Microsoft and Voxx Electronics Corp. finalized a new patent licensing agreement that will allow Voxx to access Microsoft's patent portfolio for devices running the Android OS.
"Our customers depend on Voxx Electronics to deliver cutting-edge mobile and consumer electronics, and the licensing deal with Microsoft enables us to better deliver those technologies in mobile devices and the 'connected cars' of today and tomorrow," said Tom Malone, president of Voxx Electronics, in a prepared statement.
Under the new partnership, Voxx (formerly Audiovox Electronics Corp.) will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount to access patents, which include rear-seat entertainment devices in automobiles, tablets and several other consumer devices that Microsoft holds the rights to. According to zdnet, Microsoft’s patent licensing is one of the company’s most profitable business arms, with yearly revenues nearing the $1 billion mark.
"Microsoft and Voxx Electronics have a history of collaboration, and this agreement further demonstrates the value both companies place on responsible intellectual property licensing," said Nick Psyhogeos, associate general counsel, IP licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "Licensing agreements are an effective way to share technology and accelerate innovation."
Microsoft is no stranger to patent licensing, having previously made deals with other Android-device makers such as Acer, Samsung, LG and Barnes & Noble since launching its IP licensing program in 2003, according to the press release.
This latest licensing deal is particularly interesting given recent news that Google has partnered with the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) to integrate its Android OS into more cars on the road. With both companies putting such an emphasis on Android-integrated cars, we could be on the verge of seeing an explosion in the number of vehicles that come equipped with technology that traditionally has been reserved for smartphones and tablets. And while additional details on Microsoft’s IP licensing are scarce, industry veterans can be sure that Voxx isn’t the only company eyeing the Android OS for new and interesting uses.