The last time we checked in with HTC, Apple was trying to sue its pants off
infringement. Now, the Taiwanese cell-phone maker has forged a major
patent deal with Microsoft. What's this all about? At first blush,
bloggers jumped the gun (yes, even The Washington Post
) saying Microsoft
was giving HTC ammunition to fend off its Apple lawsuit. But that
assumption appears to be too simplistic. Here's a deeper look at what
might be going on:
- Microsoft and HTC and Google vs. Apple? MG Siegler at TechCrunch posits the
initial theory: "This seems to be Microsoft lending its (undoubtedly
massive) arsenal of patents to help HTC and Google
combat Apple (though, naturally, the rationale behind the deal --
and Apple -- are never named)."
- Nope, That's Wrong, writes Todd Bishop at Tech Flash: "It might
seem that Microsoft, through the deal, is providing its partner with IP
ammunition to use in its defense against Apple, Microsoft's longtime
rival. But that isn't what's happening. Instead, the deal represents
Microsoft drawing a line in the sand against its other archrival, Google
-- and asserting that Microsoft, like Apple, believes Android infringes
on its patents. The HTC deal represents the first in what Microsoft
hopes will be a series of patent peace accords with Android device
- Here's My Guess Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at
Business Insider writes, "The Microsoft-HTC deal probably makes sense
for HTC since they also make a lot of Windows Mobile phones and
presumably don't want to damage their relationship with Microsoft. Such
an agreement -- implicitly confirming that Android does infringe on
Microsoft IP -- would probably give Microsoft legal ammunition against
other Android handset makers, or possibly Google itself."
This Is More About Linux, writes Mary-Jo Foley at ZDNet: "Android is a Linux-based operating
system, and Microsoft has been waging a campaign to get Linux
distribution vendors and their OEMs to sign intellectual property (IP)
licensing pacts over the past couple of years." Still she has questions.
"Does the Microsoft-HTC patent agreement mean we can expect to see
Microsoft weigh in on the Apple vs. HTC patent infringement matter? Or
is the Microsoft-HTC deal just one more example (with more
mobile-phone makers possibly to come) of Linux companies attempting
to head off potential Microsoft lawsuits involving Linux?"
- Throwing in Another
Guess Siegler adds: "This deal may have more to
do with HTC covering itself if Microsoft decides to go after Google.
But it's hard to know for sure at this point."
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