By Harry McCracken | Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 11:24 am
Microsoft has struck a deal with Quanta, the giant contract manufacturer, to license its patents which may be violated by Google’s Android and Chrome OS. (I knew that Microsoft had been doing these pacts for Android, but wasn’t aware that it thinks that Chrome OS also rips off its intellectual property.)
Jay Green of Cnet reports:
As Android has grown and surpassed Microsoft’s mobile-phone operating systems in the marketplace, the company has targeted handset and tablet makers that use the Google operating system. It’s racked up a laundry list of licensees in a little more than a year, starting with longtime partner HTC. Just last month, Microsoft reached an Android licensing agreement with Acer.
I’m not criticizing Microsoft for its dealmaking. For one thing, I’m not a patent lawyer, so I don’t have a stance on the legitimacy of its claims against Google’s products. For another, aggressive licensing is probably less depressing than what the rest of the industry is doing: Attempting to sue everybody else’s pants off. But considering the company’s lack of success with Windows Phone so far, the possibility exists that it’ll slowly devolve from a product company into a patent-licensing one–and that would be sad.