Technology

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from the L.A. Times

Samsung to pay Microsoft to use Android: Extortion or partnership?

Samsung Android phones

Microsoft on Wednesday announced a cross-licensing of its patent portfolio with Samsung that will leave Samsung paying a royalty to Microsoft for each smartphone and tablet it sells running Google's Android operating system.

Samsung will also "agreed to cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone," Microsoft said in a statement, describing the agreements as a partnership.

Google, obviously unhappy that the largest seller of Android phones will pay Microsoft to use an operating system Google doesn't charge anyone to use, described the agreements with a patently different word -- extortion.

"This is the same tactic we've seen time and again from Microsoft," Google said in a statement to the website TechCrunch. "Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others' achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners."

The deal with Samsung is similar to other Microsoft has struck with companies such as Acer, Onkyo, ViewSonic, General Dynamics Itronix, Velocity Micro and HTC, among others, in which Microsoft and those companies cross-license patent portfolios as a way to end disputes centering around Android.

One company that hasn't struck such a deal with Microsoft is Motorola Mobility, which Google is awaiting regulatory approval to purchase.

Motorola, at this point, is the last major Android partner left standing not paying Microsoft to use Android. Unlike Samsung and HTC, Motorola doesn't also offer any Windows Phone 7 handsets and runs only Android on its phones and tablets.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Models pose with Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S II smartphone, running Google Android, during a launch event in Seoul in April. Credit: Jung Yeon-Je / Getty Images

 
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