Microsoft announced it has signed up Foxconn as its biggest patent licensee to date. Under the deal, the Asian electronics manufacturing giant will pay Microsoft a royalty fee for every Android and Chrome OS device that it manufactures.
Starting now, Microsoft will be getting paid a toll on a large number of those devices. The company's long patent-licensing campaign has landed its biggest client yet in licensing Foxconn, formally named Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Foxconn has agreed to take a license for any product it produces that runs Google's Android or Chrome operating systems.
The Redmond software giant has insisted for years now that any company making Android phones needs to license its patents. That campaign has generally been successful; so successful, in fact, that by 2011 Microsoft was making more money from patent licensing than from its own mobile phone system.
Now, Microsoft says that more than 50 percent of the Android phones in the world come from companies that have agreed to take licenses to its patents, including smartphone makers like LG, HTC, and Samsung. And that number is likely going to jump up today, as it announces that Foxconn, the Chinese company that makes 40 percent of the world's consumer electronic devices, has agreed to join its licensing program.