Microsoft announces patent-licensing deal with Chinese device maker ZTE

In a move which underscores software giant Microsoft's ongoing attempts to strike strategic deals with all leading Android and Chrome device manufacturers, the company revealed in a Tuesday announcement that it had worked out a patent-licensing agreement with China-based device maker ZTE.

Under the terms of the deal, ZTE - China's second-ranking manufacturer of mobile-phone equipment - will be granted a license to Microsoft's global patent portfolio for the technology used in ZTE devices like handsets, tablets, and computers, as well as other devices which run Google's Android and Chrome operating systems.

While there has thus far been no official disclosure about the amount ZTE will pay to Microsoft, or about whether ZTE would pay royalties, under the patent-licensing deal, the Microsoft-ZTE patent agreement is quite similar to the deal which Microsoft had announced with Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai, last week. Microsoft also has patent-licensing deals in place with LG Electronics and Samsung.

Nevertheless, according to a blog post by Microsoft's deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez, the patent deals which Microsoft has signed with ZTE and other licensees imply that Microsoft gets royalties from nearly 80 percent of the Android-based smartphones sold in the US and over 50 percent of those sold across the world; with the two biggest largest holdouts being Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary and Huawei Technologies.