Samsung agrees to pay Microsoft an Android fee

Microsoft has reached an agreement with Samsung that sees the Redmond-based software giant receive royalties for every Android-based device sold, with the company once again arguing that Android - and Linux in general - infringe on its patents.

Announced by Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith moments ago, the deal means that all Samsung Galaxy products - including the best-selling Galaxy S II smartphone and controversial iPad-alike Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet - will now line Microsoft's pockets.

"We're announcing our most important Android patent licence to date," Smith explained, "with Samsung. Under today's agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties for Samsung's mobile phones and tablets running Android.

"Today's agreement demonstrates we now have a clear path forward for resolving the industry's mobile patent issues," Smith added, presumably meaning that everything would be resolved if everyone agreed to pay Microsoft a licensing fee for anything it ever makes.

"While we haven't yet reached the beginning of the end of mobile patent issues, perhaps we have now reached the end of the beginning," Smith concluded, channelling Churchill.

Thus far, Samsung has been silent on the terms of the deal, but it's likely to cost the company big: it recently announced the sale of over 10 million Galaxy S II smartphones into the channel, and Microsoft is likely to want back-pay on those in addition to future sales.

Smith also pointed out that the deal includes "closer collaboration on Windows Phone," which brings forward a remarkable similarity between Samsung's capitulation on the licensing issue and Casio's recent agreement for Linux distribution: both are licensees of Microsoft products, namely Windows Phone and Windows Embedded respectively.

Today's announcement follows similar deals announced earlier this month with Android licensees Acer and ViewSonic agreeing to pay Microsoft royalties on all products sold.

With Microsoft targeting its own customers, the rest of the Android and Linux mobile space - including newly-formed MeeGo spin-off Tizen - is likely to be next.