[ad#ad-1]Microsoft and Samsung have announced that they have signed a cross-licensing agreement, meaning each is able to use the other’s patented licences. Moreover, the agreement included Samsung’s commitment to continue producing Windows Phone devices, and Samsung will pay Microsoft royalties on all Android tablets and handsets it sells. Microsoft also has similar agreements with ViewSonic, HTC and Acer.
It’s an interesting development, primarily because the deal between Nokia and Microsoft was supposed to be ‘exclusive’, but Microsoft is now signing new agreements with other handset manufacturers for them to give access to their portfolio and create WP7 devices, which is strikingly similar to Nokia’s deal. It leads to wondering what problems this will cause for Nokia now that it will not be the only company to have access to Microsoft’s portfolio for software development and also that other companies will continue to make Windows Phone devices in conjunction with other operating systems – by dropping Maemo, MeeGo and soon Symbian, Nokia will be producing only WP7 and S40 devices, while Samsung has Tizen, Bada, Android and Windows Phone. It appears that Microsoft is well aware no one is buying its latest incarnation of phone offerings and is binding all the manufacturers it can to agree to try to shift it.
The major focus, though, rests on Android. With Samsung having access to Microsoft’s patent portfolio, it must now pay Microsoft on each Android tablet and handset it sells, just as HTC does. Microsoft have played a shrewd game here and it may not be long before it simply has to sit back and watch the money pour in, because with the world’s most noted handset manufacturers Nokia, Samsung and HTC producing its phones, and it receiving royalties from the majority of Android phones being sold, there’s little chance of it losing. And even if Windows Phone continues to be a bottom-feeder in the marketshare arena, Microsoft still rakes in the cash with Android royalties.