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These are the secret patents Microsoft used to squeeze billions out of Android vendors

Zach Epstein
June 16th, 2014 at 9:30 AM
Microsoft Android Patents

Microsoft’s return to the mobile space following the epic downfall of Windows Mobile has been slow going so far. In fact, the company’s Windows Phone operating system was first unveiled four years ago now, and Microsoft’s share of the global smartphone market still sits in the low single digits. But despite the company’s struggles to regain its footing in mobile, Microsoft continues to make billions from the smartphone and tablet markets. How? By using a list of patents it claims have been infringed by Android to pressure smartphone makers into licensing deals. And now, for the first time, that secret list is no longer a secret.

As noted by Ars Technica on Sunday, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) recently published the entire list of 310 patents Microsoft has used to force Android device makers into licensing deals. The list was published as part of the approval process of Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Nokia’s devices business.

Microsoft says that 70% of all Android devices sold in the U.S. are covered by these deals, and the company is estimated to earn as much as $2 billion per year from the agreements — far more than it makes from Windows Phone.

Ars has more details on the list of 310 patents, which can be downloaded in full from the MOFCOM website as a Microsoft Word document by clicking this link.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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