Quanta Computer, the Taiwanese contract computer manufacturer, is now the ninth company to license patents from Microsoft for its Android devices, the companies said yesterday.
While Quanta is best known for making computers on behalf of others, it has started to sell its own branded notebooks and smartphones. The licensing agreement also covers Quanta's notebooks running Google's Chrome operating system.
Like past announcements of Android licensing deals, Microsoft revealed few details in its statement. It said that Microsoft will receive royalties from Quanta under the agreement.
The deal indicates that Quanta doesn't have much hope that Google will be able to protect Android device manufacturers, said patent expert Florian Mueller. "Quanta is yet another company that doesn't buy Google's we'll-save-the-world-with-Motorola story. Industry at large doesn't buy it," Mueller wrote on Twitter.
Google recently announced plans to purchase Motorola, a move that many observers believe was aimed at acquiring Motorola's extensive patent portfolio in hopes of protecting Android manufacturers from the many intellectual property lawsuits aimed at them. But Mueller suggests that Quanta wouldn't have agreed to pay Microsoft for its patents if it thought Google might protect it.
Other companies that have also licensed patents from Microsoft for their Android products include Samsung, HTC, Acer, Onkyo, General Dynamics and others. Some of the agreements cover both Android and Chrome products.
Microsoft has declined to say which of its patents are relevant to Android and Chrome. Some analysts have speculated that Microsoft is potentially earning more revenue by licensing to Android phone makers than it is in licensing Windows Phone.