With Apple and its team of lawyers breathing down its back, HTC has been exploring opportunities to quickly bolster its patent library and provide protection for its Android efforts. HTC was rumored to be eyeballing Palm’s large treasure chest of patents, and its acquisition potential, but reportedly snubbed its nose at the ailing handset manufacturer after a closer look at Palm’s financial status. Rather than gamble on a sinking ship, HTC turned towards Microsoft and has signed a licensing deal with the software giant from Redmond. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide broad coverage under it’s large patent library for HTC’s Android handsets while HTC, in exchange for this patent umbrella, will pay an undisclosed amount of royalties to Microsoft. Horatio Gutierrez, corporate VP and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft had this to say about the deal:
Microsoft has a decades-long record of investment in software platforms. As a result, we have built a significant patent portfolio in this field, and we have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations. We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform.
What do we make of this? Is this strictly business, or is Microsoft simply getting back at HTC for all of their Android efforts?