A little over two weeks ago, we ran an article detailing how Samsung had stopped making its scheduled payments to Microsoft for licensing its patents, refusing to make payments since September last year as well as any interest accruing from it's non-payment. Its a move that many were expecting to result in a huge court battle that would see Microsoft's Android related patents that cost Samsung (and other Android manufacturers) between $10-$15 per device , put to the test once and for all. Neither side wants an expensive drawn-out court case however, and so Samsung and Microsoft are believed to negotiating a new deal, according to the Korea Times.
The previous patent licensing deal was agreed upon in 2011, and has seen Microsoft earn an estimated $2 billion annually from the agreements it has with various Android handset manufacturers, and because Samsung sell the most Android phones, they pay the biggest portion of that amount. Its an expenditure that the Korean Tech giant is keen to reduce. And despite purchasing Nokia's handset business, Microsoft didn't acquire its parent companies patents, meaning that they will struggle to produce handsets without Samsung's wireless patents. It's all a little Quid-Pro-Quo, essentially, Microsoft and Samsung need each other, although it could be argued that Microsoft is the needier of the two firms.
The re-negotiation of terms regarding makes sense when you view it from Samsung's point-of-view, responding to the slowdown of their sales by trying to make savings anywhere possible, and also because Samsung may believe that they have Microsoft over the proverbial barrel. Another reason, is that Samsung can offer the carrot of continuing to offer support for Windows Phone by producing handsets, fulfilling an earlier promise to promote Windows and Windows Phones operating systems on its devices.
The 'working-level' talks aren't expected to take long because its merely agreeing new terms regarding the payments and longevity of the patent-licensing agreement, with Samsung aiming to secure a 'comprehensive cross-licensing deal' with Microsoft. By agreeing to new terms, Samsung avoids another messy court case, as well as any punitive damages that may have been awarded.
What does this mean for the average Android fan? Very little, other than Samsung looking to make cost-savings wherever possible thanks to the slow-down in mobile sales. But it is good to see companies settle down and talk amicably rather than running to the lawyers to battle it out in the courts for every little thing.