On Thursday Microsoft said that it signed a patent agreement with South Korea-based LG Electronics that will allow the latter company to use Android and Chrome OS on tablets, mobile phones and other consumer devices in exchange for paying Microsoft's licensing fees. As of this writing, the financial details of the agreement were not revealed.
LG is one of many companies that have seemingly been pushed (bullied) into signing a licensing agreement with Microsoft to use Android and Chrome OS, an agreement based on claims that certain aspects of Google's open-source operating systems violate the Redmond company's patents. And now, thanks to LG's signature on the dotted line, more than 70-percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s super-sized patent portfolio.
"We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS."
In addition to Android and Chrome OS, Microsoft has also previously sought out licensing agreements with vendors that use Linux on their products (which is technically the foundation of Android and Chrome OS anyway).
Microsoft launched its IP licensing program back in December 2003, and has since entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements. The company said that it continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program itself was developed to open access to Microsoft’s "significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio."
Thursday's announcement in regards to LG signals that the company may be working on Chrome OS notebook or tablet. As of this writing, LG hasn't revealed anything, and a Chrome OS device was not on display at the CES 2012 tradeshow this week. That said, we'll have to keep a close eye on this little sliver of information and see if it comes to anything.