Digital Media

Patent Play, Directed by Microsoft.

I find it more & more intriguing that how emerging industries shape themselves and give birth to new business models, and force old players to re-invent themselves to adapt to new challenges.

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. (From Verge:Microsoft signs LG to Android patent-licensing agreement)
Patent protection agreements like these pushes Google and smartphone manufacturers to a corner as well as establishing a tone of terror to an eco-system that was meant to be open, by definition.

Google pushed Android to the ‘open’ before the very first iteration of iPhone, with the controversial escort of Eric Schmit. Back in those days, Microsoft’s work for mobile was limited to knock-off versions of Windows OS which were mainly distributed by companies like HTC (Also read MG Siegler’s – Why I hate Android for more detail on these). But after Apple & Google’s massive investments in their respective mobile-dedicated operating systems. Microsoft started to become obsolete to this trending market, and started to follow an indirect route to mobile. While Microsoft is slowly starting to push their own mobile OS with companies like HTC, they are also creating a strong presence with the lesser-complex mobile phone market with their partnership with Nokia (Follow @tomiahonen on twitter for his in-depth point of view on Elop’s involvement in Nokia).

Now, when we observe the mobile OS market; while the Android phones are leading (IOS & Windows Mobile) with the amount of most activations a day. The position of Microsoft as a challenger in the pushs them to attack to the market share piece by piece. This will allow them to;

  1. Drive IP driven profit from every Android handset that’s ever sold(currently this means they are getting a cut from 70% of smartphone sales in USA alone).

  2. Intimidate handset manufacturers from using what’s freely available to them (Android). As well as offering their own solution.



p>It’s saddening to see Google’s policy of openness for Android stands for, leave the eco-system out in the open/ unattended. They are destined to lose trust of the smartphone manufacturers as well as a great vertical for them to sell so-lo-mo based advertising. However I can’t deny how inspiring it is to see how Microsoft is attacking the herd sheep by sheep and using advantage of being the market challenger.


This is a graph that shows which companies are in a patent war in the mobile industry, you can see how agressively Microsoft is positioned. You can also find the interactive version of this graph here.


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