September 08, 2011, 3:26 PM — Microsoft announced Thursday that Acer and ViewSonic have each agreed to license undisclosed intellectual property from Microsoft to cover each vendor's Android phones and tablets, Microsoft says.
The deal with ViewSonic also covers Chrome tablets, Microsoft said, and involves royalties paid to Microsoft by ViewSonic. Details of the royalties were not disclosed.
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Including these two agreements, Microsoft has now announced Android-specific licensing deals with at least seven vendors: HTC, Velocity Micro, General Dynamics, Wistron, Onkyo and now Acer and ViewSonic. In addition, Microsoft previously announced patent license agreements with Samsung and LG that may cover Android as well. The Samsung licensing agreement was broad and at the time, 2007, covered Linux. Ditto for the agreement with LG, also announced in 2007. Microsoft said at that time the agreement would cover "Linux-based embedded devices."
Microsoft's biggest win in its campaign to impose licensing fees on as many Android device makers as possible was its agreement with HTC. HTC has become one of the most successful smartphone vendors on the strength of Android devices such as the Evo and Thunderbolt. According to one analyst, Microsoft receives $5 every time HTC sells an Android phone, leading some observers to conclude that Microsoft makes more money overall from Android than from its own Windows Phone 7 platform.
Microsoft has been cagey about publicly releasing information on exactly which patents these vendors are licensing. However, Microsoft is suing Motorola and Barnes & Noble in separate suits over alleged Android patent infringement. With the Motorola suit, filed in October 2010, Microsoft detailed nine patents it says are infringed upon by Motorola's Android devices. These include some related to Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which syncs email, calendar and contacts between a phone and PC, and technology that displays signal strength and battery power on phones.