Android soon to cost a license fee for everyone.
HTC is already paying a license fee to Microsoft for each Android phone sold. According to Reuters, Microsoft is now after Samsung to make them pay too. It is all about the patents Microsoft owns that give them the power to demand license fees for Android. An interesting report over at TechCrunch shows that Apple is indirectly helping Microsoft to maintain the edge over Google in terms of patents.
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The recent auction of the Nortel patent portfolio reads like a high stake poker game. The report reveals that Apple supported a bidder consortium that includes Microsoft to win against Google in the bidding. Apple was bidding for the patents by themselves for a while, but then decided to stake a goup that includes RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and Microsoft.
With the Nortel patents Google could have had a chance to counter the Microsoft push to charge license fees for Android. Now it looks like Microsoft is even in a much better position to get all major Android phone makers to pay license fees.
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This license fee could evolve in a major problem for the growth of Android. Phone and tablet makers might leave Android and use either free OSes (MeeGo anyone?) or shop around at HP and yes, Microsoft.