ZTE has become the latest Android vendor to sign a patent licence agreement with Microsoft covering devices using Google’s mobile platforms.
The deal will see Microsoft gain royalties from sales of ZTE devices using Android or Chrome OS. It also leaves ZTE’s fellow Chinese player Huawei and Google-owned Motorola Mobility as the only major Android device vendors not to have signed such as deal with Microsoft.
It was announced last week that Hon Hai, the parent company of the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, Foxconn, had signed a patent licensing pact with Microsoft while Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer and Barnes & Noble have signed similar agreements previously.
Microsoft is involved in a dispute with Motorola and was previously reported to be in talks with Huawei over patent royalties.
Around 80 per cent of Android smartphones sold in the US are now covered under agreements with Microsoft, according to Microsoft’s corporate VP and deputy general counsel for legal and corporate affairs, Horacio Gutierrez
In a post on Microsoft’s Technet blog, the executive wrote that the ZTE and Foxconn agreements show that technology companies “recognise licensing is an effective way to share technology and build on each other’s work, accelerating the pace of innovation and delighting customers”.
Gutierrez added that Microsoft has paid more than $4 billion to secure IP rights over the past decade and that much of the current patent-related litigation taking place could be avoided if companies “were willing to recognise the value of others’ creations in a way that is fair”.