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Microsoft has signed another high-profile patent deal related to Android and Chrome tablets and smartphones. A week after reaching a similar deal with Foxconn, Microsoft has signed an agreement that will result in China-based ZTE paying royalties to the U.S. firm for every Android device it sells.
PCMag's Chloe Albanesius reported, "Microsoft this week inked another Android-related patent deal, this time with China's ZTE. 'Under the agreement, Microsoft grants ZTE a license to Microsoft's worldwide patent portfolio for ZTE phones, tablets, computers and other devices running Android and Chrome OS,' Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, wrote in a blog post."
The Inquirer also quoted Gutierrez, who said, "Much of the current litigation in the so called 'smartphone patent wars' could be avoided if companies were willing to recognize the value of others' creations in a way that is fair." He added, "At Microsoft, experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street, and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights. This is why we have paid others more than $4 billion over the last decade to secure intellectual property rights for the products we provide our customers."
The Guardian's Charles Arthur noted, "The announcement by Microsoft brings to 20 the number of companies that have signed deals after Microsoft claimed patent ownership over undisclosed functions within Android. Last week, the giant manufacturer Hon Hai - owner of the Foxconn factories which make huge numbers of phones and tablets for other companies - signed a similar deal to pay royalties on Android and ChromeOS devices. ZTE was the fifth-largest maker of smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to IDC, shipping 9.8m Android phones, just behind Sony's 9.8m and Huawei's 10.8m. Huawei and Microsoft are also understood to have been in talks about a similar licence relating to Android."
Janet I. Tu with The Seattle Times observed, "Microsoft says it has now reached such agreements with the manufacturers or vendors of 80 percent of Android smartphones sold in the U.S. and a majority of those sold worldwide. One company it has not reached such an agreement with is Motorola, which Google bought last year, in part because of Motorola’s patent portfolio. Microsoft and Motorola are currently embroiled in several legal disputes in courtrooms from Seattle to Washington, D.C. to Mannheim, Germany."