to provide access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Microsoft’s specific patent licensing program for Android device-makers has resulted in signed license agreements with numerous companies, including Samsung, ZTE, LG, HTC, Acer and Barnes & Noble.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.