You’ve got two choices when confronted by the mobile protection racket: you can fight or you can pay. Acer and Viewsonic chose the latter this week, signing deals with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) that will give the Android vendors cover from litigation based on Microsoft’s mobile patents.
The two companies add to Microsoft’s burgeoning mobile intellectual property revenue, although terms of the deals were not disclosed. Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez, the leader of its licensing program, made it sound like he was doing the two companies a favor in his statement: “We are pleased that Acer is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues.” (Just switch Viewsonic for Acer to see what he said in the separate press release for that deal.)
Acer and Viewsonic are not the biggest players in the Android world, but they are trying their hands at the tablet game. That means entering into a mess of patent-related issues caused by Google’s neglect of its patent portfolio over the last several years, and Microsoft is only one of the problems: Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has also been vigorously pursuing intellectual property claims against Android vendors.
Just this year, Microsoft has signed licensing deals with four smaller Android-related companies. It’s also involved in litigation with Motorola (NYSE: MMI) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) over Android patent issues.