Microsoft claims Android licence patent milestone

Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phones Samsung agreed in September to pay Microsoft licence fees for its Android devices

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Microsoft says it now has licence deals with companies "accounting for over half of all Android devices".

The company announced on its blog that Compal was the latest manufacturer to pay it a fee for each device sold using Google's system software.

Compal is a Taiwanese mobile smartphone and tablet maker that builds devices sold under other companies' brands.

Microsoft said it now has patent deals with ten companies covering their use of Android.

Nine of those agreements were struck over the past four months.

Payments

Google does not charge manufacturers to use its operating system, but profits instead from the search advertising generated by use of their devices.

Microsoft claims Android's code makes use of some of its innovations, including memory management and the way contacts are stored.

Earlier in the year Google accused Microsoft, and others of organising a hostile campaign against its software, "waged through bogus patents".

However, Microsoft's lawyers, Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez, defend their action.

"Our agreements ensure respect and reasonable compensation for Microsoft's inventions and patent portfolio," they said.

"Equally important, they enable licensees to make use of our patented innovations on a long-term and stable basis."

Citigroup analyst, Walter Pritchard, said he believed that two of the biggest licensees - HTC and Samsung - are paying the Redmond-based firm between $1-5 (£0.62 - £3.14) - for each Android handset sold.

Lawsuits

Until now Microsoft has focused its patent lawsuit efforts against handset makers, rather than Google itself.

However, that is set to change when Google completes its takeover of Motorola Mobility.

Microsoft claims Motorola has infringed several of its patents and is chasing it for payment. Motorola has filed a countersuit.

Microsoft's other active lawsuits involve infringement claims against the Nook ebook maker, Barnes & Noble, and the Taiwanese manufacturers Foxconn and Inventec.

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