DigiTimes rumour involves Taiwanese manufacturers

Microsoft to ‘charge royalty fees’ to stymie Android netbooks and tablets

Taiwanese industry watcher site the Digitimes reported that Microsoft is planning on using patents to impose royalty fees in an effort to make Android less attractive for netbook computers.

Citing ‘Taiwan-based makers’, the Digitimes specifically mentions Acer and Asus as the targets of the rumoured plan to allegedly strong arm the companies into paying royalties on patents involved in email and multimedia. The action is aimed at dissuading the companies from releasing netbook and tablet PCs based on the Android and Chrome operating systems, claims the Digitimes.

"There are only several Taiwan-based handset vendors and only HTC has signed for licensed use of Microsoft patents, leaving Acer and Asustek being the targets for the royalty charge," the site said according to Taiwanese industry sources. 

The sources went on to point out that Acer and Asustek’s volumes are small compared to smartphone giant HTC, speculating that the fee was not about revenue but more an attempt to prevent the introducing of products based on operating systems other than Windows. 

Royalties amounting to $10 to $15 US were payable for manufacturers of Android handsets but the manufacturers had not been in "strict compliance" with the fees, meaning that adoption of Android was considerably less expensive than building smartphones based on Windows Mobile according to the insiders.

If the rumours are true then it seems Microsoft is looking to tighten up the requirement to pay royalty fees to ensure that Google’s rising star operating systems don’t end up cannibalising revenue from the firm’s lucrative Windows business.

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