McGreggor said Foxconn may
have agreed to the deal because it eventually hopes to become an OEM,
making its own branded products. HTC took such a path—starting as a
contract manufacturer before eventually making its own successful
"Some of it is related to the fact that they [Foxconn]
are building products for companies that they know are being sued by
Microsoft," McGreggor said. "Their customers are already getting sued.
It's kind of preemptive to keep that waterfall from going down."
Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of
Microsoft's intellectual property group, said the deal with Hon Hai
expands the success of Microsoft's Android licensing program.
licensing both brand name companies and their contract manufacturers,
we have successfully increased the overall effectiveness and global
reach of the program," Gutierrez said.
"We recognize and respect
the importance of international efforts that seek to protect
intellectual property," said Samuel Fu, director of the intellectual
property department at Hon Hai, in a statement. "The licensing agreement
with Microsoft represents those efforts and our continued support of
international trade agreements that facilitate implementation of
effective patent protection."
I don't know. I think that is really unclear. But it seems the idea is that Microsoft has such a broad patent portfolio that people are afraid that they may unknowingly violate it. Jim McGreggor thinks that we simply grant way too many patents these days and that that is part of the problem.
Will the patent agreement with Foxcomm allow them to build systems for anyone if they pay the requisite royalties to Microsoft? If so, it could be a competitive edge for Foxcomm because their customers would have reduced patent infringement liability.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.