Future Samsung smartphones could be powered by Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system according to a new round of market chatter. Rumors tossed around Wall Street Friday morning suggest that Samsung is preparing to make a $1.5 billion investment in RIM, which will then license its upcoming next-generation operating system to Samsung for upcoming smartphones. Samsung may have been driven to the deal due to concerns surrounding the future of Android following Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Barron’s reports. BGC Partners analyst Collin Gillis, who recently held meetings with Samsung executives, says BlackBerry 10 phones from Samsung are a possibility, but he believes Samsung may be more likely to turn to Microsoft’s next-generation Windows Phone 8 software instead. RIM has long-been rumored to be pushing its software on various vendors in an effort to secure licensing agreements, however no deals have materialized to date. RIM’s stock is up 5% on the rumor. More →
OnLive, a company known for its cloud-based gaming service, has been pushing its “Desktop App” for iPad and select Android tablets. The program uses virtualization technology to create a remotely hosted, fully functional version of Windows 7 desktop — Microsoft’s Office suite included — on a tablet, and has been met with a great deal of praise. Microsoft, however, cannot be counted among the service’s fans. In a post on the company’s blog, the software giant expressed concerns that the app may be in violation of its licensing agreements and is “actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved.” OnLive did not immediately respond to a request for comment. More →
Nokia’s fourth-quarter earnings report painted a grim picture of the Finnish phone maker’s business last quarter, but amid the red numbers peppered throughout Nokia’s earnings release, the high-level terms of its agreement with Microsoft were revealed. In exchange for royalty payments estimated to reach into the billions over the life of the agreement, Microsoft makes quarterly “platform support payments” of $250 million to Nokia according to the vendor’s earnings report. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft is said to be close to finalizing a patent-licensing deal with Pantech. Microsoft already has similar agreements in place with Samsung, HTC, ViewSonic and other Android vendors; the company was aggressive in seeking patent-licensing deals with Android vendors in 2011 and is currently fighting to establish a licensing deal with Barnes & Noble, which has accused the company of charging “exorbitant licensing fees” and has even asked the federal government to probe Microsoft’s actions. The pending deal with Pantech was first published by Yonhap News and terms of the agreement were not revealed. More →
Microsoft and LG have signed a patent agreement that covers LG’s tablets, mobile phones, and other consumer devices running Android or Chrome OS. Terms of the deal between the two companies have not being disclosed. However, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has targeted an Android vendor, previously signing deals with Samsung, HTC, and Acer, among others. “Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.” Each vendor who signs a deal with the Redmond-based company pays an undisclosed licensing fee for using Microsoft’s patents, which Android and Chrome OS reportedly infringe upon. However, not every company is giving in, with Motorola and Barnes & Noble currently involved in a lengthy patent battle with Microsoft. Read on for the press release.
Research In Motion is reportedly working toward a major transition that will see the company begin licensing its BlackBerry software to third-party vendors including Samsung and HTC. In a recent research note, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek wrote that his checks confirmed earlier reports that Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie will soon be removed from their roles as co-chairmen. The analyst says current board member Barbara Stymiest is indeed the front-runner to replace the pair, and he calls her one of the top executives in Canada. ”We believe she will initiate a formal strategic review, possibly trim costs in the hardware business, and possibly announce additional partnerships,” Misek wrote. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft is chasing down Huawei in search of a patent licensing agreement, The Guardian reported on Tuesday. “Yes, Microsoft has come to us,” Huawei Devices chief marketing officer Victor Xu told The Guardian. ”We always respect the intellectual property of companies. But we have 65,000 patents worldwide too. We have enough to protect our interests. We are a very important stakeholder in Android.” Xu also said that “negotiations are in progress” with Microsoft, which takes home an estimated $444 million annually from Android royalties. Microsoft has a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung and has similar deals with HTC, ViewSonic and other Android device vendors. It is expected that Microsoft may soon hunt down Amazon for an agreement related to its new Android-powered Kindle Fire tablet, too. More →
Microsoft’s alleged strategy of forcing Android partners into intellectual property licensing deals with threats of legal action is once again under fire. In a report released on Friday, intellectual property management firm M-CAM offered a no-holds-barred analysis of Microsoft’s “license or we sue” strategy. The firm said Microsoft is offsetting its own failures in the mobile space by forcing more successful companies to pay royalties on Android device sales, and it likened Microsoft’s strategy to that of “a deranged Easter Bunny.” Read on for more. More →
One week after announcing a similar deal with Quanta, Microsoft on Sunday revealed a new licensing arrangement with consumer electronics original design manufacturer Compal Electronics, Inc. The Redmond, Washington-based software company has reached a deal with Compal whereby it will receive royalty payments on sales of Compal’s tablets, cell phones, eReaders and other devices powered by Google’s Android or Chrome platforms. With this new deal in place, Microsoft also now holds licensing agreements with more than half of the worlds Android and Chrome ODMs. ”We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Compal, one of the leaders in the original design manufacturing, or ODM, industry,” Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement. ”Together with the license agreements signed in the past few months with Wistron and Quanta Computer, today’s agreement with Compal means more than half of the world’s ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices is now under license to Microsoft’s patent portfolio. We are proud of the continued success of our licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome.” Microsoft’s full statement follows below. More →
Microsoft and Amazon signed a licensing agreement in February last year that covers technology used in the Kindle and various other products. That agreement does not cover Amazon’s new Android-powered Kindle Fire tablet, BGR has learned, which means Amazon could be coughing up hefty licensing fees to Microsoft in the near future. The Redmond-based company recently signed a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung and has similar deals in place with HTC, ViewSonic and other Android device vendors. Microsoft will take home an estimated $444 million in 2012 from Android royalties according to a recent Goldman Sachs report, and the Redmond-based firm’s warpath is likely to continue. Read on for more. More →
Dolby dropped a patent infringement case against Research In Motion after the two sides reached a licensing agreement, Reuters reported on Monday. Dolby filed a lawsuit against RIM on June 15th in the United States and in Germany in an attempt to block sales of BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook. The audio company also sought to recover financial damages. Dolby accused RIM of using its “highly efficient digital audio compression technologies” and filed a suit after RIM initially declined to pay licensing fees. The terms of Monday’s licensing agreement were not disclosed. Dolby’s technology is used in a number of popular smartphones from manufacturers such as Samsung, Nokia, HTC and LG. More →
With Research In Motion’s annual shareholder meeting scheduled to take place later today, one popular RIM-focused analyst is calling for the company to split its handset and network businesses into two separate companies. “RIM’s organization, like its handsets, needs modernization. By acting now, splitting RIM into network and handset businesses may target opportunities and unlock significant shareholder value,” RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday. “RIM’s end-to-end solution was conceived when data devices and networks were nascent — but times have changed,” the analyst continued. Abramsky believes the standalone network business can target a market of roughly 400 million Android devices, Windows Phones, tablets and other devices with “affordable, efficient, cross-platform mobile push messaging, social networking, cloud and business data services (and software)” that is already interconnected with 595 carriers around the globe. On the other end, splitting off RIM’s devices business could accelerate handset innovation, strengthen developer relationships and help the company prioritize its customers and developers over its carrier partners — a sentiment thought by some to be paramount to RIM’s success moving forward. Abramsky reiterated his price target of $35 for RIM stock, noting above-average risk.
According to Reuters, Microsoft has asked Samsung to pay $15 for each Android smartphone it makes. The Redmond-based firm believes that its software patents cover the technology used in Samsung’s Android devices and if history is any indication, Microsoft will get its way. In April of last year, HTC signed an umbrella agreement with Microsoft in which it was allowed access to Microsoft’s patents for an undisclosed fee estimated to be $15 per device. South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper said that it expects Samsung to bounce back with an offer to pay Microsoft $10 for each Android phone it manufactures. Samsung has also recently been locked up in a number of lawsuits with Apple that have seen the Cupertino-based company accuse Samsung of creating “copycat devices” that infringe on Apple patents. More →