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.
Microsoft “has entered into more than 700 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio,” the company notes on its website, but M-CAM calls this assessment a deranged marketing ploy.
“It’s like a creepy dude in an Easter bunny suit offering eggs, and them throwing them if the passerby refuses to take one,” M-CAM wrote in its report. “This strategy of ‘license or we sue’ is working for them though, since Microsoft’s likely ‘received five times more income from Android than from Windows Phone’ – and this just from HTC phone sales!”
It has been estimated in the past that Microsoft at one point earned five times more money from Android licensing deals than from its own mobile platform, and the Redmond, Washington-based software giant has announced numerous licensing deals since that estimate was made.
M-CAM curiously suggests that the success of Microsoft’s patent licensing strategy is due at least in part to a lack of licensees’ willingness to to comb through Microsoft’s massive patent portfolio. “This strategy is working because, really, how many manufacturers are going to look through not only Microsoft’s 10,000 plus patents, but their own sizeable [sic] portfolios as well, just to determine which patents they may or may not be infringing? We doubt even Microsoft’s patent lawyers know what’s in their own portfolio, let alone what’s in their competitors’.”
Microsoft on Sunday announced a new licensing deal with ODM Compal that covers Android and Chrome devices. It already had a similar deal in place with Quanta, and M-CAM ponders whether or not Amazon should be worried. BGR reported last month that Microsoft’s prior deals with Amazon will not cover the retailer’s upcoming Kindle Fire tablet, but that it would likely pursue a new licensing agreement.