Will Microsoft lose billions in Android revenue?

Today in Open Source: Is Microsoft's Android revenue in real jeopardy? Plus: Linux Mint 16 Xfce RC released, and a review of openSUSE 13.1 GNOME

Microsoft Patents and Android Revenue

ZDNet is reporting that Microsoft has suffered a patent loss in a German court that could affect its Android revenue.

Just how important is it? In July 2012, Microsoft got a German court to give them the right to ban all Motorola Android device sales in Germany because of it. Microsoft has also used this, and other FAT patents, to get numerous Android vendors to sign patent-licensing agreements.

These patent agreements, in turn, have made Android, not Windows RT, not Windows Phone 8, its most profitable mobile operating system. It's been estimated that Microsoft makes as much as $8 for every Android device sold. This would add up to Microsoft making as much as $3.4 billion in 2013 from Android sales. That's important.

More at ZDNet

This could be a very good thing for Android device manufacturers, if it sticks. It could result in higher profits for them, or it could allow them to slightly cut prices on Android devices, which would benefit Android device users and possibly increase sales.

It seems though that everything is still very much up in the air right now. As the article notes, another court could easily reinstate the patent and then things would be right back where they started.

It's always a mistake to count Microsoft out on these kinds of issues. They will fight tooth and nail to protect their Android revenue stream regardless of the court costs.

Linux Mint 16 Xfce RC Released

The Linux Mint developers have announced the release of Linux Mint 16 Xfce RC.

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of an Xfce 4.10 desktop.

New features at a glance:

Xfce 4.10

Whisker Menu 1.2

Pulse Audio

Login Screen

USB Stick support

Performance improvements

Software Manager

System Improvements

Artwork Improvements

Main Components

Linux Mint 16 Xfce Release Candidate
Image credit: Linux Mint Blog

More at Linux Mint Blog

With the KDE RC already out, it looks Linux Mint 16's alternative desktops are rolling right along. I'm looking forward to checking out the Xfce version. The Xfce desktop is very light and fast, it works especially well on older computers that lack high-powered hardware.

One of the nice things about Linux Mint is that it provides a desktop environment for pretty much everybody. So you aren't stuck with one interface or the other. You can pick what you want to use, and switch whenever it suits you.

openSUSE 13.1 GNOME Review

Das U-Blog has a review of openSUSE 13.1 GNOME.

openSUSE 13.1 GNOME used 800 MB of RAM at idle. That is a lot. It looks like most of it comes from various GNOME Shell processes. I'm not even sure how GNOME Shell is supposed to work on older hardware. That said, it was stable the whole time, and all composited transitions and animations worked fine.

That's where my time with openSUSE ended. I would say that GNOME 3.10 is decent (though of course I still couldn't use it on a daily basis). openSUSE is generally pretty good too, though the half-functioning YaST was a bit of a turn-off, as was the heavy RAM usage. Overall, I could almost recommend this to newbies as long as they have hardware that can handle GNOME (and that could go beyond "almost" if YaST worked right in the live session — for all that, it could still work after installation).

openSUSE 13.1 GNOME Review
Image credit: Das U-Blog

More at Das U-Blog

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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