A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Microsoft Code in Android?

    I've been doing some research on open source software, and I've been reading these reports of how Microsoft has been making millions on Android OS sales from phone royalties.

    http://bgr.com/2013/05/01/microsofts...ents-earnings/

    I can understand (if not agree) with Oracle's "they used Java" argument, but I have trouble understanding what role Microsoft had in Android's development? What Microsoft code could have possibly been useful to Android?
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    I don't have a link, but I've definitely heard of MS contributing to Linux which is what Android is based on.
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    Flickerdart's Avatar

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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    It might not have anything to do with code - Microsoft dumps billions of dollars a year into hardware R&D, and controls 40,786 technology patents.
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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    It might not have anything to do with code - Microsoft dumps billions of dollars a year into hardware R&D, and controls 40,786 technology patents.
    Yea, it's the patents. Microsoft buys lots of patents and makes lots of their own. So if you want a program to do X, and Microsoft has a patent on X, you own them money. Even if Microsoft didn't assist you in any way, they own the idea.
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    Erloas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbum42 View Post
    Yea, it's the patents. Microsoft buys lots of patents and makes lots of their own. So if you want a program to do X, and Microsoft has a patent on X, you own them money. Even if Microsoft didn't assist you in any way, they own the idea.
    To be fair, everyone does this. Every large company that develops anything has piles of patents and uses them to get money from other companies. So while MS is getting money from Google for Android, Google is also getting money from MS for all sorts of things too. Motorola has a lot of phone patents and probably gets something for just about any phone ever sold (although... I think the phone division of Motorola was sold off with the patents recently, forget who bought it, maybe Google).
    And of course some say "I'll let you use my patents for free if you let me use your patents for free" and they do that. I think there is a coalition of companies that have worked out a deal with each other that they can all use all of the other companies' patents (that are related to a given field) so long as they keep their patents free to use to the others.

    It is sometimes refereed to as the patent cold war, everyone has enough of them that everyone else uses that they all get along. Because if everyone started pulling their patents from competitors then no one could do anything at all.

    A lot of it just goes to prove how screwed up our patent system is, especially when it comes to software.

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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
    To be fair, everyone does this. Every large company that develops anything has piles of patents and uses them to get money from other companies. So while MS is getting money from Google for Android, Google is also getting money from MS for all sorts of things too. Motorola has a lot of phone patents and probably gets something for just about any phone ever sold (although... I think the phone division of Motorola was sold off with the patents recently, forget who bought it, maybe Google).
    And of course some say "I'll let you use my patents for free if you let me use your patents for free" and they do that. I think there is a coalition of companies that have worked out a deal with each other that they can all use all of the other companies' patents (that are related to a given field) so long as they keep their patents free to use to the others.

    It is sometimes refereed to as the patent cold war, everyone has enough of them that everyone else uses that they all get along. Because if everyone started pulling their patents from competitors then no one could do anything at all.

    A lot of it just goes to prove how screwed up our patent system is, especially when it comes to software.
    Oh yes, I agree. I just didn't want to broach such a complex topic. Chances are that when you make some software you are violating lots of patents. There's substantial overlap and lots of very vague write-ups at the USPO. Groklaw just did a estimation of how much it cost to have lawyers look at them all. It came out to $91,000 for really small projects and $3.64 million for really large ones. You can see the article here: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?s...30715054823358

    Regardless of whether those numbers are right or not, looking through 250,000 patents to see if I'm guilty for patent infringement for a program that took 1-2 weeks to code should not be necessary. It hurts the little guy that can't take Microsoft/Google/Oracle/Apple to court to appeal.

    I admit that as a programmer I'm a bit bias. In my mind, if I coded 100% of it, it's 100% mine and I don't owe someone else money for my hard work.
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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    There are actually 2 things a patent can do. It can either force other people to pay you money to use an invention (and whether or not math can be patented is a subject for another time), or it can prevent other people from utilizing an invention for a specific time. This allows inventors to get economic profits in addition to regular profits and offset their R&D costs. Alternatively, it allows inventors to get market saturation and have an indefinite monopoly(since it is very, very hard to beat a large, established company on production costs).

    And if Microsoft is making money off Android phones, it is either because of a hardware patent or a software patent.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Microsoft Code in Android?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aster Azul View Post
    I've been doing some research on open source software, and I've been reading these reports of how Microsoft has been making millions on Android OS sales from phone royalties.
    Microsoft have contributed code to Linux, which is what Android is based on. However, these royalty payments are to do with patents.

    As I understand it, the real point of the patent licenses Microsoft sells for Android is that they provide some sort of protection from other people making patent claims (presumably, Microsoft promises to indemnify their licensees for any IP messes they get into or something like that).

    Also, for reference, Microsoft make this money from companies like HTC and Samsung who manufacture and sell Android phones, not from Google itself.

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