It’s common knowledge that Microsoft was late and complacent coming to recognize the importance of the mobile phone sector. The simple version of the story goes that fat cat Microsoft sat, gazing happily out the Windows, failing to act on its advantage–and then got waylaid by Apple and others when Microsoft should have taken the lead. So much for common knowledge.
Details have emerged about the nature of Microsoft’s intellectual property deal with Samsung, the giant Korean device maker. Microsoft sued Samsung in August, asking a federal court to rule that its purchase of Nokia doesn’t invalidate its patent agreement with Samsung. Details unsealed in the case reveal that last year Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion for use of Microsoft patents in Samsung Android phone and device technology. Samsung was late in paying, and Microsoft is seeking $6.9 million in late payment fees. But that’s small change. The most interesting part of the story is how Microsoft, much decried as the loser in the mobile race, has at the very least a billion dollar a year consolation prize.