Microsoft signs patent licensing deal with Foxconn covering Android, Chrome devices

The deal covers Foxconn manufactured smartphones, tablets and televisions installed with the operating systems.

Microsoft has signed up another major electronics manufacturer to its Android and Chrome patent licensing program, this time Taiwan's Foxconn, which will pay royalties to the US software giant.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it covers Foxconn manufactured devices running the Android and Chrome operating systems, including smartphones, tablets and televisions, Microsoft said on Tuesday.

Foxconn is just the latest contract manufacturer to sign up for Microsoft's Android and Chrome patent licensing program, despite the fact that Google developed the two operating systems.

Both Android and Chrome use its technologies, according to Microsoft, and in the past the U.S. software giant has sued Android vendors over alleged patent infringement. In 2011, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Barnes & Nobles, along with one of Foxconn's manufacturing companies, for running patent infringing software on its Android-based Nook e-reader.

Microsoft's licensing agreements give a way for Android vendors to avoid facing further legal action. Other companies that have struck similar deals include Taiwanese electronics manufacturers Compal and Wistron, and handset and tablet makers Samsung, HTC, and Acer.

Foxconn is best known as a manufacturer of Apple's iPhones and iPad products. But the company also assembles tablets for Amazon, and handsets for Nokia, Motorola and Huawei, according to analysts.

Since 2003, Microsoft has signed more than 1,100 patent licensing agreements for access to the company's technologies.

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Michael Kan

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