Microsoft has scored a major win against Google's Android platform, convincing ODM giant Quanta to shell out on a licence to distribute both Android and Chrome.
This isn't the first time Microsoft has succeeded in claiming that it holds patents that are key to the Linux platform: back in September it convinced Casio to pay cash for its distribution of Linux on embedded systems, and Samsung has also agreed to share royalties on its Galaxy range of Android smartphones.
The deal with Quanta is big news: as one of the world's largest ODMs - Original Design Manufacturers - Quanta makes a not-inconsiderable percentage of the world's gadgets. With the company now paying Microsoft for every Android or Chrome OS device it creates, that's a significant revenue stream for Microsoft to tap.
While Quanta has been silent on the matter, Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez is happy as Larry. "We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Quanta, and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing programme in resolving issues surround Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace," Gutierrez claimed in a statement.
Microsoft's recent deals with Casio, Samsung, and now Quanta all have one thing in common besides the request for cash based on an as yet unproven assumption that Linux breaches Microsoft's intellectual property: every company involved is also a Microsoft customer.
Casio uses Microsoft's embedded Windows products for its point of sale systems; Samsung creates Windows-powered laptops and Windows Phone smartphones; while Quanta relies on Windows licensing for the laptops it creates.
Companies that do not already have a pre-existing financial arrangement with Microsoft are not, it would appear, being targeted at present - suggesting the company is using the threat of revoked licences or increased licensing fees for its Windows products to sell purported 'Linux licences.'
At some point, however, Microsoft will run out of its own customers - at which point, we predict, the threats of legal action will spread to the wider Linux ecosystem.