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Microsoft Splashes $1 Billion On 800 AOL Patents

There's been another big development in the patent war, with a major slab of potential infringement firepower being snapped up by Microsoft.

The Redmond-based firm is set to purchase over 800 patents from AOL, a move which is going to cost it just over a billion dollars in cash.

AOL will still hold over 300 patents, across various spheres such as advertising and search, and the company will receive a license to the patents which are being flogged off to Microsoft.

AOL needs the cash on the hip due to pressure from investors. The company said it was planning to give a "significant portion of the sale proceeds" to shareholders.

Exactly what Microsoft will do with these 800 new patents, well, that remains to be seen. But currently, merely accumulating patents seems to be becoming a high priority for tech firms, as the big boys fire legal patent infringement suits and counter-suits out left, right and centre, across the globe.

Facebook recently snapped up 750 patents from IBM to help defend itself against a Yahoo infringement lawsuit, and one of the major reasons for Google's acquisition of Motorola was the firm's huge war chest of 17,000 patents.

The Microsoft-AOL deal should be concluded before the end of 2012.

Source: Reuters (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.