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LG Paying Microsoft Patent License Fees for Chrome, Android Devices

Fri, 01/13/2012 - 6:59am
Maisie Ramsay

The systemic weaknesses in Google's patents on its Android operating system has forced another handset manufacturer into a licensing agreement with Microsoft, which already collects royalties from 10 other Android makers including HTC and Samsung.

LG Electronics said Thursday it would pay Microsoft patent licensing fees for devices running Android or Chrome OS platforms.

"More than seventy percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio," Microsoft intellectual property executive Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement.

Microsoft was reported last summer to have demanded $15 in royalties from Samsung on each of its Android devices. HTC is estimated to pay Microsoft $5 on every Android smartphone it sells.

The costly licensing fees could further weigh down LG's unprofitable handset unit, which recently got an influx of cash to buoy its finances. The company told Reuters this week it was "looking into almost every alliance that the mobile industry can think of" to help turn around the business.

Google announced in August it was buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in a move to bolster its intellectual property holdings on Android. Motorola holds 12,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications worldwide.

The acquisition has not yet closed and is waiting for regulatory approval.

Google has accused Microsoft and Apple of using patent fees to stifle Android's growth, which has outpaced that of Apple's iOS devices.

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