Google and Microsoft end patent lawsuits over smartphone tech

Microsoft Lumia

After several years of court battles across the United States and Germany, Microsoft and Google have reached settlements in about 20 different litigation cases, effectively ending the legal spat the two had been engaged in since the start of the decade.

“Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers,” says a joint statement issued by the two companies. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Going forward, Microsoft and Google will work together on new technologies, including a new royalty fire audio compression codec. In this endeavour the two companies are being joined by Amazon and Netflix.

The history of their feud is interesting for the variety of twists and turns it has taken over the years.

For Microsoft, this episode started in 2010 when the company alleged that Motorola had been using some of its technologies without paying the proper royalties (Microsoft, it should be noted, makes billions of dollars each year from licensing agreements it has in place with Android OEMs). When Google acquired Motorola, the search giant took stewardship of the case. Later, when Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, it was forced to keep fighting the case because it kept Motorola’s patents — the initial decision to purchase Moto was mostly motivated by the company’s deep bank of intellectual property.