Digitimes reports that Microsoft is using patents to stop several Taiwanese manufacturers from adopting Android. The argument here rest on whether the patent fee for using MS (presumably valid) patent is reasonable. The yard stick will be the licensing fee for Windows Phone 7. Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with Microsoft charging a patent fee, but given its past record, we have an issue with them using their monopoly power in the form of MSOffice to exclude the competition. Therefore, if the fee MS is charging is too high with compared to Windows Phone 7, then we might be looking at another antitrust case in the making.
Frankly, I cannot see Microsoft dealt with the fee so obviously. However, Digitimes is confident enough to report the licensing fee MS requested. The values are in the lower teens and certainly looks excessive and designed to stop manufacturers from using something from the competition. In this case, that something looks like Andriod.
However, I have to urge caution before we condemn this as an ploy to force manufacturer to use Android. There is a lot of things that are unclear. First, this might be a bargaining chip Microsoft is employing to soften up manufacturers for cross-licensing deals. Second, it might be a variety of options Microsoft proposed to the manufacturers and they or the press choose to ‘home in’ on this more sensational aspect.