Microsoft bleeds more Android outfits for patent kickbacks

As we have reported before, software giant Microsoft is becoming a big fan of Android as the Linux based operating system has become the happy hunting ground of its patent lawyers.  This week it signed shedloads of new deals.

We wrote yesterday that Microsoft’s latest target is Wistron. The ODM has signed a patent agreement which “provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Wistron’s tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform,” the Vole wrote in a statement.

Microsoft general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said Microsoft was pleased that Wistron is taking advantage of the licensing program. It is established to help companies “address Android’s IP issues”.

Microsoft has also announced Android agreements with Velocity Micro, General Dynamics and Onkyo in the last week. That is on top of the patent agreement struck last year with successful smartphone maker HTC.

At the moment it appears that Vole is making more cash out of Android than it does out of its own Windows Phone 7 platform.

It is clear it wants more. Motorola, another major Android device maker, is fighting Microsoft’s patent infringement claims in court.

Patent watcher Florian Mueller claims that case is going rather well for the Vole. Microsoft says Motorola infringes on 21 patents, including 19 with Android.

What seems to be happening is that Microsoft is not making a big thing about its IP battles with Android. Gone are the days where Steve Ballmer says Linux is a cancer. What has replaced it is an army of lawyers waiting for something to be successful – and then descending on it armed with tons of patent briefs.