Microsoft has announced that it has signed a new patent licensing agreement with LG Electronics, covering LG smartphones, tablets, and any other devices that run either Android or Google's Chrome OS. It's another in a series of deals that Redmond has signed with Android OEMs, including HTC, Samsung, and eight others, offering them protection from intellectual property litigation from Microsoft over their use of Google's operating systems. According to Microsoft, more than 70 percent of the Android phones sold in the United States are now covered by such agreements — which means every one of those devices is generating revenue for the company as well.
It's part of a larger strategy Microsoft has been pursuing in the mobile space, offering up its own Windows Phone OS to OEMs for a per-unit price, while simultaneously driving up the cost of using Android. With Google's mobile OS having proved so successful for companies like Samsung, it's not clear if the patent saber-rattling and increased costs will be enough to encourage Android hardware partners to leave the platform, but Microsoft certainly isn't timid about using all of the tools in its arsenal in the meantime.
Update: This is getting interesting. Microsoft executives, including General Counsel Brad Smith, are now gloating over the new deal on Twitter.
How should the smartphone industry resolve IP disputes in the software stack?Let’s try licensing— Horacio Gutierrez (@horaciog) January 12, 2012