The clever folks in Redmond (aided by their attorneys) appear to have found a way to gain “licensing revenue” from Android phones. That’s right. Android the OS is “free,” and that was seen, early on, as a competitive advantage vs. Windows Mobile, which had exacted a price of up to $15 dollars per unit from handset makers.
Yesterday, however, Microsoft announced it had reached a licensing agreement with longtime partner HTC regarding its patent portfolio and Android phones:
Microsoft Corp. and HTC Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.
The agreement expands HTC’s long-standing business relationship with Microsoft.
I’m unfamiliar with the customary terms of these agreements and so I can’t project the revenues that might flow to Microsoft from HTC and potentially other Android OEMs that Microsoft’s attorneys will undoubtedly be calling (Motorola, Samsung, Dell, etc).
One semi-ironic question to consider is whether the total revenues that might come from IP licensing vis-a-vis Android could replace potential lost Windows Mobile sales to that very same OS.