Microsoft has already got the licensing agreements with companies accounting for the vast majority of Android devices in the markets these days. However, not many of these deals are done yet. The latest of all deals is the one between Microsoft and Sharp and with this deal, Sharp is now allowed to use Microsoft’s Extended File Allocation Table file system (exFAT) in its Android based devices. This is a slightly more specific agreement of Microsoft as compared to other ones where no contents of the deal have been shared so far.
People think that Sharp is not a big smart phone player in the North America. However, Sharp is a major smart phone player in Japan where it held 17.5 percent of the market share in 2011, which was second only to Apple.
Just like all the other deals, we have seen so far, there has been no word about specific terms about this deal either. So, Microsoft will receive royalties on all Sharp Android devices that are sold with this feature, but we cannot say how much these royalties are going to be.
This news was shared by Microsoft in an official press release on August 7.
“Consumers today move from mobile phones, to PCs, to home entertainment systems throughout their day – and they expect their media to move as seamlessly across those devices as they do,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “This agreement allows Sharp to continue to stay ahead of the curve and give people around the world entertainment and productivity experiences that truly fit their lifestyles.”
This deal is also seen as Microsoft’s flexibility in letting other companies access many of the foundational technologies of its own products. This allows other companies to build devices, services, and applications that work seamlessly with one another. We have seen Microsoft’s technologies being used by other companies in the past and to a point, it is agreeable that some of such companies have actually improved the way Microsoft’s technologies can be used by users.
In December 2003, Microsoft launched its IP licensing program and since then, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements with other companies. Microsoft is allowing other companies, partners, and competitors to access its IP portfolio in order to continue developing programs. This program was actually developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments it is growing, broad patent, and IP portfolio.
The latest deal with Microsoft and Sharp is nothing new if we consider Microsoft’s previous deals. However, the question here is whether Sharp can capitalize on this deal or not. As the Gutierrez mentioned, people these days want to access their media everywhere they go and this technology might give Sharp a certain edge in the Japanese market and allow it to better compete with its rival Apple in that market, which has similar functions in its devices as well. What actually happens after Sharp introduces this feature in their Android devices, we will just have to wait and see that.