Microsoft gets royalties from majority of Android licensees, but is mobile too volatile for developers now?

It's surprising that Microsoft is still bad-mouthing Android. After what seems like an eternity of litigation between Oracle, Google, Microsoft, Apple and countless Android handset manufacturers, Microsoft think they have the upper hand, at least against Android.

In a statement, Microsoft announced that they now collect patent royalties from 55% of Android handset manufacturers. This is all based on a patent claim Microsoft has against the mobile OS, and instead of taking Google to court over it, have instead taken up the somewhat easier but higher-volume route of suing the individual manufacturers, who have received little or no guarantees of protection from Google.

The endless squabbling between manufacturers will no doubt have an impact on developers trying to make money or enhance their product with offerings on one or more of the platforms. With Apple attempting to take down Samsung's Galaxy range of phones and tablets around the world (Samsung even went as far as to design the new Galaxy Nexus to be Apple-proof, in terms of patents), volatility can only serve to weaken the platforms on which developers are attempting to build. Of course, it could be argued that iOS developers are used to this - Apple at least used to pull or reject apps from its store almost at random. Where developers once used to leap on to phone platforms as an innovation opportunity, perhaps they will now be more careful before they jump on board: it is no longer a safe place to bet your company or money.

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