Microsoft has signed yet another deal with an Android player, this time its LG. There seems to be more to it than it appears on the surface. It this deal just about Android? I think not.
I wonder why no one is signing Windows Phone deals with Microsoft? Why is Microsoft talking only about the Android deals and not about Windows Phone deals? Why is no hardware player signing or renewing any deals with Microsoft to put its Windows Phone on their devices?
Only Windows deal that we heard of was Microsoft-Nokia deal where the Finnish maker committed to using only Microsoft OS. Why we never heard of Samsung, LG, HTC signing any Windows phone deals with Microsoft?
I have a theory.
The possibility is these ‘Android’ deals are in fact Windows Phone deals.
Let’s see what Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez has to say, “We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.”
This statement is very important: “built upon our longstanding relationship”. If we look at Microsoft’s Android deals you will notice a pattern. Microsoft has succeeded in cracking deals with those players who are already Microsoft customers. Samsung, LG, HTC are all Microsoft partners as they use Microsoft OS in their devices. Why is Microsoft not excited about telling the world that their ‘longtime partners’ Samsung, LG or HTC will be putting Windows on their phones? Because, the Android deals could very well be the Windows deals painted as Android deals.
Here is a hypothetical scenario:
Microsoft Executives to LG: “We want you to commit to putting Windows Phone OS on x number of your devices. If you do commit that we won’t raise any Linux patent issues. In fact with Windows Phone License you will also get Android protection.”
What will LG do? Its a win win situation for them. They are getting Android protection for free with Windows phone license. Why will they even consider raising issues about patents.
Now how to hide the fact that it was a Windows phone deal, ‘sign an NDA’ so that the rest of the world won’t know the reality.
Then Microsoft’s PR pushes this deal as an Android deal. LG has no issues with that either. So we hear Gutierrez bragging, “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.”
This hypothesis also explains why is no one at Microsoft talking about the same players using Windows Phone!
Now who will have issues with it? Those who are not Microsoft customers as they are not using Windows so they don’t want any bundle and we see Barns & Nobel coming out and challenging Microsoft extortion deal.
Microsoft Is Making Zilch With Android
I very much doubt that companies are paying anything for Android protection. It’s ‘part’ of Windows license. “Buy Windows Phone license and get Android protection.”
So, there is nothing extra that these companies are paying for Android. All those reports about companies paying up to $10 per units are bogus because if there is an NDA, no one would know. Not even Goldman Sachs which is responsible for global recession. How can Goldman Sachs projected that Microsoft will make $444 million from Android devices in 2012 as a result of the licensing agreements in place at the time when there is an NDA? Who broke the NDA?
Another reason for Microsoft to signed NDA and not disclose the patents involved is that the company knows that there patents can be challenged and be invalidated by the USPTO. It must be remembered that USPTO rejected all of Apple’s patents against HTC except for one. So, Microsoft’s chances to play bluff are even thinner thus they go for NDAs.
The fact is most of these patents are already invalid.
Barnes & Noble has already showed that most of Microsoft’s Android claims are bogus. Microsoft has started withdrawing its bogus patents from Barnes & Noble Android case. The company is now left with only four patents against Android.
Why would a mega corporation like LG be bullied by Microsoft when they can clearly see that Barnes & Noble showed their patents are invalid? Because, I think, there is ‘no’ Android patent deal. It’s Windows Phone deal. Why will LG has issues with that?
Most of the anti-Android stories are spread by a Germany based blogger who extensively spins stories against Android. No surprise Florian Mueller is on a mission against Android as Zdnet’s Mary-Jo Foley wrote he is “working on a Microsoft-funded study of FRAND patents, as he has disclosed previously.”
No future of Microsoft Phone
Microsoft is pushing such deals as the company is aware of the sorry state of Windows Phones. Microsoft’s Xbox team is now looking for developers who can post Xbox to platforms like Android and iOS? Why is the company willing to give up on the ‘exclusivity’ which could have been a selling point for Windows Phones?
Such deals will ensure that Microsoft’ Windows Phone will continue to have its presence in the market. The company is simply trying to kill two birds with one stone – sign windows deals with companies and present it as an Android deal.