I once caught a fish thiiis biiig!

The other day over at Macworld the Macalope alluded to how the fine folks at Microsoft’s legal department might be giddy at the thought of raking in some cash from the new Kindle Fire. They’ve got a lot to be giddy about lately as they landed themselves a big fish this week: Samsung.

Microsoft announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., to cross-license the patent portfolios of both companies, providing broad coverage for each company’s products. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties for Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets running the Android mobile platform.

Florian Mueller points out the relationship problems between OEMs and Android.

By taking a royalty-bearing license, Samsung recognizes that Android has intellectual property problems that must be resolved with license fees, and reduces to absurdity the idea that Google is going to be able to protect Android after the acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

“This relationship comes with more baggage than I bargained for!” Now it seems Samsung is telling Google “I think we should see other people.”

Tizen is apparently the combination of MeeGo and LiMo — neither of which have any serious adoption — that I wrote about earlier. It looks like an Intel- and Samsung-led rival to Android — which is selling well, but has patent issues, and is increasingly under Google’s control.

It’s an uphill battle against Android and iOS at this point but, hey, good luck, Tizen.

Consumers and developers will need reasons to support Tizen, too, which will be a struggle. But it’s probably worth trying, even if just to show Google that it has competition.

The Macalope’s not sure Tizen is necessarily the ticket, but he suspects that the devotion of the Android community to its platform is ankle-deep compared to the iPhone and iPad, so it might be worth a try.

The problem, however, is not so much the platform as it is the ecosystem. This is why the Macalope thinks that Amazon possibly buying webOS from HP could be a great idea. Amazon already has the infrastructure and the media to make a platform successful. Yes, the breadth of apps will be less than what’s available on its App Store for Android, but does Amazon really want to get into a licensing deal with Microsoft? That’s where every other “Android” (quotes because Amazon’s fork of Android can’t technically be called “Android” because Google owns the trademark) OEM has ended up.

What do you want to be when you grow up, Amazon?

  • Maccly:

    The webOS Amazon tie-up is the most sensible idea I’ve heard lately.

    The Fire will not be made successful because of apps but because of the mass of Amazon content available in books, video and music.

    If Amazon owns the OS then it can make some money out of the apps too by promoting an Apple-like split of revenue with the developers.

    It also removes any dependencies between Amazon and Google. Amazon can avoid all the Amazon forks, determine its own development priorities and release schedule, and avoid the ongoing legal issues at the same time.

    Because Amazon has buried Android under the covers and has its own Silk browser, it could switch OS from Android to webOS in the Fire2 without any visible change to the user experience.

  • dannyo152:

    I see the reasons for, but I see one big reason against. They decided that new Kindles by the Monday after Thanksgiving was the destination. They’d already picked Android as their horse and as it was the horse they knew and the only horse available for their late 2011 and 2012 products, they used Android again. Somebody somewhere in Amazon is going to say that changing horses means some costs are going to be paid again.

    He or she will continue, while mobile hardware continues to improve, functionality and user experience improve regardless of the os. We are giving these things away and need to sell 10 million of this year and have a combination of advertising revenues or retail profits of $100 dollars per Kindle over the next 24 months in order for the Return on Investment to look good. Buy WebOS and that after-sell target or sales volume increases.

    Add a phone call from the Amazon Olympus to the Augean Coding Stables, filled with cracker jack java/dalvek/Android 2.x experts. “Hey guys and gals, we hear Web OS is pretty good and HP is cutting loose its coding team. What do you think: is Android the way we should go, or should we switch to WebOS and start hiring the folks we need from the layoff pool?”

    “Android rules.” “WebOS is good, but look at all those Android apps.” “No need to switch.” “Please keep Android otherwise I’ll get fiiii-, I mean, we de-optimize our synergies.” Etc.

    Don’t forget, WebOS is a bargain only until someone wants it. Then the price goes up and goes up again because somebody else will then want it.

    I think the reasons outlined above as to why Amazon would want WebOS are solid. I think the window passed and short of a unreported crisis inside the Kindle development team, the political inertia inside the company (and I have no information about this) would keep them riding the robot. I’d bet a shiny 25 cent quarter that not only will Amazon not pick up WebOS, we won’t even hear them say they are thinking about it.

    • Spade:

      @dannyo152 – You’re completely overlooking the very real legal issues Google’s Android code faces. Amazon would be fools not to consider webOS as an alternative to possibly being forced to pay a per-Kindle payment to Oracle for use of the Android codebase.

  • Grover:

    Danny’s right, I think you’re forgetting the fourth media (like fourth meal!)—games! The Fire is positioned as a media tablet that you can use to read books, listen to music, watch TV and movies, and play games. Games are pretty crucial to it’s success. It’s the whole reason Amazon got into the Android business in the first place. So if Amazon bought WebOS, how would it handle all of those games suddenly being incompatible? And while Amazon might have the clout to convince developers to get on board with WebOS, that’s an awful lot of time and effort just to avoid a modest licensing fee.

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