Update: Microsoft deputy general counsel of intellectual property Horacio Gutierrez just sent us a statement saying that the company's been "talking to several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform." We're taking that to mean the same as above: Microsoft isn't too interested in suing any of its Windows Mobile / Windows Phone partners, so it's trying to work out patent license deals with those companies in advance of any nastiness. It's an interesting strategy: patents forbid anyone from making, using, or selling your invention, so Redmond can protect its partners while still leaving open the possibility of a lawsuit with Google itself down the line. In fact, we'd almost say it seems like Microsoft's agreement with HTC is as much of a threat to Google as Apple's lawsuit -- Redmond's basically saying you can't sell an Android device without paying a license fee, and we'd bet those fees are real close to the Windows Phone 7 license fee. Clever, clever -- we'll see how this one plays out. Here's Horacio's full statement:
[Thanks, Jack]Microsoft has a decades-long record of investment in software platforms. As a result, we have built a significant patent portfolio in this field, and we have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations. We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform.