Following Microsoft's and HTC's earlier patent license agreement, DigiTimes reports today that Microsoft plans to impose royalty fees to Acer and Asus for using Microsoft patents in E-Mail, multimedia and other functions in their Android based smartphones. According to the Acer and Asus, this is an attempt to prevent the two vendors from adopting Google's Android and Chrome OS for their Netbooks and Tablet PCs. However, Taiwanese sources noted that since Acer's and Asus's handset shipments are in small volumes, Microsoft's royalty charge is not for the company's revenues but it's because Acer's and Asus position in the Netbook and upcoming Tablet PC market.
Acer and Asus, which have yet not announced any launch-plans for Windows Phone 7 devices, are successful and well known vendors of Netbooks and the actual motivation of Microsoft's royalty charge is said to keep Acer and Asus away from using Google Android or Chrome OS instead of Windows Mobile, the sources pointed out. However, it should be noted that the source might be wrong here. With the launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS platform is, more or less, officially dead. And Windows Phone 7 is now the OS of choice, Windows Mobile was nevertheless never said or designed to be a Netbook or Tablet PC OS at all. Anyway, at the recent Windows Phone 7 press event in Hamburg, Achim Berg, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Group, made clear that Windows Phone 7 will yet not be available for Tablet PCs, such as the Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, but Windows 7 is the only Microsoft OS for everything not a smartphone.
In any case, if Microsoft is indeed planning to impose royalty fees for the use of Microsoft patents, it might slow down Acer's and Asus development of Android and Chrome OS-based Netbooks and Tablet PCs and it will definitely make this kind of devices less attractive and more expensive.
Cheers ~ Arne