Microsoft Signs Android Patent Deal With LG, Taunts Google

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it had signed a patent-licensing contract with Android-based handset maker LG, the latest in a series of agreements the software giant has made with major smartphone manufactures.

Microsoft did not disclose how much the agreement will be worth, but said it provides “broad coverage under Microsoft´s patent portfolio for LG´s tablets, mobile phones and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome OS Platform.”

“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,” said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of intellectual property and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, in a news release about the agreement.

In addition to LG, the world´s No. 2 mobile phone manufacturer according to comScore, Microsoft has already signed licensing agreements with Samsung and nine others.

Google offers Android as an open-source platform, but Microsoft claims it infringes upon technology it developed.

Apple has made similar claims, arguing that Android-based hardware manufacturers violate its patents, and is currently fighting in court against HTC and Samsung.

Microsoft executives took to Twitter shortly after the announcement to take a few jabs at Google, Android´s creator, over the deal, under which Microsoft will receive a cut of every Android-based device sold.

“Hey Google — we are the 70%,” wrote Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s vice president of corporate communications, using one of the catchphrases of the nationwide Occupy movement.

“Can we just agree to drop the patents-as-weapons meme? When effective licensing enables companies to share IP, the metaphor falls apart,” Shaw later wrote.

Tweets written by Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, seemed directed towards Apple and other litigious companies.

“It’s time to recognize that in #patent world, lawsuits are the 1%; license agreements are the 99%,” he wrote in his post-deal tweet.

Nearly 47 percent of smartphones in existence in November ran on Android, according to ComScore, with 28.7 percent running Apple’s iOS.  Microsoft’s Windows Phone mobile operating system lagged far behind in fourth place, at just 5.2 percent.

Motorola Mobility, which Google agreed to acquire last year for $12.5 billion, is now the lone remaining major Android-based smartphone manufacturer not to have signed a deal with Microsoft.

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