You can say it is a punch below the belt. What you cannot say is that you don’t expect it.
Google probably did not want to sign anything with Microsoft over Android. Microsoft did not want to sue Google because it knows that Google will put up a fight. Therefore it went for its soft belly: The manufacturer of Google’s phone – HTC.
You know the deal is only between HTC and Microsoft and Google is not indirectly involved, otherwise it would had made sure Microsoft’s press release would not had mentioned Android. I am sure the contract is above board and is probably along the line of MS-Novell’s agreement if need be.
One thing stands out in the press release: It says Android Mobile Platform, not Android Operating System. That distinction is probably lost on mos people, but not us techies. The Android Mobile Platform covers more than the operating system. It includes the keyboard, joystick and other part of the mobile phone. Google only supply the Operating System, so it is conceivable that the patents Microsoft is claiming infringement on is not about the Operating System. Knowing Microsoft, this is probably how the patent agreement is phrased to avoid getting Google involved.