Microsoft put on its nicest suit when it invited Samsung to the patent-licensing barn dance. Whatever it whispered as the two snuggled close during the slow jams about rescuing the Korean giant from the quagmire of Android litigation, it worked. Sammy has entered into a deal to license Redmond's vast patent archive and, if the rumors are to be believed, it will pay $15 per handset sold for the privilege. (No word on if that includes the $45 million in fees that would just cover sales of the Galaxy S II.) This seems like it could be an implicit vote of no-confidence concerning Google's promises that its acquisition of Motorola would make courtroom drama a thing of the past. There's also a strong reference to the pair collaborating on Mango, and we can only assume that it comes with a significantly less punitive licensing charge in place. Between Android, Windows Phone, Bada and Tizen, it's clear Samsung is hedging its operating system bets. There's a press release after the break, but take our word on it, at no point does it mention Steve Ballmer, lying naked on a bed of money, laughing to himself.

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Microsoft and Samsung Broaden Smartphone Partnership

REDMOND, Wash - Sept. 28, 2011 - Microsoft announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., to cross-license the patent portfolios of both companies, providing broad coverage for each company's products. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties for Samsung's mobile phones and tablets running the Android mobile platform. In addition, the companies agreed to cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone.

"Microsoft and Samsung see the opportunity for dramatic growth in Windows Phone and we're investing to make that a reality," said Andy Lees, president, Windows Phone Division, Microsoft. "Microsoft believes in a model where all our partners can grow and profit based on our platform."

"Through the cross-licensing of our respective patent portfolios, Samsung and Microsoft can continue to bring the latest innovations to the mobile industry," said Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president of global product strategy at Samsung's mobile communication division. "We are pleased to build upon our long history of working together to open a new chapter of collaboration beginning with our Windows Phone "Mango" launch this fall."

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.