When it comes to the mobile market, Microsoft has yet to really stake a firm claim. Still, at least they are getting a small share of the pie thanks to many successful attempts to seek royalty payments from Android device makers that allegedly violate certain MS patents.
Now, it seems that Microsoft is at it once again, this time pressuring Pantech. According to Yonhap News, Pantech is currently in talks with Microsoft regarding the patent violations and an agreement for licensing that is benefits both parties.
According to what we do know, most likely the agreement will result in MS getting $5 per every Pantech Android device sold, a fee that other Android OEMS have been rumored to pay such as HTC, Samsung, and LG. Of course, none of these companies have officially highlighted how much they are paying Microsoft though.
With Microsoft collecting fees on roughly 70% of all Android devices, it certainly must cause some strong tension between Google and Microsoft.
Beyond that though, I have to wonder what the average user thinks about all this.
Sure, MS is making money from Android and this way at least getting a small share of sales in the mobile sector, but is it negatively effecting their reputation in a way that might slow down their own OS options like Windows 8 and WP from really taking off?
Many users out there, especially the rogue-techie types, aren’t too keen on big business to begin with, but with tactics that are forcing hardware vendors to pay off Microsoft, it has to turn them off from Windows and Windows Phone further.
Some users might instead decide to stick to Android saying, “Well, I’d rather pay a few dollars to MS than buy a full-fledged MS device and give them even more of my hard-earned cash.” You also have to wonder if there are some users out there that are sticking to smaller brands, like Chinese-knock offs in order to avoid giving any of their money to big companies like MS through royalties.
Of course, how many users out there really care about something like this? Probably not enough to make that big of an impact on Microsoft, I’d wager.
Still, you have to be careful about how many bridges you burn in any business. Are companies like Samsung and HTC happily paying these royalties as just ‘another aspect of business’, or do they feel like they are getting their arm-twisted? If relations with major vendors sour in any way, it could ultimately hurt Microsoft when they work to expand partners to its Windows tablets and smartphones.
Of course, every day a company sues another company and then a week later forms some kind of partnership together. It’s just the way big business functions, I suppose.
Also, if users really cared about these kind of tactics, they would have a problem with Apple as well, which is no stranger to the same kind of patent suites as Microsoft goes after.
Ultimately though, you have to wonder how the public looks at all these somewhat frivolous suites. As I’ve said before, I’m personally mixed about it all. I understand protecting your product, your rights, and your business but sometimes its all seems just a little too petty for me.
What do you think?
Share your thoughts below.