back to article Huawei butters up Microsoft to avoid Android patent war

Chinese infrastructure giant Huawei is bucking the trend by talking to Microsoft about patent licensing before launching potentially infringing Android devices. While the rest of the mobile industry just builds gadgets then waits to see who sues, Huawei has been telling the BBC that it is taking the innovative approach of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Yet all this time

    Microsoft haven't said what patents they are infringing..

    The reality of this of course, is they aren't, but nobody can afford to upset Microsoft, and you will lose all your other benefits like being an OEM Windows licensee.

    They are using their market dominance in once sector to bully themselves into another. Isn't that illegal?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LOL!

      "They are using their market dominance in once sector to bully themselves into another. Isn't that illegal?"

      Nah, Patent law is written By, and for the benefit of Patent Lawyers. You can garantee Lawyers have an get out for what would be "Demanding money with Menaces" in almost any other context.

    2. RoboJ1M
      WTF?

      Yes, it's called a protection racket.

      "prior to the UK launch of its Android devices"

      Sorry, but I was under the impression that you can't patent software inventions in the UK.

      Silly me.

      J.

    3. Shaun 1

      Why do you have the right to know what patents they are infringing?

      Are you building an android device for retail?

      We as consumers don't have to know. We may want to know but just because nobody has told YOU what the specific patents are doesn't mean that there are no patents being infringed

  2. Red Bren
    Unhappy

    Spilling the beans

    Any chance they could find out and let us all know what patents MS believe are being infringed by Android?

    The sooner non-disclosure clauses are banned from patent settlements, the better. Then developers can code around the patent and everyone will be happy. Except the patent trolls and their lawyers, so it will never happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      My money is on Exchange/Outlook sync and something to do with long filenames in FAT32/exFAT.

      As for non-discolsure, they've all been out of court settlements so I don't think there is any organisation legal or otherwise who can enforce disclosure. I think that's the point.

  3. Roger Stenning
    Flame

    It's not MS they shold be talking to, though...

    MS, for all the problems in the past, seem to be treating Android reasonably; the guys that the Chinese need to pour flame-retardant foam over are Apple, of course. Seems that someone even mentioned the word "Android" in their hearing, and they spew - I mean sue - ad infinitum :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title Distinctly optional, but a good idea anyway...

      Actually, i know someone who works at Microsoft UK, and he said they all have iBooks and iPhones, but Woe betide anyone who dares to come to work with an Android phone!

      Besides, MS seems to mostly be run by Lawyers, and their strategy for extracting money out of Android and Linux appears to be working, so why belabor the point. After all, ultimately, they care less about Brand image, and more about the money.

      Apple however, seem to be run by a different type of people. Everything apple has done, has been done before, However, Apple did it better, which means everyone else is playing catchup. However, everyone else is catching up, and apple want to stop that.

    2. Goat Jam
      WTF?

      MS seem to be treating Android reasonably

      Umm, no.

      Treating Android (oems) reasonably would be coming right out and saying "We assert that we have patents X, Y and Z. If you wish to implement functionality covered by these patents then please contact us for a FRAND license.

      OTOH, saying "Anybody who makes an Android device can expect a visit from our lawyers for unspecified patent breaches" is hardly synonymous with "treating Android reasonably"

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Only £100.00?

    Well Microsoft will soon put a stop to that silliness.

    MS to H... How about $50 per device. That seems reasonable enough.

    H execs go white in the face.

    Then they settle for $40 per device.

  5. Daf L
    Black Helicopters

    Shooting themselves in the foot?

    Maybe not for the UK but for America. If they don't like the terms of Microsoft's licensing and refuse to pay then they are willfully selling devices with patented technologies (assuming they are...) . which can massively up the damages a patent holder can seek. However building it without negotiating as Microsoft are not telling people what patents they hold means you can claim a certain degree of ignorance.

    I would also not be surprised if the current crop of suppliers who have signed up to the Microsoft Patent licensing are actually getting the licenses for next to nothing. It's all about FUD.

    It seems that the companies that quickly settle with MS are also makers of Windows based kit. Therefore if Microsoft effectively say "license out patents for your Android portfolio and we'll give you the equivalent off your bill for our Software" then the supplier gets the patent licensing for free and no lengthy legal battle.

    However now MS, with a gagging clause, are making it sound as though suppliers are seeing their evidence and signing up, creating FUD and extending their long-term licensing reach. The existing suppliers then have to carry on supporting MS products to avoid losing out.

  6. GrantB
    Boffin

    Huawei - after the fact, not before

    Huawei might be entering the UK market, but they have been shipping Android phones for some time already:

    http://huaweimobile.co.nz/ideos-x1

    So why the "before launching potentially infringing Android devices"?

    I would guess that MS would be looking at hardware makers shipping Android devices, anywhere worldwide including Australia and New Zealand.

  7. P. Lee

    Why aren't they talking to Apple?

    Because Apple don't license their tech.

    Agree with AC - this is about outlook sync tech being licensed, rather than Android infringement.

    Also, if you ever think you might want to sell a windows tablet or phone, you'd better play nice.

  8. alwarming
    Thumb Up

    Probably MS lawyers won't like it a bit!

    If everyone did the same wouldn't M$ reduce the billed hours in that case ? :)

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