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Google's Android platform is a potential goldmine for whichever companies can harvest the most mobile mojo out of it, but would you have thought that the not-so-little green machine would be capable of lining Microsoft's pockets with dough? It's true, thanks to the wonder of patents. Squeezing even more money out of the open source platform, Microsoft and Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn's parent company) just inked a patent licensing agreement in which the Redmond outfit will receive royalties for devices running Android and Chrome OS that use technology for which Microsoft owns a patent.
Specific terms of the agreement are being kept confidential, but make no mistake, this is a huge win for Microsoft.
"We are pleased that the list of companies benefiting from Microsoft's Android licensing program now includes the world's largest contract manufacturer, Hon Hai," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "By licensing both brand name companies and their contract manufacturers, we have successfully increased the overall effectiveness and global reach of the program."
Hon Hai, which holds more than 54,000 patents of its own, isn't alone in paying Microsoft royalties on Android devices. Microsoft has its hands in several pockets, including LG and Samsung, both of which have previously inked licensing deals to avoid messy legal battles.