Taiwan’s Wistron Corp., a contract manufacturer of Acer Chromebooks, has recently agreed to pay royalties to Microsoft for using Google’s mobile operating system, Android.
That’s not surprising considering that recent deals with Velocity Micro, Onkyo and General Dynamics Itronix have been struck with these Android device manufacturers also agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties. While the Android platform remains free and open for everyone to use and modify, some features on Android phones arguably violates patents owned by Microsoft. It’s reported, for example, that HTC pays Microsoft $5 for each phone it makes that runs Android.
Basically this squeezes the profit margins of the phone suppliers and opens the door for handset manufacturers to consider using Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform. So Microsoft gets cash while it waits for it’s platform to catch fire.
But there is a new wrinkle to all of this. Redmondmag.com reports: “What’s new with the Wistron deal is Microsoft’s reference to the Chrome platform. Microsoft confirmed through a spokesperson today that the Wistron patent coverage is associated with the use of Google’s Chrome OS Internet operating system.”
Could this mean more trouble for the Acer AC700’s journey to eager Chroomebook buyers? Are any other delays forthcoming? We’ll have some indication on July 11th with the pending Acer Chromebook debut. Beyond that, legal battles, patent lawsuits and licensing disputes are now ingrained in the technology market and making predictions become more difficult for many and even futile for some.