We often joke about how, if the tech giants put their patent battles behind them and put all that energy into research and development instead, we'd probably be sitting with phones in our pockets that could run for weeks on a single charge and double up as a holodeck. But, as a revealing Microsoft legal filing proves, patent control can mean big, big bucks for the industry heavyweights.
Microsoft has numerous patents that are key to core Android OS features. Every time an Android manufacturer puts out a device, Microsoft is paid a royalty for use of these patented technologies. As such, a recent legal filing revealed that Samsung alone paid Microsoft $1 billion in a year for use of patents across its Android portfolio. That's before you consider what the likes of HTC, LG or Motorola may also owe.
In all, some 200 Microsoft patents are used in Android. When you consider that Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division (which has the Xbox under its umbrella) made only $848 million in operating income last year, and Bing and MSN lost $1.3 billion, it's easy to see why companies fight so ferociously over patent disputes. [WSJ, Quartz]
Image Credit: edublogs.org