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Microsoft adds Kindle Fire maker to its Android licensing pact, Google CEO responds

by Kristen Nicole

One can quickly tire of the Android vs. The World saga, as Apple, Microsoft and Oracle all do their part to limit Google’s success in the mobile realm. It seems a never ending battle for Google to defend the Android platform, buffering with expensive acquisitions like Motorola Mobility to pad its patent portfolio. Microsoft has been relentless in its strategy to pick off Android manufacturers, and the latest to fall prey is Quanta Computer, agreeing to pay up a licensing fee to run Google Android and Chrome on its devices.

Quanta Computer may not be a household name, but one of its devices, the Amazon Kindle Fire, certainly is. RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook is also amongst Quanta Computer’s clients, making the contract manufacturer a prime target for Microsoft. The strategy behind Microsoft’s licensing deals relies on manufacturers’ fear of a lawsuit, and Motorola Mobility’s bitter court dealings as one of the remaining holdouts is an example of how ugly things have gotten in the space.

What can Google do to help Android manufacturers?

Microsoft is profiting from its rather indirect attacks on Android, leaving Google in an interesting position. During Google’s quarterly earnings call this week CEO Larry Page discussed the matter directly, saying, “Rather than see Microsoft compete in the marketplace with their own smartphones, they have really continued to resort to legal measures to hassle their own customers, right? So, it seems kind of odd. We haven't seen the details of those total agreements. I suspect that our partners are making good deals for themselves there.”

Page goes on to express his excitement over upcoming announcements, especially from Samsung next week, noting Android’s ongoing success that can’t be stopped by a few legalities. Sony Ericsson has also done quite well with its Android initiatives, revealing sales numbers for its game-centric Xperia smartphones. Reaching 22 million devices sold, Sony Ericsson is planning to only manufacture smartphones in 2012. Sony’s betting big on the mobile scene, as it looks to acquire partner Ericsson as their 10-year partnership nears the end of its contract.