Microsoft has taken aim at another company in its bid to generate revenue off Android handsets.
This time around, Microsoft has demanded that Samsung pay it $15 for every Android-based smartphone it sells, South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper is reporting today, citing anonymous industry officials.
Microsoft started targeting Android handset makers last year. At the time, Microsoft claimed that Android's user interface and functionality infringed its patents. In a statement to CNET last year, Microsoft said it planned to ensure that "competitors do not free ride on our innovations."
In addition to those patent-infringement claims, Microsoft announced at the time that it had signed a licensing deal with major Android handset maker HTC. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but HTC confirmed that "Microsoft will receive royalties" from the company on all Android-based phones it sells.
Since then, Microsoft has continued to target Android device makers. Last October, Microsoft sued Motorola for allegedly violating patents in the company's Android-based phones. Motorola quickly responded with a countersuit, claiming Microsoft was infringing 16 of its patents in Windows versions running on PCs and mobile devices. The company has even said Microsoft's Xbox violates its patents. So far, the companies have yet to reach an agreement.
In March, Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble for violating patents in its Android-based Nook Color e-reader and tablet. Microsoft said at the time that Android "infringes a number of Microsoft's patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights."
Barnes & Noble countersued Microsoft in April, saying that the software giant was misusing patent law by forcing companies to either "pay exorbitant licensing fees or face protracted and expensive patent infringement litigation."
However, Microsoft has been successful at getting other companies to submit to its patent licensing. Just yesterday, Microsoft announced a licensing deal with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron. That deal followed similar agreements Microsoft has made with General Dynamics Itronix, Velocity Micro, and Onkyo.
So far, neither Microsoft nor its licensees have said what the software company charges for its patents, but Mary Jo Foley of CNET sister site ZDNet believes that the $15-per-Android-handset fee is little more than "sabre rattling" on Microsoft's part and that the company could be just fine settling closer to the "$7 range."
According to Reuters, Maeil Business Newspaper's sources say that Samsung is willing to pay Microsoft $10 per Android handset it sells if the companies can also forge a stronger relationship on Windows.
Microsoft declined CNET's request for comment. Samsung has not immediately responded to CNET's request for comment.