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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

September 29, 2011 at 7:31 AM

Goldman Sachs estimates Microsoft could earn $444 million next year in Android-related licensing fees

Goldman Sachs estimates that Microsoft, which has been aggressively pursuing licensing deals with manufacturers who use Android as the operating systems on their mobile devices, could get $444 million in revenue next year from such deals.

That’s in a report the investment bank issued Wednesday looking at patents, partnerships and lawsuits related to Google’s Android.

Patent wars have heated up in recent years, with major high-tech companies seeking licensing deals, going to court, or exchanging barbed digs. Oracle claims some of Android’s features infringes on Java patents. Apple is suing some manufacturers for infringement and, at the same time, being sued by some of them.

Microsoft claims certain Android features contain technologies on which Microsoft has patents. Microsoft has signed licensing deals with seven companies, including HTC and Samsung, in which the manufacturing companies agree to pay Microsoft royalties for each mobile device it manufactures featuring Android.

Goldman estimates that such deals, assuming licensing fees of $3 to $6 per device, could add up to $444 million for Microsoft in fiscal year 2012, adding 4 cents to earnings per share.

But “despite the royalties Microsoft is demanding for alleged patent infringement, we see its legal battles as playing a lesser role in its overall mobile strategy as compared to its desire to strengthen the ecosystem for Windows Phone going forward, with Google’s proposed acquisition of (Motorola Mobility) helping to further their cause in our view,” the Goldman report says. “We believe this licensing fee potentially could be negotiated if the handset manufacturer is willing to install and support Windows Phone on more devices.”

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