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Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 11:29 am PT (02:29 pm ET)

Lack of protection from Google birthed Samsung's Microsoft deal

Samsung isn't waiting for Google to close its acquisition of Motorola, and neither have a wide variety of other Android licensees who were supposed to be protected by the deal.

Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola was ostensibly about protecting the Android platform, and by extension its licensees, from patent infringement claims by Apple and Microsoft. Motorola's tens of thousands of patents and patent filings were supposed to allow Android a countersuit defense of its infringement cases.

That isn't happening however, notes FOSS Patents writer Florian Mueller. Samsung's new licensing deal with Microsoft is just the latest in a series of deals that have also involved HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, General Dynamics, Itronix, Velocity Micro, Onkyo, and Wistron.

"If Samsung truly believed that Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility was going to be helpful to the Android ecosystem at large," Mueller wrote, "it would have waited until that deal is closed before concluding the license agreement with Microsoft. But Samsung probably knows it can't rely on Google. It decided to address Android's intellectual property issues on its own."

Seeing what sticks

In addition to announcing a partnership with Microsoft that pays the software vendor royalties on the Android products Samsung sells, the deal also affirms Samsung's support for Microsoft's competing Windows Phone 7 platform.

Samsung is also reported to be stepping up efforts on its own internal Bada smartphone platform, which it launched last year in parallel with very similar phone handsets running WP7 or Android.

Additionally, the company has also announced plans with Intel to support a new Linux-based platform named Tizen, which essentially a replacement of the MeeGo program Intel initiated with Nokia, merging two efforts to produce an open source mobile platform the two firms had earlier maintained in parallel: Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo.

Nokia has since effectively abandoned MeeGo to pursue its WP7 partnership with Microsoft, while Google recently announced its own plans with Intel to bring Android to the chip-maker's Atom mobile processors.