Microsoft and Nikon sign Android patent agreement

Nikon and Microsoft signed a patent agreement allowing Nikon to use Microsoft's patents involving cameras running on the Android operating system. Last year Nikon released their first Android based camera - the Coolpix S800c and it seems that they are planning to concentrate on that platform in the future.

Press release:

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. and Nikon Corporation have signed a patent licensing agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for certain Nikon cameras running the Android platform. While the contents of the agreement will not be disclosed, Microsoft will receive royalties from Nikon.

"Microsoft and Nikon have a long history of collaboration, and this agreement further demonstrates the value that both companies place on responsible IP licensing," said David Kaefer , general manager of Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing at Microsoft. "Microsoft is proud to align with a leader in the digital camera industry to license Android technology for the benefit of Nikon's customers."

Microsoft's Commitment to Licensing Intellectual Property

The patent agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft's significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. Microsoft's specific patent licensing program for Android device makers has resulted in signed license agreements with numerous companies including Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer and Barnes & Noble.

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  • Ben

    I guess I’m slow, but what does Microsoft have to do with Android?

    • Raj

      There are some Microsoft patents that Android violate, so most Android device makers (Phones or otherwise), including Samsung, pay a royalty to MS and license the technology through agreements.

      • Where’s my…

        …and even if Android didn’t violate any, real businesses have better use for their resources than spending billions of dollars and all legal resources in pointless litigation with MSFT. So everybody must pay. Except, Motorola. Go figure 🙂

        • Where’s my…

          Sorry all MSFT for my lapsus implication that MSFT is not a real business, I was probably associating somehow with a patent troll. Of course MSFT has real innovation and viable products that help people use computers too, besides the patent litigation business.

      • APai

        patent racket. they’ve never mentioned what IP is being violated. if they did, they’d lose the royalties, because the software in question could be re-written to avoid infringement. that’s why microsoft needs to curl up and die.

    • Merv S

      Raj is correct, Google basically didn’t do its legal homework and Microsoft kind of made Google look not-so-smart by making money off of Android…though Microsoft was more interested in making a point. I suspect most companies that voluntarily do Android agreements with Microsoft aren’t paying much.

      • PB PM

        Considering that millions of Android devices are sold each year, even if it is 5 cents a unit, that can really add up.

      • ArthurWellesley

        As far as I know, it goes something like this,
        Microsoft is a well-rounded company that has a lot of back end products most people don’t see, it also has lots of patents. I believe most cell phone companies selling Android OS pay about $5 per phone sold. Not bad when you consider that Google went from nothing to global dominance in just a few short years. In order to get there Google took a few shortcuts to get there, including violating some patents and copying some source code line by line from Sun’s Java. If you think Oracle who owns Sun is suing Google for the stolen code you’d be right. Google was supposed to use a reverse engineering Clean-Room engineers but someone got lazy and just copy the code line by line.

        Microsoft also has a lot of cross license patents with apple. Apple uses its patents to ban other company’s products OR get obscenely high licensing fees effectively shutting down other companies products. So when Apple’s litigation department starts sending out letters to companies like HTC, they come running to Microsoft to save them. It’s a win-win, Apple usually get some sort of cross-licensing agreement or cash, the hardware company gets reduce fees and to keep making its products/devices and Microsoft gets it 5 bucks.

        • Nelrim

          So, because Google copied a few insignificant lines of codes from Sun/Oracle Microsoft will sue you? What kind of reasoning is that?

        • Anon

          So Micro$oft is not that evil, huh?

          • ArthurWellesley

            Were they ever?

          • gsum

            They would be better regarded if they paid their fare share of tax in this country (UK) and no doubt other countries.

          • Steve

            absolutely not. Nikon would not have struck an unfair deal for the IP. Google, on the other hand who steals other peoples inventions….. you decide. BTW if you use Gmail, then they are stealing info on you too and selling it to companies who want to target you.

            • Steve

              I correct myself, they are not stealing from you. By using Googles services, you willingly forfeit the right….

        • You seem to be totally unaware that while Oracle did indeed sue Google, they lost! Oracle is of course appealing, but the chances they will ever come out a winner on that one are none.

          The fact is that what Microsoft is actually doing is selling insurance “protection”, so that they won’t bring a billions of dollars lawsuit against relatively small companies that cannot afford to fight. That of course is the same kind of protection that the mafia was so well known for…

    • Steve

      Microsoft is the patent holder to the technology that Google has included in it’s Android operating system without a licence. Basically without the technology invented and maintained by Microsoft and others, Google would not have an OS worth the time of day

      • S Goku

        What MS’s technology that Google included in Android?

    • Antonio

      One more irony within the patent war, nevertheless its funny to see Microsoft selling Android patents after all the years of their Windows policy and all the money they made after buying DOS rights for $25000 back in 1981 and letting people to copy it for free during some time.
      And I can’t imagine how much money they would have done if they didn’t loose their case to register the patent for the use of the word “windows” or for the “shopping lists”, as they tried…

  • chubbs

    There isn’t enough anger in these comments. Let me help.


    • Guest

      Blah blah D800/D7000 AF, blah blah D800 green screen *wah* *table smash* – I think we’ve covered them all.

      • Brian

        You forgot “grrrr gnash blah blah sensor spots ,,,, I’m off to Canony…. wahhhh!”

    • studor13

      Maybe you should go work for Nikon, starting say from the office boy into the Board Room and then call shots like “It’s time for a D400”.

      Nikon is making cameras that sell. I’d bet London to a brick that the D7100 is going to sell way way more than your D400, whatever that is.

      Go over to Canon and then tell us what you can do there that you can’t do with Nikon.

  • Danonino

    Okay.. but where is the fixed lens aps-c compact??

    • chubbs

      Why does everyone keep asking this? This website reports rumors. When it has a rumor, it reports it. The admin doesn’t make the damn cameras and he can’t wave a magic wand and produce information. Watch the damn frontpage.

    • AAA

      Almost forgot about that!

    • I said it probably 20 times already – it’s coming… soon. Stay tuned for more.

  • I’d love to see Android running along with built in wifi (and even 4G) on all future bodies. Having the ability to publish jpegs to Facebook, G+, 500px etc in camera would be a huge boon for regular consumers. Plus having the ability to stream images to an ftp or dav server over 4G without the need for wireless adapters and a laptop with it’s own 4G connection by would be a big benefit for journos and sports shooters.

    • j v

      Or just a usb2go compatible connection: imagine connecting an external harddrive or flash drive to push your files to it (as backup). Or a bluetooth gps (or use a phone as bluetooth gps dongle). Or a phone as remote control/display. Or as 4G connection…

  • Fry

    so Nikon succumbed to a patent troll..

    • Steve

      Fry, you obviously have no idea. or are trolling in your own right. All the tech that is in these patents Microsoft has active solutions in market today Windows Phone, Windows Embedded, Windows RT etc.. A patent troll is a entity that does not market solutions based on patents rather, makes money from enforcing patents on others.

      • Fry

        Microsoft is patent trolling vendors who use Android in their products.

      • Has Microsoft ever listed even a single patent that Android supposedly violates? Note that Microsoft for years has claimed the LInux kernel violates their patents, and has never once been able to demonstrate a single instance.

        The fact is that Google is big enough to fight back, but companies like Nikon would go bankrupt if they tried. It does give Nikon access to some of the technology in Windows Phone, but frankly… who would want it???

  • destroy2153

    I guess I’m slow, but what is this Microsoft company ? Do they make anything related to cameras or smartphones ?

    • ArthurWellesley

      Yes with WP8, MS has strong partnerships with Nokia also HTC, Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo. Nokia 920 is the best camera in a phone bar none. It is also the first with optical stabilization.

      • Fry

        I’m sure you meant the Nokia 808 that had nothing to do with Microsoft.
        The 920 is just a regular smartphone.

    • Rudi

      They are copying everything from OSX! Instead of doing something innovative on their own they are only looking what Apples is developing. Not enought with it they also copy the TV advertisement style. Poor Micros$ft!

  • lapolo

    where is my new nikon COOLPIX WITH FF???????????

  • Rudi

    I don’t want any Micros$ft shit with my Nikons….

    • Ken Elliott

      Too late. Your CF and SD cards are formatted with Microsoft’s FAT file system. As are pretty much all cameras.

      • APai

        at the rate androids are selling, manufacturers will switch to other formats supported by android. I hope that happens. the more the revenue streams that are cut off to that behemoth, the better. microsoft has been all about monopolizing segments (that too unfairly) and taking their cut. something like mafia.

        • Ken Elliott

          Android, as well as Linux and Mac OS X all support FAT. I doubt phone sales will affect SD cards, since a) they don’t fit phones (they use micro SD), and b) the standard has been out for a very long time and is used in my HDTV, Blu-Ray player, cameras, voice recorder, etc. SD won’t change.

          But a newer format card would be an opportunity to change to a more robust format. When card capacity exceeds what FAT 32 can deal with (1 to 2 TB, IIRC) then it’s game over for FAT. I’m sure it will happen before then, as large storage devices really show the downsided to FAT.

  • ocir

    Hey maybe the D400 will be a Android smartphone with interchangeable lenses??? Top that Canon! 😀

    • bjrichus

      Top that? Easy… Use Windows 8. Welcome to your “Surface Tablet D400.” Geeez. What a terrible concept!!!

  • Ken Elliott

    I wonder if we are about to see a new DX body to replace the D300s. Mirrorless in the style of the V2, guts from the D7100, and – maybe – Android as an interface to the camera. Perhaps the reason the D400 is taking so long is because Nikon is going in a new direction and development is taking time. A true pro-body F-mount DX mirrorless might be a game changer.

  • ActionJunky

    I use an iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro. Just update the firmware in my D800 so that I can quickly switch between photo modes (i.e. landscape vs. indoor) and allow me to connect my iPad or iPhone as a remote triggering and viewing device. I will not buy into a fragmented system such as Android.

  • APai

    doesn’t nikon have enough patents ? someday, when microsoft releases their set of phones, there might be payback for nikon

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