Microsoft's hold over Android grows

Microsoft’s hold over the Android operating system has grown as the software giant gets another manufacturer signed up to pay protection money a licence fee.

Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron has agreed to pay Microsoft licensing fees for each Android or Chrome device it makes.

Redmond told ZDnet that it is the latest in a long string of such agreements, and covers smartphones, e-readers and tablets. It has signed deals with Quanta, Wistron and Compal already.

Microsoft intellectual property chief Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement that Vole was proud of the continued success of its Android licensing program in “resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace”.

Microsoft should be. It makes a lot of profit out of every Android device sold without having to do much more itself.

In fact, a cynic might say that Microsoft could avoid releasing Windows 8 on mobile devices and continue to profit off the back of Android without having to get out of bed.

Pegatron makes Android devices for the likes of HTC and Lenovo. HTC was the first to agree to pay Microsoft royalties over Android in April 2010.

Vole has not said how much it receives in royalties for Android handsets and tablets, but Microsoft makes a lot more money off Android than it does off its own rival platform.

Google has slammed Vole for levying a “tax” on Android devices, based on “largely questionable patent claims”.

Still, Microsoft has done a lot better than Apple in getting cash out of Android. This is because Apple has been refusing to issue licences for its patents in the hope it can make Android go away.