Microsoft steps into Android patent row with HTC

Licenses tech to HTC, then turns on Google

Microsoft has decided that Android, that pesky OS by Google, is a little bit infringe-y on its own patents.

But at the same time, it has moved to protect its Taiwanese chum HTC by agreeing to license more patents to the firm.

What's interesting is the patents apply to a number of platforms, including Android, meaning should there be any litigation between Microsoft and Google, HTC would be helpfully shielded.

What, where, with who?

We're not sure where the patents lie - we assume it's in the way HTC skins the Android OS otherwise it would be paying Microsoft to use Google's products - although the patent agreement does cover the Nexus One as well.

There's another element to this argument - HTC is being sued by Apple for infringing on its patents in its Android phones, and the Microsoft deal could help it bring some additional firepower to table.

And that would mean that in helping HTC, Microsoft is indirectly helping Google (which many believe to be the real target of the HTC/Apple suit), the very firm it's accusing of infringement.

We're not at the lawsuit stage yet, but we're praying to all and sundry that this never makes it that far - this is already far too confusing.




Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.